After spending most of the past few seasons below .500, the Washington Wizards are off to an impressive 2-0 start behind a number of new players. Spencer Dinwiddie led the way with 34 points in Friday's overtime win over the Indiana Pacers. Montrezl Harrell is averaging 18 points per game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has brought his standard defensive excellence and Aaron Holiday remains one of the NBA's steadier backup point guards. 

But the player who has benefitted most from his new surroundings might be Kyle Kuzma. The former Lakers forward is averaging 18.5 points and 13 rebounds per game thus far in Washington. Unsurprisingly, Kuzma was a fan of Washington's acquisition of, well, Kuzma. After Friday's win over the Pacers, Kuzma commented on the trade that brought him and the players mentioned above to Washington in exchange for Russell Westbrook and made it clear that the Wizards made the right move. 

"I mean, you gotta do that trade 10 out of 10 times. If you have an opportunity to get five good basketball players for one, it makes sense. Granted, [Westbrook is] obviously a Hall of Fame player and everything. He's an unbelievable player, don't take that wrong," Kuzma told reporters Friday.

"But especially for a team like Washington, if you look at the track record from the past couple of years, it hasn't necessarily been enough ballplayers here... It's smart, you have to do it if you're a GM."

Ironically, Kuzma has a championship ring right now because his old GM made one of those five-for-one types of trades and was on the side that landed only a single player. Kuzma's 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers missed the postseason but won the title in 2020 when Rob Pelinka dealt Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and several first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis. NBA history tends to favor the side that acquires the best player in a trade even if the cost to get that player is significant. In general, it is just far easier to acquire multiple viable role players than it is one superstar. 

But in this instance, Washington appears to be an exception for a variety of reasons. They didn't have to give up anything of value to land Dinwiddie as Westbrook's replacement at point guard because the Brooklyn Nets were so deep into the luxury tax that they didn't want to take back any extra money. Holiday was a similar casualty in Indiana, as the Pacers were flirting with the luxury tax and wanted to re-sign T.J. McConnell to be their backup. Kuzma and Harrell are both players that were capable of bigger roles than the Lakers could give them with Davis and LeBron James in the building, and Caldwell-Pope provided sorely needed two-way wing play.

For a variety of reasons, each of those players was worth more to the Wizards than they were to the team that sent them to Washington. Westbrook, meanwhile, is a very specific sort of player. He makes sense in a very specific context, and rather than catering to that, the Wizards wanted to build a more complete team. They've lost ball-handling and playmaking without Westbrook, but have replaced it with more depth, shooting and defense. The trade worked out well for them. Even if some teams shouldn't trade one player for five, Washington was clearly an exception.