Wizards Notes: Kuzma, Barton, Point Guards

Returning to the playoffs will be the number one objective for the Wizards this season, Kyle Kuzma told Mike DeStefano of Complex. The team has been stockpiling young players recently, including No. 10 pick Johnny Davis in this year’s draft. Although there’s plenty of talent on hand, Washington regressed in Wes Unseld Jr.‘s first year as head coach, falling to 35-47 after reaching the postseason the year before.

“It’s all about getting to the playoffs. That’s my mindset,” Kuzma said. “The NBA’s always better when you can win. We probably had one of the more talented teams that Wizard fans and the DMV’s (DC, Maryland and Virginia) seen in recent years and we have to figure it out, take that leap, and start playing winning basketball. That’s the most important thing that we have to do.”

Kuzma’s interview took place at New York Fashion Week and focuses mainly on clothing, including some of his more memorable outfits. He also talks about his favorite throwback jerseys, including the Wizards’ versions from the Michael Jordan era.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • The Wizards’ starting lineup appears mostly set with training camp getting underway next weekend, but there will be a competition to determine who starts at small forward, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes says Will Barton, who was acquired from the Nuggets in an offseason trade, appears to be the favorite, citing his experience and his familiarity with Unseld from their time together in Denver. Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert, Rui Hachimura and maybe even Davis will also be in the mix.
  • Newly acquired Monte Morris and Delon Wright will be the only two veteran point guards in camp, Hughes adds in the same story. General manager Tommy Sheppard said Bradley Beal and Davis may see some time at the position, and Davion Mintz could be used there if he makes the roster.
  • The Wizards haven’t posted a winning record in five seasons, but they also haven’t fully bottomed out and tried to rebuild, notes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. He credits that decision to owner Ted Leonsis, who proclaimed nearly four years ago that the organization would never tank. Robbins believes the Wizards missed an opportunity by not trading Beal when his value was at its highest.
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