Wizards star Kyle Kuzma rips team’s lack of defense: ‘We can’t guard a stop sign’

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The Washington Wizards have not had a great deal of success in recent years. The Wizards lost their 15th game of the young NBA season Wednesday in a game Washington allowed the Orlando Magic to score 30 or more points each quarter.

“We can’t guard a stop sign,” Wizards star Kyle Kuzma told The Athletic.

The 2020 NBA champion concluded the team would likely continue to lose games if its approach to defense did not improve.

“That’s kind of really what it boils down to. We let anybody get whatever they want on us. So, until we change that, then that’s probably going to be the result.”

The Wizards’ defense entered this week’s game with the Magic in a statistical tie for the No. 29 spot. Wednesday’s performance dropped Washington’s defense to the league’s worst.

Washington remains on pace for the poorest single-season defensive rating of the modern era. 

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Last season, the San Antonio Spurs had the worst defensive rating during the NBA’s modern era. The Wizards are also allowing more offensive rebounds than any other team in the league.

The Wizards remain in rebuilding mode, but the franchise did acquire Jordan Poole from the Golden State Warriors in the offseason. 

Kyle Kuzma shoots ball

Kuzma did offer some suggestions on what the Wizards could do to turn things around.

“Maybe just lock into player tendencies, build a game plan around their tendencies and what they want to do and make them play to their weaknesses, and I think we’ll give ourselves a better chance,” Kuzma told reporters. “A lot of times, we’re letting their players, whether it’s Franz [Wagner] get to his right hand, [Joe] Ingles get to his left hand, and that causes a lot of spray-outs, on top of our terrible transition defense.”

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Kuzma seems well aware of the limitations the Wizards’ roster presents, meaning the team will have to figure out the best way to play to their strengths. 

“It’s the cards we’re dealt,” Kuzma said. “We have to play a certain way on defense. Other teams in the league have the luxury to play big and switch one through five and do those type of things. We can’t. We have to play a certain type of way, so we just have to figure it out with what we have. And that’s it, really, so.”

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