Established as the Chicago Packers back in 1961, and adopting their current name in 1997, the Wizards have a fascinating NBA history. Though not exactly known for their championship acumen, the Washington Wizards have been fortunate to attain and retain a bevy of exciting talent throughout the years. Based on a combination of individual accolades, team success, and franchise impact – here are the best players to suit up for the Washington Wizards.
Earl Monroe: The Pearl
As far as Wizards’ legends go, few can match the skill and grace of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Monroe played for the Wizards (then known as the Baltimore Bullets) from 1967 to 1971, and during that time, established himself as one of the most dominant guards in the league.
Monroe was known for his incredible ball handling skills and his ability to create his own shot. He was a master at getting to the basket, and had a deadly jump shot that kept defenders on their toes. In his four seasons with the Bullets, Monroe averaged 23.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game.
Wes Unseld: The Gentle Giant
Wes Unseld is one of the most beloved players in Washington Wizards history. The big man from Kentucky played for the Bullets from 1968 to 1981, and during that time, he established himself as one of the most dominant centers in the league.
Unseld was known for his incredible strength and his ability to control the paint. He was an excellent rebounder and a skilled passer, and was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. Despite his size and strength, Unseld was a gentle giant off the court, and he was widely respected by his peers for his sportsmanship and leadership.
During his career, Unseld averaged 10.8 points, 14 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. He was a five-time All-Star, and he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1969. Unseld was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988, and his number 41 jersey was retired by the Wizards in 1987.
Elvin Hayes: The Big E
Hayes was known for his incredible scoring ability and his unstoppable turnaround jump shot. A tenacious rebounder and skilled defender, Hayes was instrumental in leading the Bullets to their first NBA championship in 1978. Hayes ended with career averages of 21 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
Michael Jordan: The Wizard Years
Though Jordan’s return to NBA basketball to play for the Wizards was likely an unwelcome sight for Bulls’ fans, it was certainly a treat for everyone else. Despite being clearly past his prime, Jordan proved to be effective as ever, averaging 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game during his two seasons with the team, and still showed flashes of the incredible skill that made him a six-time NBA champion.
Gilbert Arenas: Hibachi
Gilbert Arenas was one of the most exciting players in Washington Wizards history. The point guard from Arizona played for the team from 2003 to 2010, and during that time, he established himself as one of the most dynamic scorers in the league.
Arenas was known for his fearless attitude and his ability to hit clutch shots. He had a lethal three-point shot, and was a master at getting to the free-throw line. During his career with the Wizards, Arenas averaged 25.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game.
Arenas was a three-time All-Star during his career, and he was named to the All-NBA Second Team in 2007. He was also known for his colorful personality and his love of nicknames (he famously dubbed himself “Hibachi” after a Japanese grill). Although his time with the Wizards was cut short by injuries and off-court issues, he remains one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
John Wall: The Franchise Player
John Wall was unquestionably the face of the Washington Wizards franchise. The point guard from Kentucky was drafted by the team in 2010, and was an important piece of franchise lore during his time there.
Wall is known for his incredible speed and his ability to get to the basket. He is a skilled passer and a tenacious defender, and he plays with a high level of intensity that inspires his teammates. During his career with the Wizards, Wall has averaged 19.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists per game.
Wall is a five-time All-Star, and he has been named to the All-NBA Third Team twice. He is also known for his charitable work off the court, and he is widely respected by fans and players alike for his leadership and dedication to the game.
Bradley Beal: The All-Star
Bradley Beal is easily one of the most capable scorers in the NBA. The Florida native was drafted by the Washington Wizards in 2012, and he has since established himself as one of the team’s most important players. Beal is known for his incredible scoring ability and his deadly three-point shot, and he has helped lead the Wizards to several successful seasons.
During his career with the Wizards, Beal has averaged 19.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He has been named an All-Star three times, and he was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2021. Beal is also known for his leadership and his dedication to his teammates, and he is widely regarded as one of the best players in the league.
While the players on this list are undoubtedly some of the greatest to ever play for the Washington Wizards, there are several others who deserve honorable mentions. These players include:
- Bernard King: The forward from New York played for the Bullets from 1987 to 1991, and he was a four-time All-Star during his career.
- Chris Webber: The power forward from Michigan played for the Bullets from 1994 to 1998, and he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1994.
- Juwan Howard: The forward from Michigan played for the Wizards from 1994 to 2001, and he was a key player on the team’s playoff runs in the late 90s.