Yes, it’s the end of January and we are already talking this summer, but it needs to be discussed. The Wizards face some unique challenges in the coming months. They won’t have much cap space this summer, but they’ll still need to find ways to fill out their roster through the draft and free agency. With that said, here’s a look at what they should prioritize as they start to think ahead to this summer.
Priority #1: Find a big man
The Wizards have struggled on the glass this season. They’re currently 20th in rebounding percentage, and the only player big man they have under the age of 25 is Daniel Ochefu. They could use a younger big man they can groom and polish into a piece to bolster the team’s bench next season like what they’ve done with Kelly Oubre. Here are a couple of players who could fit that billing:
Robert Williams is currently ranked 15th on the DraftExpress Mock Draft. He is a lengthy big man with good upside and the ability to produce on both ends of the floor. He may be off the board by the time the Wizards pick, but if he’s still available, he could help solve quite a few of the Wizards’ bench issues.
Caleb Swanigan is one of the best rebounders in the entire NCAA. He averaging 12.7 rebounds per game for the Purdue Boilermakers. Rebounding is one of the stats that translates the best from college to the pros, so he should still be able to help the Wizards clean the glass, and if his outside shooting can hold up with the longer NBA three-point line, he could be a nice steal in the second round for the Wizards.
Priority #2: Find guard depth
Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton are both set to hit free agency at the end of the season, so the Wizards will need to restock both positions one way or another this summer.
Dozier is currently ranked 40th on the DraftExpress Top Prospect Rankings, which make him a good candidate if the Wizards keep their second round pick. He has good size (6’6, 205 pounds) for a guard and though he can be streaky, he can shoot from all over the court.
Priority #1: Bring back Otto Porter
Otto Porter Jr. has made a huge improvement for the Wizards this season. He has become one of the best shooters in the NBA and contributes in lots of other areas as well. Washington has to do whatever they can to keep him because they won’t have the cap space to replace him if they let him walk.
Priority #2: Find ways to add cheap depth with upside
Jeff Green has struggled all his career to find the right fit in the NBA, including this season where he’s struggling to live up to the one-year, $15 million deal he signed with the Magic. That said, he does bring plenty of skills to the table that can benefit the Wizards. Perhaps heading back to the town where he made a name for himself in college, reuniting with his first NBA coach, and playing in a situation with lower expectations could bring out the best in what he has to offer.
Like Green, Robinson has struggled to find a good fit in the NBA. That said, there’s no question he can make a difference on the glass and perhaps provide a jolt with his energy on nights where the Wizards come out flat. You could do worse with someone coming off the end of your bench.
Though this summer may not pack as many big moves as last year, the moves the Wizards make this summer will still be exciting to track. Getting these moves right can be the difference between a disappointing first round exit or a run to the Eastern Conference Finals.