Being a Wizards fan is certainly no easy task. Mediocre teams, bad free agent signings, and questionable draft picks have plagued this franchise for the past two decades. It has always seemed that the Wizards play second fiddle to the Capitals, the other D.C. sports team run by team owner Ted Leonsis. However, this was not always the case in the nation’s capital. The Wizards, formerly the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets, were once a top team in the NBA, winning the NBA Championship in 1978. In this article, I’m going to be highlighting the top 25 players that have ever played for this franchise. Without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Wes Unseld
When talking about the greatest players in franchise history, Wes Unseld undoubtedly tops the list. Unseld played the entirety of his 13-year career with the Bullets. Standing at only 6’7, Unseld used his great strength and size to his advantage while playing the center position. Unseld is the only player in franchise history to win the MVP award, and only one of two players in NBA history to do so in their rookie season. Unseld was a five-time All-Star, Hall of Famer, and helped the Bullets win the 1978 NBA Championship.
2. Elvin Hayes
One could easily make the case that Elvin Hayes is the greatest player in franchise history, and I honestly see him and Unseld as interchangeable. “The Big E” played in Washington for nine seasons, making the All-Star team in eight of those years. Hayes racked up numerous accolades throughout his Hall of Fame career, including 12 All-Star appearances, six All-NBA selections, two All-Defensive Team selections, and NBA Championship with the Bullets in 1978. He is a D.C. sports legend and one of the greatest power forwards of all time.
3. John Wall
When the Wizards drafted him with the #1 overall pick in 2010, expectations were very high for John Wall in D.C. Despite being sidelined with injuries the past year and a half, I believe John Wall has established himself as a top player in franchise history. So far in Wall’s career, he has made the All-Star Game five times, made an All-NBA Team once, and an All-Defensive Team. He is the Wizards all-time leader in assists and steals and is 4th on the team’s all-time scoring list. Wall is undoubtedly the best point guard in team history and has some quality years left in him if he can stay healthy. Don’t sleep on John Wall, folks.
4. Bradley Beal
Since being drafted with the 3rd overall pick in 2012, Bradley Beal’s game has improved every year he’s been in the league. Despite not being selected to what would’ve been his third consecutive All-Star Game, Beal was averaging 30.5 points per game on 52% shooting when the season was postponed. Those are some insane numbers that speak volumes to how great Beal truly is. The man is a two-time All-Star selection and has already climbed his way up to #2 on the Wizards’ all-time scoring list. When it’s all said and done, expect Beal to own many franchise records.
5. Gilbert Arenas
“Agent Zero” was one of the best scorers in Wizards history. Arenas played in D.C. for eight seasons, being named an All-Star three times and was selected to three All-NBA teams. He was known for being a deadly scorer who was crafty around the rim and could pull up from 30 feet. At his peak, Arenas averaged 29.3 points per game in 2005-06 and was one of the best guards in the game. Unfortunately, Arenas’ prime was derailed by injuries, and he was never able to return to his All-Star form post-injury. Despite this, “Hibachi” will always be remembered and loved by fans in D.C.
6. Earl Monroe
“Earl “The Pearl” Monroe played his ball with the Baltimore Bullets for the first four years of his career. Over those four years, Monroe would average 23.7 points per game, being named an All-Star twice and made an All-NBA team in 1968-69. He was also NBA Rookie of the Year with the Bullets in 1967-68. Monroe would ultimately be traded to the Knicks in 1971, where he would spend nine seasons and help New York win the NBA Championship in 1973. He is one of five Wizards players to have his number hanging in the rafters of Capital One Arena.
7. Gus Johnson
Gus Johnson is a legend of this franchise true and through. Johnson began his NBA career in 1963 with the Baltimore Bullets, the same year that the franchise first moved there. In nine seasons with the team, Johnson was a five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA selection, and two-time All-Defensive Team selection. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and has his number 25 retired by the Wizards.
8. Chris Webber
After spending his first season in Golden State, the former #1 overall pick was traded to Washington, where he would spend the next four seasons. In those four years, Webber would make one All-Star Game and one All-NBA selection. He averaged 20 or more points each of his seasons as a Bullet/Wizard and established himself as one of the best big men in the league. Webber would eventually be shipped to Sacramento, where he played the best basketball of his career.
9. Bernard King
King was considered one of the best scorers in the league during his time in the NBA. However, he seemed to bounce around teams quite often. The most time he ever spent on a team was four seasons, having played four on both the Knicks and the Bullets. In his four years with the Bullets, King continued to be a reliable scorer and put up over 20 points per game in each season he was a consistent starter with the team. His best season for the Bullets came in 1990-91 when he averaged 28.4 points and was selected to the All-Star Game and an All-NBA Team.
