Sam Greenwood - Getty Images
With John Wall due to miss the first month of the 2012-13 season with a knee injury, are there any free agents the Wizards could turn to in order to pick up the slack?
The Washington Wizards have been building around John Wall since the moment the team won the 2010 NBA lottery. While he still isn't as good as a Dirk Nowitzki or a Steve Nash, he's every bit as important to the Wizards as they are to their respective teams. As talented as the athletic big men and rangy wings that general manager Ernie Grunfeld has surrounded the star point guard with are, every single one is almost entirely reliant on Wall to set them up for the open jumpers and easy dunks that are their bread and butter.
So what happens now that Wall is expected to miss an entire month of the season? Nene and Bradley Beal are the most talented offensive players on the team, but they can't be counted on to set up their teammates for 48 minutes a night for a full month. Shelvin Mack and A.J. Price might be ok in spot minutes, but they're nowhere near talented enough to serve as the engine driving a legitimate NBA offense.
So, perhaps the Wizards will need to sign somebody. Yesterday, Grunfeld said he feels comfortable with the existing roster, but if another player is needed, there are quite a few interesting possibilities available in free agency. Here are a few options to consider.
Tracy McGrady: Don't laugh. The former all-world wing is still an excellent passer who's played point forward for the last three years and who's averaged twice as many assists as turnovers throughout his career. He could allow the undersized Beal and Jordan Crawford to switch on defense and play to their strengths as scorers, space the floor and get the occasional bucket when the offense breaks down. Perhaps best of all, if he works out, he could stay with the team as a sixth man once Wall returns.
Shaun Livingston: The former Wizard is technically a Houston Rocket right now, but it's possible that he doesn't make the team. If that's the case, he has the defensive chops and court vision to really help the Wizards. He's also tall enough to switch with Crawford and Beal on defense.
Will Conroy: The D-League standout isn't a floor spacer, but he can run an offense (second in the D-League in pure point rating last year) and won't get completely torched on defense. At 29 years old, he doesn't offer the upside of a TMac or SLiv(?), but he would make his teammates better and that's a rare quality among unsigned point guards.
Jeremy Wise: Another D-Leaguer, the 26-year-old Wise is just entering his prime and was a solid set up man with a respectable outside shot last year. He's a classic low risk, low reward player and he should be able to play with any combination of teammates.
Gilbert Arenas: Eh, why not? (OK, I know why not).
Can you think of any better options? Chime in with your two cents in the comments section.