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Break up the Wizards (no, really, destroy them)

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We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards aren’t the only team with a shockingly bad record early this season — the Houston Rockets lost again, falling to 1-5, for example. But the Rockets have an excuse: suspensions and injury have ravaged their rotation. The Wizards, now a league-worst 1-6 after losing to the Grizzlies on Tuesday, don’t really have an excuse.

These Wizards know each other, they’ve played together for years, they have a holdover coach who has a long leash. And they still can’t figure it out, or get on the same page. Even Garrett Temple — a former Wizard now with the Grizz — spent the postgame apparently encouraging Bradley Beal (who shot 5-of-16 on Tuesday) and John Wall (nine turnovers) to figure it out.

That ship is sailing out of port.

Wizards franchise owner Ted Leonsis is famously, commendably patient. And Washington is heading home for a few games, which might help. If it doesn’t, if this continues, the Wizards will need to make some sort of change — whether it’s trading Beal (good luck trading Wall, who hasn’t even begun his supermax deal yet) or making a coaching change.

Being awful in a shallow conference isn’t acceptable for a team with this much talent. At least, it shouldn’t be acceptable. Something’s rotten, and it’s the braintrust’s job to figure out what.

Scores

Heat 113, Hornets 125
Hawks 114, Cavaliers 136
Kings 107, Magic 99
Pistons 105, Celtics 108
Sixers 112, Raptors 129
Blazers 104, Rockets 85
Wizards 95, Grizzlies 107
Clippers 110, Thunder 128

Schedule

On National TV:
Pacers at Knicks, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Spurs at Suns, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

Best League Pass Options:
Jazz at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. ET
Pelicans at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET

Full schedule here.

Links

The second episode of Spencer Hall’s storytelling podcast It Seemed Smart is out. It’s about Cannonball Run. I can’t wait to listen to this.

Speaking of the Wizards, here’s The Ringer’s John Gonzalez on how best to enjoy watching the team implode. Kristian Winfield traces a history of internal squabbles and drama.

Brilliant breakdown of why Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn’t quite unlocked everything this season.

Zito Madu on the unknowability of Kawhi Leonard.

Harry Lyles on Klay Thompson’s most electrifying accomplishments. Matt Ellentuck ranks the 14 threes.

The trouble with trying to play defense amid an offensive boom.

Reporters asked LeBron James what he’s like when the patience runs out. He said something that got taken way out of context.

What’s wrong with the Rockets’ offense?

Uh, Larry Drew is still pushing for a pay raise before he agrees to be the Cavaliers’ head coach all season. That’s a plot twist. And J.R. Smith is mad about getting shuffled to the end of the bench. (That’s not a plot twist.)

Great Michael Pina deep dive on Kevin Durant’s devastating crossover. Meanwhile, Durant compared to Warriors to Migos, which is actually spot on.

Kyrie Irving got a haircut.

Zach Lowe unveils Philadelphia’s Rocky-inspired city jerseys.

The Suns have declined the fourth year option for Dragan Bender. Yikes.

Dan Devine appears to believe in the Kings. Couldn’t be me.

An analysis of what the WNBA might look like in 10 years. Plus, this is an ad for some investing platform, but the message it uses is a powerful little eye-popper about pay inequality in sports.

Devin Gordon argues the decline of the Western Conference is coming sooner than you think.

And finally: Vince Carter throwing down windmills in warmups at 41 years old.

Be excellent to each other.