The A Block was all Wizards. We dug into the deals the Wizards made — Jordan McRae for Shabazz Napier, and Isaiah Thomas for Jerome Robinson. At some point we also talked about the rumored trade for Tristan Thompson that the Wizards didn’t make, but I can’t remember if it was in this section or towards the end.
In the B Block, we analyzed some of the headline-grabbing deals from around the league. We talked about the Rockets fully committing to their theory of the game by trading Clint Capela, and the Minnesota Timberwolves acting like a fantasy team GM by turning over more than half their roster with a series of moves.
My quick analysis of the Wizards moves:
- This represents a continuation of Tommy Sheppard’s strategy of making small acquisitions with the potential for a significant future payoff, but with a low acquisition cost.
- Sheppard’s ability to shoehorn the Wizards into trades demonstrates the value of his deep network of connections. Sheppard is one of the “good guys” who knows — and is liked — by everyone. Those relationships may provide him with information others don’t have and he’s able to use that information to get involved in opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.
- Under Sheppard, for essentially no acquisition cost, the Wizards have been able to acquire Davis Bertans, Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and now Robinson and Napier.
- While these are “marginal moves,” they’re exactly the kind of moves the Wizards should be making. Napier is having a solid season — probably the best of his career — and gives them a decent pro (and someone who actually plays defense) for at least the rest of this season.
- Robinson is someone the Wizards liked before the 2018 draft, and while he’s done next to nothing in scant playing time with the Clippers, he’s young and could improve. In my pre-draft analysis, Robinson rated well below a draftable grade. While I don’t see him beating out Garrison Mathews for a backup SG role, the Wizards got a young player with potential for free. It’s a good move even if Robinson doesn’t work out.
- As for the Thompson trade they didn’t make...good. This isn’t too much of a commentary on Thompson, who is a solid player. However, he’s about to turn 29 and he likely has already maxed out the player he’ll be. Meanwhile, the Wizards have two young big men who are playing at a level similar to Thompson this season but are much younger and could improve significantly. The Wizards would be wise to continue investing playing time and coaching energy into developing those players. Decent bigs are likely to be available at increasingly lower prices as the NBA continues its “positionless” evolution.