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May Wizards mailbag answers: Front office structure, small forward rotation, offseason strategy

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Monumental Basketball Introductory Press Conference
Yes, Tommy Sheppard (C) has the all-clear to run the Wizards’ basketball operations as he sees fit.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Thank you for your questions for May’s mailbag. Selected answers are below. In this part, we’ll answer your Wizards questions. Mystics questions will be answered tomorrow:

We’ll have our next mailbag in June when we may be seeing practice starting up again!

Thanks again and have a great Memorial Day Weekend!


Based upon the 2019-20 season who do feel deserves to be on the roster. Please take out the obvious top 9 spots (ex -Bradley Beal, John Wall, Rui Hachimura), how will the Wizards fill out the spots 10 through 17 (including the two-way contracts? What position do you think the Wizards will pick via free agency and draft (Joe Cobb, email)

That’s a good question. The Wizards can and should fill their end-of-the-roster players with younger talent. Garrison Mathews and Johnathan Williams, the two-way contract members, should remain. There should be a roster spot for a “sage” player who played larger parts on championship teams. Paul Pierce was basically the best-case scenario of such a player, but adding that type of voice to the locker room can help the Wizards weather through rough stretches.

As for the draft and free agency, assuming Washington is in the lottery, sorry if I sound like Ernie Grunfeld, but they’re just going to have to take the best player available. With the exception of Rui Hachimura, it’s an open question as to whether Williams, Mathews, Moritz Wagner, Anzejs Pasecniks, Troy Brown Jr., Issac Bonga and/or Admiral Schofield have a multi-year future in Washington.

With free agency, it’s pretty clear that the goal is to keep Davis Bertans. If he re-signs, then they will have to find a way for him to play more alongside Hachimura, as John Morrow detailed last week.

How do you figure the SF position shaking out and separately, what do you think is the best way? (qthaballa, comments)

We are in a more positionless era of the NBA, especially with teams shooting more three-pointers. That said, I’d lean toward having Troy Brown Jr. slotted in that role more than Rui Hachimura at this time in the long term. If Bertans comes back next year, then it also makes sense to have him there where he could get many open shot opportunities if John Wall can drive to the hoop like he did before his Achilles injury.

John Morrow also more-or-less answered your question last week. But in his case, he was pondering over whether Brown or Issac Bonga would be in that role for the longer term as opposed to Brown and Hachimura.

Your analysis of how the Wizards organization functions: Has Tommy Sheppard been enabled to make all basketball decisions, or are Ted Leonsis and other Monumental Basketball figures involved? (MeToo, comments)

Leonsis is a hands-off owner on the sports operations side, perhaps to a fault as we’ve seen with the 2016 NBA free agency period. Or perhaps the decision NOT to trade Beal for James Harden in 2012. So it appears that Sheppard has the all-clear to run the Wizards as he sees fit.

Now, if we see a situation where an MVP-level talent like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Luka Doncic were unrestricted free agents AND were considering the Wizards, it’s more likely that Leonsis will be more visible to them during the offseason. But it’s not like Ted will demand that Tommy sign a particular player.