The Wizards franchise came into existence during the 1961 season. The organization was originally called the Chicago Packers and held that title for one year before becoming the Chicago Zephyrs. The Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, and Washington Bullets were the other three names the franchise held before the organization settled on the Washington Wizards in 1997.
Since becoming a professional team, the Wizards franchise has one championship. It came back in 1978 when the Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics in seven games.
For this piece, we’ll be taking a look at the best Bullets and Wizards teams in franchise history.
5. 2016-17 Wizards
Led by All-Stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington won 49 games and finished in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Wall averaged 23.1 points and 10.7 assists, while Beal put up 23.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.5 dimes.
The Wizards defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2017 playoffs in six games. Washington faced the Boston Celtics in the second round and the series went seven games after Wall hit a game-winning 3 pointer in Game 6 to stave off elimination.
Unfortunately, the Celtics won Game 7 at home to end Washington’s magical campaign.
4. 1978-79 Washington Bullets
Head coach Dick Motta led the Bullets to 54 wins. Washington had the third-best offense in the NBA and the ninth-best defense.
The Bullets were carried on offense by none other than Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes. Despite being 33-years-old, Hayes averaged 21.8 points and 12.1 rebounds and played in all 82 games in the regular season.
Washington took out the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the ’79 postseason to begin the playoffs. There was no first round of the playoffs back then.
Next up for the Bullets was the San Antonio Spurs in the Eastern Conference Finals. Washington won in seven games and was headed to the NBA Finals, where they would take on the SuperSonics.
Seattle, though, wound up winning the series in five games to capture the title.
3. 1968-69 Baltimore Bullets
57 wins for this Gene Shue-coached team. The Bullets averaged 116.4 points per game, good for second in the NBA.
Earl Monroe put up 25.8 points per game in the regular season. Kevin Loughery wasn’t too far behind with averages of 22.6 points.
Baltimore matched up with the New York Knicks to start the ’69 playoffs. New York swept the Bullets in four quick games behind the amazing play of Willis Reed and Walt Frazier, two Hall of Famers who were just too much for the Bullets to handle.
2. 1974-75 Washington Bullets
Behind a stingy defense, the ’75 Bullets got to the NBA Finals. The team gave up only 97.5 points per game during the regular season, which saw Washington win 60 games. It’s the most wins by a team in franchise history.
The Bullets got past the Buffalo Braves and Celtics to reach the ’75 Finals. They played against the Golden State Warriors, who had Rick Barry.
The Hall of Famer averaged 29.5 points per game for the Warriors versus Washington, leading Golden State to the title.
1. 1977-78 Washington Bullets
Elvin Hayes averaged 19.7 points while also grabbing 13.3 boards per game in the regular season. Bob Dandridge was also right behind Hayes, as he averaged 19.3 points per contest.
The ’77-78 Bullets were amazing on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Washington averaged 110.3 points a night. That was good for seventh in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Bullets gave up 109.4 points a game. In a league with then-22 teams, Washington was 12th in total defense.
The Bullets defeated the Hawks, Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers to get to the ’78 Finals, where they faced the Sonics. Washington won in seven thrilling games to capture the franchise’s lone championship.
Wes Unseld won Finals MVP after averaging 9.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Hayes led the entire ’78 playoffs in points with 457.