The Washington Wizards' salary-cap situation is murky, which means they probably won't make any big splashes in free agency. That said, there are some needs on this team that can be filled, so Ernie Grunfeld must look for bargains that can fit into the few exceptions the Wizards have to use. We'll explore all free agents that could take the mid-level exception or less in this ongoing series. Next up: Will Bynum.
Team: Detroit Pistons
Type: Unrestricted free agent.
This past year: Had one of his most efficient seasons in a while. Although his minutes were cramped because of Brandon Knight, Jose Calderon and Rodney Stuckey, Bynum carved out a decent role for himself. The Pistons used him as a jitterbug to change the tempo of games, and Bynum obliged.
There was nothing completely out of the ordinary with Bynum's game; he just performed his tasks better and more often than in past years. It's always been difficult to keep in front of him, but his success has been predicated on how many of those layups he can convert despite his small frame. Two years ago, he only hit 50.5 percent of his shots at the rim. This past year, he was up at 55.3 percent. His shot distribution was basically the same both years.
Bynum also got more assists this year, but that tends to be a function of how he is defended. His game didn't really change. He just controlled the ball more often and dropped the ball off to his roll man more frequently.
Why he's fit in well: Bynum can absolutely score, and the Wizards definitely need scoring. On a good team, Bynum can be that microwave-type player that gets you eight quick points when your team is in an offensive rut. He also gets his points by driving to the basket, which has added benefits (collapsing the defense, getting big men easy hoops, getting the other team in foul trouble).
Why he might not: Bynum's dribble pounding is reminiscent of Jordan Crawford on his worst days. He only passes for assists, so ball movement will die when he's in the game. He's also a weak defender that gives up size and should do a better job than he does pressuring the ball. The Pistons have been worse defensively with Bynum in the game in each of the last three seasons.
Likely price tag: Bynum has always been one of those players who has been seen as more expendable than he probably is. His offensive skills are valuable in the right situation, but due in part to his unconventional path to the league, he has failed to lock down a rotation spot. That should help drive down his price to lower than the $3.5 million he made last season.
Verdict: The Wizards do need scoring, but Bynum seems a little too much like Crawford for my liking.