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The Washington Wizards 2023-2024 Season Awards

Mar 4, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) takes a shot over Washington Wizards guard Bilal Coulibaly (0) during the second half at the Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards’ 2023-2024 season officially came to an end with a 132-122 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped Washington to its 67th loss of the season, which is the most losses in a single season in franchise history. After a fifteen-win campaign, its appropriate to assign season awards for the Wizards abysmal 2023-2024 campaign. The Wizards’ most valuable player, most improved player, and best defender are named.

The Washington Wizards 2023-2024 Season Awards

Washington Wizards 2023-2024 Best Defender: Bilal Coulibaly

Washington rookie Bilal Coulibaly had a promising campaign albeit being only 19 years-old. The rookie averaged 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds while having shot 43.5 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from three. Furthermore, Coulibaly exhibited high-upside of being a solid defender, especially on the perimeter. The rookie guard stands at 6-foot-7 and uses his length to be able to guard athletic wings.

In the clip, Coulibaly faces the difficult task of guarding four-time first-team All-NBA forward Luka Doncic. Coulibaly stuck with Doncic throughout the entire possession out on the perimeter. The 2023 first-round pick used his stature to give Doncic a hard time getting to his spots. Furthermore, Doncic settled for a heavily contested three-point attempt with Coulibaly’s entire 6-foot-7 frame in his face. The 19-year-old showed immense poise, hustle, and determination on defense while having guarded one of the NBA’s best offensive players.

In this next clip, Coulibaly is guarding Portland Trailblazers forward Jerami Grant from the top of the key. Grant attempts to drive inside the paint, but Coulibaly stays in front of Grant until the Trail Blazers forward tosses up a contested floater. Grant missed the shot due to Coulibaly’s persistence on defense.

Coulibaly is fresh into the league, but his defensive upside is immensely high for a player this young into his career.

Washington Wizards 2023-2024 Most Improved Player: Corey Kispert

Washington forward Corey Kispert improved drastically this season off the bench. The former Gonzaga guard averaged 13.4 points (career-high), 2.8 rebounds, and 2 assists (career-high) per game while having shot 48.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three. Additionally, Kispert shot the ball more frequently than the previous two seasons in the league (9.9 attempts per game).

Kispert provided an offensive spark whenever he came off the bench for Washington. In fact, Kispert averaged 18 points per game across the final fourteen games of the regular season for the Wizards. The 2021 first-round pick displayed strong distance shooting, effective off-ball movement, and proved to be an effective driving threat. In 2023, Kispert shot 56.5 percent from the field on drives to the basket, respectively.

In the video above, Kispert displays his attributes as a play maker, passer, an off-ball offensive asset, and a player with good court vision in the montage of plays. Furthermore, its evident Kispert’s confidence on the court helped elevate his game to an entire different level. Kispert currently has one more year on his rookie deal before he becomes a restricted free agent after the 2024-2025 season. If the Washington forward continues this trend, he may find himself commanding a lucrative contract.

Washington Wizards 2023-2024 Most Valuable Player: Deni Avdija

Washington forward Deni Avdija’s 2023-2024 season was nothing short of impressive. Avdija played in 75 games this season and averaged 14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists while having shot 50.6 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three, which are all career-highs across the board. In fact, Avdija averaged 20.1 points per game throughout the entire month of Feburary, which included a 43 point performance against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 2020 first-round pick displayed evident maturation since having signed a four-year, $55 million dollar extension last October. Avdija plays with more confidence by using his 6-foot-9 frame effectively on both ends of the floor. Furthermore, Avdija’s basketball IQ and overall mindset elevated him to be a cornerstone piece for the Washington franchise as they continue to rebuild from obscurity. The 2023-2024 season ended up being Avdija’s breakout campaign as a solid overall wing that can distribute the ball, snag rebounds, defend athletic wings consistently, and shoot the ball effectively from almost anywhere on the floor.

In this clip, Avdija’s ability as an off-ball offensive player is on full display. Avdija cuts inside the paint with light inside coverage from the Houston Rockets. As the Washington forward corrals the pass from Kyle Kuzma, Avdija uses his entire 6-foot-9, 210Ibs frame and finishes at the rim aggressively while absorbing contact.

Avdija’s upside is extremely high and by Washington having extended him, the front office clearly believe in his abilities as one of the faces of the franchise. Furthermore, if Avdija continues this level of play into next season, perhaps his name should be mentioned with other premier forwards in the association.

The Last Word

The Washington Wizards season was filled with blowouts, blown-leads, poor defense, and a lack of effort to say the least. Additionally, the franchise fired its head coach amidst its worst win-loss ratio in franchise history. Regardless, the season featured bright spots that offer a glimpse of hope for one of the NBA’s lowly franchises.

Wizards general manager Will Dawkins and Co. have a lot of work to do and decisions to make along with the NBA draft looming. Washington seems to be doing the right things to make the franchise relevant again, but it remains to be seen if the Wizards can completely turn it around.

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