The Washington Wizards are currently tied with the Chicago Bulls as the leaders in the Eastern Conference leaderboard with an 8-3 record.
The improved record compared to the teams 3-8 start at this same point last season is primarily due to first-year head coach Wes Unseld Jr. bringing out the best of the Wiz on defense—they rank fourth in the League in defensive rating—and a balanced supporting cast and bench mob that looks to have made life easier for Bradley Beal.
One other significant factor in the Wizards’ fast start is the play of Kyle Kuzma, who is averaging 14.1 points and 9.1 boards on 43.4 percent shooting from the field.
During Wednesday’s 97-94 win over the Cavaliers (7-5), Kuzma played a significant role in the victory, scoring 22 points and grabbing five rebounds. Kuzma made his biggest contributions in the fourth quarter, knocking down four three-pointers, including a wide-open bucket from the corner to cement the Wizards dub.
Not only did the Wizards forward have a memorable performance, but he also made time to clap back at a Cavs fan who held up a sign that read: ‘LeBron Won Kuzma His RIng.” The trolling sign was apparently enough to poke the proverbial bear and seemed to have provided some motivation for Kuzma who was the subject of the Cavs fans jaw jacking.
“There was some hecklers during the game talking to me,” Kuzma said via CBS Sports. “… They had a sign that said ‘LeBron won Kuzma his ring.’ I said ‘without LeBron, Cleveland wouldn’t be sh–.’ They choose violence, I just kept going. They were talking too much. Unnecessary.”
The Wizards and Kuzma are thriving beyond the expectations of many with a stellar record, and return to the court Saturday on the road against the Magic (3-9).