The Wizards could use a youth injection this summer

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards had a lot of older players last year. It's worth looking for some undervalued rotation players at the beginning of their primes to replace some of them.

I can understand the Wizards' desire to maintain general continuity, even if I am scared about giving Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza so much money that it'll hamper future flexibility. This was a pretty good team last year, especially after the trade deadline. The East stinks, so there's at least some reason to believe that Washington is closer to contention than out of the playoffs.

That said, it's important for the front office to remember that their stars are young. This isn't their last run, so sustaining the team's long-term health matters. Doing so means finding some young blood to work into the mix in with the many veterans.

The Wizards like to talk up the fact that they had so many players on rookie contracts, but outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal, this was functionally an older team. The next eight highest minute guys in the playoffs besides those two had an average age of 30.4 years. By contrast, the Pacers' eight next-highest minute guys in the playoffs besides 23-year-olds Paul George and Lance Stephenson averaged 28.7 years ... and the Pacers were considered a veteran team. The next-youngest Wizards rotation player was the 26-year-old Trevor Booker, who lost his minutes in the Pacers series.

Young blood would ideally come in the form of draft picks, but that ship appears to have sailed. Unless Booker returns and/or Kevin Seraphin takes a major, major leap forward, the additional picks from 2010-2012 will have yielded nothing. There's Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr., but more is needed, especially if both players just aren't very good. This year's second-round pick could have yielded a young asset, however small, but ... we're not going to talk about this anymore.

Thus, youth must come in the form of free agents with some upside. You can't sign very many novices in free agency, but there are ways to secure players in their early to mid-20s instead of going for older players. A few names to think about that won't break the bank:

Jordan Hill: He's kind of a rich man's Trevor Booker, but has yet to receive a chance to really show his skills. He's not much of a shooter, but is a strong rebounder, active defender and can run pick and roll nicely as the small-ball center of a second unit. He's turning 27 next year, so we're stretching the definition of "young," but he does fit the bill of someone who has yet to receive a real shot to be in a rotation.

Jordan Hamilton: He's bounced around a bit and hasn't quite shown the consistency needed to stay in a rotation, but he's just 23 and has shown real scoring ability. The Wizards have always gotten more out of shooting wings than most teams, so Hamilton is possibly worth a flier for very little.

Ed Davis: I'm not his biggest fan because I think he would have played plenty in Memphis if he really deserved it, but he's still only 25 and has a lot of defensive potential. He's a restricted free agent, though, so it might cost too much to get him away from the Grizzlies.

Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore: Two young lefty combo guards with some natural scoring ability that can be had for cheap. Henry's been injured quite a bit, but in an open second unit, he could provide some instant offense. Bazemore also has lots of defensive potential, though he's the worse shooter of the bunch.

Brandon Rush and Chris Douglas-Roberts: Neither is especially young, but both have the potential to provide shooting and defense on the wing. Rush is coming off a very poor year after tearing his ACL, while Douglas-Roberts is coming off a strong year after emerging as a bench piece for the then-Bobcats. Both players can provide much-needed athleticism, either in tandem with Trevor Ariza or as a cheaper replacement.

Mike Scott: The Hawks are expected to make Scott a restricted free agent, making him tricky to retain. But they may also have their eyes on bigger fish, allowing Scott to sneak free. He's still developing as a three-point shooter, but that is his ultimate destiny. He's relatively efficient otherwise in large part because he hit nearly 56 percent of his two-point shots. He'd be a nice pick and pop option on the second unit; in essence, he can do all the things Drew Gooden can, but with some upside.

The chances of any of these players turning into foundational pieces is very low, of course. At the same time, they are also players that can fill the same roles that the older guys the Wizards either already have or may target can fill. It'd be nice to get some sort of youth injection on the bench.

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