An assessment of the C position

In response to the Okongwo write up, our own critiques of Thomas Bryant, and what I am seeing in these playoffs, I wanted to see if I could trigger some discussion on what it is we have at C and what it is we actually need.

First things first, let's look at the 8 remaining teams as presumably the 8 best teams in the league and the teams we want to emulate and/or figure out how to compete against. Those teams start JaVale, Zubac, Jokic, Tucker, Lopez, Gasol, Theis, and Bam at C. What are some of the qualities of that group?

1. 1 of 8 is out there for O more than D (Jokic, Lopez is about even)

2. 1 of the 8 plays with any regularity in the post (Jokic)

3. 6 of the 8 have perimeter skills like a 3pt shot or passing skill (Jokic, Tucker, Lopez, Gasol, Thies, Bam)

4. 4 of the 8 is an elite rim protector (Lopez, JaVale, Theis, Zubac. Bam isn't far off)

5. 1 of the 8 is an elite rebounder (Zubac)

6. 3 of 8 make an above avg NBA salary (Jokic, Gasol, Lopez, another 2 are on rookie deals)

I know this oversimplifying things a bit, these teams are able to play this way due to some of the surrounding talent, but for the sake of brevity lets look at those qualities and what they mean for the Wizards. Beginning with the current C, clearly Bryant is never going to meet #1, but he does have a lot in common with the rest of the group after that (just misses on 6 too). I personally feel that failing to meet #1 is disqualifying, as the one exception above has elite offensive skill (and his team is probably the worst team remaining). This is certainly a debatable topic though.

But if we did decide we want a defensive focused C and to transition Bryant to play a platoon or possibly Olynyk backup C role (he would play it better for sure), what would that look like? The new C needs to be a defender but rebounding is less important. Rim protection is good but it doesn't need to be elite, and bulkier bodies suited for post D aren't really an asset since none of his opponents are proficient there (so strike off that Isaiah Stewart game from Okongwo's criticisms!). Offensively, he needs to be able to play on the perimeter in some form.

How do some of our targets fare here? The good news with trying to tackle this in free agency, a lot of these guys are at or below the MLE and within the Wizards price range. But looking at the actual options we have some pretty flawed players. Len, Meyers Leonard, Olynyk might have the jumper, but I'm less sure about the D. Noel, TT, Baynes, Plumlee, can bring the D, but they have no perimeter offensive skill. Moving to the draft, the perimeter skill is going to be an issue with Oknogwo too, although he is skilled generally which may end up translating to the perimeter in the future. imo it's a good debate between he and Precious as to who can play out there better, Precious has had more opportunity and therefore is further along in some ways, but he also has shown more warts. In the second round you actually get more perimeter skill, as Tillman (passing), Stix, Stewart, Oturu, Nnaji (all shooting) are skilled. But you lose the impact D with most of them, minus Tillman. A guy like Azubuike has the skill problem, and I think his paint bound qualities (rebounding, post D) are not actually that valuable. Wiseman certainly checks all the boxes, if he's there.

Lastly, we have a couple trade targets. Gobert is ideal for many, but I think we would be paying a lot of $ (plus trade assets) for an imperfect solution (not much on the perimeter). Myles Turner knocks the price down some, and while he's a worse player I think he actually fits the model C above better. Good defender with perimeter skill, isn't an oversized rebounder/post D type. Contract is still high but more reasonable. And one other target that caught my eye when doing this was Mo Bamba. Good defender, decent shooter, fits the more agile prototype. He's kind of blocked behind Vooch, but now his health might be too big a concern to target.

So where does that leave us? 700 words later and I'm actually less certain than I was when I began (which was pro Okongwo). I guess I mostly feel that Bryant should platoon, the free agent C's are all too flawed to the point I'd rather see us use the MLE on a 3 and D wing, Myles would be my preferred trade target and if we draft a C let's make it Tillman in the 2nd round. How about you?

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.