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Gary Trent Jr. can be the answer for the Wizards’ poor bench

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The Washington Wizards have little scoring off the bench and the Duke sharpshooter could be exactly who’s needed.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Kansas vs Duke Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards have struggled to find a complementary bench player to slot in behind Bradley Beal since he was drafted. A revolving door of guys like Jordan Crawford, Garrett Temple, Will Bynum, Glen Rice Jr., Gary Neal, Alan Anderson, and Marcus Thornton have all come and gone and the problem still exists with Jodie Meeks picking up his player option for next season. If the Wizards want to solve this problem, they need to invest in a long-term solution in this year’s draft. That player is Gary Trent Jr.

Trent spent only one year at Duke, but made the most of his short time there. He averaged 14.5 points per game to go along 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. More importantly, Trent shot 40.2 percent from long-range and did so while taking over six threes per game.

In a game against the nationally-ranked Miami Hurricanes, Trent hit six 3-pointers and scored 30 points, leading the Blue Devils to a big road win.

Trent tested very well at the draft combine where his vertical jump tested at 40 inches, tied for the tenth-best in the draft class alongside Lonnie Walker IV. He also posted the 13th-best three-quarter sprint and was only one of six prospects who completed the shuttle run in under three seconds.

He can also use his 6-6, 215 pound frame to bully smaller guards and force turnovers. He posted 12 reps on the max bench press, more than Moritz Wagner, Keita Bates-Diop, Brandon McCoy, and Troy Brown, to name a few.

He learned how to be physical from his father, Gary Trent Sr. aka “The Shaq of the MAC”, who was selected with the 11th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. He was an undersized, 6-8 power forward who was able to compensate and play 11 years in the NBA thanks to his bruising, physical style.

Trent Jr. is currently projected to go in the mid-to-late first round. He could be a good candidate to help the team address bench depth and shed salary if the team opts to trade down in the first round.

Strengths

  • Knockdown shooter
  • Big frame for a guard
  • Excellent free throw shooter
  • Willing rebounder
  • High effort player

Weaknesses

  • Average athlete in terms of agility and explosiveness
  • Can rely on his brute strength too much
  • Likes shooting long, mid-range jumpers
  • Does not create shots for others

How Trent Jr. fits with the Wizards

Trent would seamlessly slide into the backup shooting guard role behind Bradley Beal and have a chance to be one of the first guys off the bench on any given night. Playing alongside a pass-first player like Tomas Satoransky would be ideal for Trent because of his high-volume shooting. The Wizards have been searching for scoring power off the bench for years, and Gary Trent Jr. is exactly the kind of player who could solve their issues.