10. Antawn Jamison
Jamison enjoyed a very successful 16-year NBA career, but the most productive years of his career came with the Wizards. During his years on the ‘Zards, Jamison put up around 20 points and nine rebounds per night, good enough for two All-Star selections. He was a versatile big man who could play down low and stretch the floor, a perfect teammate for star Gilbert Arenas. Although those Wizards teams of the 2000s were star-studded, they were never able to get over the hump.
11. Moses Malone
Moses Malone was initially committed to play his college ball at the University of Maryland but instead opted to go straight to the ABA from high school. Malone, one of the greatest big men of all time, would later play in the DMV for two seasons with the Washington Bullets. Malone was a double-double machine with the Bullets, averaging 22.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game over his two seasons in Washington. He would make the All-Star Game in both of those seasons as well, something “The Chairman of the Boards” would accomplish 13 times in his Hall of Fame career.
12. Walt Bellamy
Bellamy was one of the first-ever players for the Bullets/Wizards franchise. He began his career with the team in Chicago when they were called the Packers and then the Zephyrs. In his four seasons with the franchise, Bellamy averaged 27.8 points per game and made the All-Star game in each of those four seasons. Bellamy’s best season would be his rookie campaign, where he averaged an absurd 31.6 points per game at only 22 years old.
13. Phil Chenier
Chenier spent nine seasons with the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets franchise. In those years, Chenier would average 18.2 points per game in his career for the franchise, making three All-Star Games and winning the NBA Championship in 1978. Chenier would go on to be a TV broadcaster for 33 years for the Wizards and is loved and admired by fans all across the DMV. His number 45 jersey was retired by the Wizards in 2018.
14. Caron Butler
“Tuff Juice” played on nine different NBA teams in his career, but his longest tenure was with the Washington Wizards. Butler would play in D.C. with Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison to form of the game’s best trios. He was a reliable scoring option for the Wizards and was the team’s best on-ball defender. Butler would average 19.4 points per game during his time in Washington and made back-to-back All-Star Games in 2007 and 2008.
15. Jeff Malone
The #3 scorer in Wizards history, Malone played with the franchise from 1983 to 1990. In those seven years as a Bullet, Malone was a two-time All-Star and averaged over 20 points per game five separate times. Malone was known for his more than capable scoring ability and was excellent in generating offense off of the pick and roll. After his days in Washington, Malone would go on to play for three other teams until his retirement in 1996.
16. Rod Strickland
Although he was never named an All-Star during his time in the NBA, Rod Strickland certainly had a career worthy of a nod or two. Strickland played in the NBA for 16 seasons, five of which came with the Bullets/Wizards. During his time in Washington, Strickland was one of the best facilitators in the game, averaging close to double-digit assists every year. His best season came in 1997-98 when he led the NBA in assists and was named to an All-NBA Team.
17. Juwan Howard
Former “Fab Five” member Juwan Howard was reunited with his college teammate Chris Webber when the Bullets drafted him in 1994. Howard made an immediate impact for Washington, averaging about 18 points per game over his five years with the team. His best season in the NBA came in 1995-96 with the Bullets when he was named an All-Star and was selected to an All-NBA Team.
18. Kevin Loughery
After spending his rookie season with the Detroit Pistons, Loughery was traded to the Bullets in 1963, where he would spend the next eight seasons of his career. Despite never being selected to an All-Star Team, Loughery still got buckets for the Bullets in the 1960s and early ‘70s. He averaged around 17.6 points per game for his career in Baltimore, and his name is listed many times in the history books of the franchise.
19. Michael Jordan
MJ is, of course, known for his six championships with the Chicago Bulls and is considered arguably the greatest player of all time. However, many people forget (or try to forget) the two seasons he spent with the Wizards from 2001-2003. Despite being well out of his prime, “His Airness” still produced at a high level in Washington. Jordan averaged 21.2 points per game for his career in Washington and was named an All-Star in both of those seasons.
20. Bob Dandridge
After spending his first eight seasons in Milwaukee, Dandridge joined the Bullets in 1977 and played there for four years. Dandridge made an immediate impact for Washington, averaging 19.3 points in his first season with the team, helping them capture their first and only NBA Championship. His best season in Washington would come the very next year when he averaged 20.4 points per game and was named both an All-Star and an All-NBA selection.
