Each Team’s All-NBA First Team: A 30 Part Series- Part 18 The Washington/Baltimore Wizards/Bullets
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine…medium.com
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine each team’s specific All-NBA First Team. What I mean by this is- following the criteria set by the NBA for the All-NBA Team rules, I will examine and elaborate on my picks for each team’s specific All-NBA First Team.
G- John Wall: 2010-Present
Since being drafted with the first overall pick in 2010, John Wall has exceeded all expectations, leading the team to the playoffs twice. Wall has established himself as one of the premier point guards in the entire NBA.
Wall is a 3x All-Star and will surely play in a few more before he is done. In his six seasons, Wall has led the team in assists, points, steals made field goals, and made free throws. His 3,779 assists is second behind only the great Wes Unseld in franchise history. He is also third on the team’s all-time steals list. By the time he is done in Washington, Wall will likely be the teams’ all-time leader in points, steals, assists, and a number of other statistical categories.
G- Earl Monroe: 1967–1971
Earl “The Peral Monroe” may be known more for his days in New York than his days with the Bullets/Wizards’ franchise, but that does not mean we should overlook his days in Baltimore.
Monroe was selected second overall in 1967. He played four and a half seasons with the team, and during that time Monroe established himself as one of the premier guards in the league. Monroe averaged 23.7 points per game with the club, the third highest single game average in franchise history.
Alongside Elvin Hayes, Monroe helped the Bullets make three playoff appearances, reaching the NBA finals in 1971.
F- Elvin Hayes: 1972–1981
Elvin Hayes is among the most underrated players in NBA history. Not only was he an outstanding rebounder, but he was also an all-around outstanding player- finishing his career as one of the best scorers and rebounders of all-time.
During his time with the Bullets, the team thrived appearing in the playoffs all but one of his seasons with the team. Hayes was the best player on their only championship team in history. During that championship season (1978), Hayes averaged 19.7 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.
Nine of his eleven All-Star appearances came during his time with the Bullets. Hayes also owns the franchise’s single season record for total offensive rebounds. Six of his seven All-NBA Team (3x First Team, 3x Second Team) appearances came with the Bullets.
Without Hayes, the Bullets/Wizards’ success during the 70’s would not have happened. Hayes was the best all-around player on those teams, and unfortunately his career is much too often overlooked.
F- Gus Johnson: 1963–1972
Gus Johnson spent eight and a half seasons with the Bullets/Wizards’ franchise, averaging 17.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. From 1963 to 1967, Johnson was the team’s best player and the face of the franchise, leading the team in almost every major statistical category during that four-year stretch.
Johnson was a five time All-Star and appeared on four All-NBA Second Teams.
C- Wes Unseld: 1968–1981
After being drafted with the second overall pick in 1968, Wes Unseld joined a Bullets’ team that already had a future hall of famer in Earl “The Peral” Monroe, and although Monroe ultimately had a better NBA career, Unseld’s had a better career with the Bullets/Wizards’ franchise.
Unseld is the only player in franchise history to win an MVP award, doing so in his rookie season (one of only two rookies to have accomplished this). In his MVP season, Unseld averaged 13.8 points and a career high 18.2 rebounds per game.
Like his teammate Elvin Hayes, Unseld was a dominant rebounder, finishing in the top ten in total rebounds 10 different times. His 13,769 rebounds are the twelfth most in NBA history, and the most in Bullets/Wizards’ history.
He’s a five time All-Star and appeared on the one All-NBA First Team. He also helped the team to the NBA finals four times, winning the franchise’s only championship in 1978. Unseld was the MVP of that series.