21. Richard Hamilton
Known best for his years in Detroit, “Rip” Hamilton began his career with the Wizards. Hamilton came onto the scene in his second season in the league, establishing himself as a skilled scorer and shooter. He averaged 18 and 20 points respectively in his 2nd and 3rd seasons in the league. However, Hamilton would eventually be traded to Detroit in exchange for Jerry Stackhouse, as then player and GM Michael Jordan wanted to clear the way for himself to be the Wizards’ starting shooting guard.
22. Manute Bol
Bol entered the league in 1985 with the Bullets and immediately made history, becoming the tallest player to ever play in the NBA. Standing at 7’7, Bol’s freakishly large frame allowed him to be a menace on the defensive side of the ball. Bol averaged a ridiculous five blocks per game in his first season in the league and was named to an All-Defensive Team as a result. Bol would spend his first three seasons in Washington before bouncing around several teams during his career. He would later join the Bullets again in the 1993-1994 season for only two games.
23. Jerry Stackhouse
Stackhouse spent the first seven seasons of his career in Philadelphia and Detroit, where he established himself as a solid NBA player and made two All-Star Games. Stackhouse was traded to the Wizards in exchange for up-and-coming guard Richard Hamilton. He would spend two seasons in Washington, averaging 19.5 points per game over those two years.
24. Gheorghe Muresan
Standing at 7’7, Gheorghe Muresan is tied with Manute Bol as the tallest player in NBA history. Interestingly enough, they both spend a bulk of their careers in Washington. Muresan played for the Bullets from 1993 to 1997 and was a quality starting center for the team. In 1995-96, he was named the NBA Most Improved Player after averaging 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, all while leading the league in field goal percentage.
25. Brendan Haywood
Haywood spent eight seasons in Washington before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in his ninth season with the team. Haywood may never have been a star, but he was a solid contributor on the Wizards for nearly a decade. Haywood would become the Wizards starting center through the Michael Jordan and Gilbert Arenas years after mainly coming off the bench in his rookie season.
- Who is the greatest Washington Wizard of all time?
- Who is the best point guard in Wizards history?
- Who is the best shooting guard in Wizards history?
- Who is the best small forward in Wizards history?
- Who is the best power forward in Wizards history?
- Who is the best center in Wizards history?
- How many NBA Championships have the Wizards won?
Wes Unseld. The Hall of Fame center played the entirety of his career with the Bullets. He was a five-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, MVP, NBA Champion, and NBA Finals MVP during his years with the franchise.
John Wall. Since being drafted with the first overall pick in 2010 by the Wizards, Wall has been one of the best guards in the league when healthy. He is a five-time All-Star, was selected to an All-NBA Team in 2016-17, and is the all-time leader in assists in franchise history.
Bradley Beal. Despite only being 26 years old, Beal has established himself as the best two-guard in team history. He is a two-time All-Star and is the Wizards all-time leader in three-pointers made. Before the season was suspended, Beal was averaging 30.5 points per game.
Gus Johnson. The 6’6 forward played nine seasons with the Baltimore Bullets from 1963 to 1972. He was a five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, and two-time All-Defensive Team selection. His number 25 is retired by the Wizards franchise and hangs in the rafters of Capital One Arena downtown.
Elvin Hayes. “The Big E” played on the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets for nine seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star with the team and helped lead the Bullets to their first and only championship in 1978. He is the all-time leading scorer in franchise history.
Wes Unseld. Despite being only 6’7, Unseld played center for the Bullets. He used his impressive strength to be a capable defender at a position in which most players he guarded were taller than him. Sadly, Unseld passed away recently on June 2nd at the age of 74.
One. The Washington Bullets defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games in 1978 to claim their lone NBA Championship. The team was led by Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Phil Chenier, and Bob Dandridge. The Bullets would face the Supersonics in a rematch in the Finals the very next season, only to lose the series in five games.
- Top 50 NBA Players of All-Time
- Top 50 NBA Point Guards of All-Time
- Top 50 NBA Shooting Guards of All-Time
- Top 50 NBA Small Forwards of All-Time
- Top 50 NBA Power Forwards of All-Time
- Top 50 NBA Centers of All-Time
- Top 50 Best NBA Defenders of All-Time
- Top 50 Greatest Boston Celtics Players of All-Time
- Top 50 Greatest Chicago Bulls Players of All-Time
- Top 50 Greatest Los Angeles Lakers Players of All-Time
- Top 25 Greatest Miami Heat Players of All-Time
- Top 25 Greatest Detroit Pistons Players of All-Time
- Top 25 Greatest Washington Wizards Players of All-Time
- Top 25 Current Foreign Born NBA Players
- Top 30 NBA Players Under 25 Years Old
- Top 20 NBA "Bad Boys" of All-Time