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Center options the Wizards could explore after Thomas Bryant’s injury

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With Thomas Bryant missing the rest of the season, the Wizards might need to add some front court depth

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Jordan Bell dunking against the Wizards
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Thomas Bryant will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and the Wizards will miss his energy and his production. Bryant was averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 43% from the three-point line.

Robin Lopez and Moritz Wagner seem the most likely inhouse options to replace Bryant in the lineup. Expect minutes for Anzejs Pasecniks as well, at least in the short-term. On the latest Bleav in Wizards podcast, Larry Hughes and I discussed the realistic options the team should consider if it decides to add some depth.

Jordan Bell, 6-8, free agent

The Wizards added Bell to the Capital City Go-Go last season before the G League shut down for the year. They signed him again late in the preseason and he’s likely to end up on the Go-Go again this season.

The Wizards clearly have a relationship with Bell and he does have meaningful NBA experience. From 2017-2019, Bell played 125 games for the Golden State Warriors. He averaged 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block.

He’s mostly bounced around after that due to a lack of size and limited floor-spacing ability. But Bell could replace some of the energy the team loses without Bryant.

Yoeli Childs, 6-8, free agent

Childs joined the Wizards for training camp and part of the preseason before being cut. As a rookie, he has no other NBA experience but at least the Wizards coaching staff are familiar with him and he knows the personnel and the system.

2020-21 Washington Wizards Content Day
Yoeli Childs team photo
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Childs finished as BYU’s all-time leading rebounder and sixth on their scoring list. The 22-year old senior averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block this past season. Like Bell, he’s a bit undersized but he made close to 50% of his three-point attempts during his senior year at BYU (on 2.4 attempts per game).

Ian Mahinmi, 6-11, free agent

He was a well-liked (by teammates) veteran who would know the personnel and schemes. Sadly, he is also coming off what was probably his best season as a Wizard. Maybe he would give the team a friends-and-family discount on his deal this time.

Dewayne Dedmon, 7-0, free agent

Dedmon is a productive, 31-year-old veteran who brings size and some semblance of perimeter shooting. For his career, he’s averaged 6.4 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block. He’s only a career 33% three-point shooter but the shot looks better than the production. With space in this offense, I would expect him to be in the mid-to-high 30s.

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks
Dewayne Dedmon boxing out
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Joakim Noah, 6-11, free agent

Our front office apparently loves to sign big, slow, aging centers so this seems like a perfect match! The 35-year-old veteran is a former Defensive Player of the Year but has been limited the last few seasons by a series of knee injuries. In five games for the Clippers last season, he averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds. This signing would make almost no sense to me but that’s exactly why I included it.

Hassan Whiteside, 7-0, Sacramento Kings

I got some serious grief on here for suggesting the Wizards add him as a free agent but he makes even more sense now. The Kings are trying to force the “Marvin Bagley is a center” experiment and that’s left Whiteside out of their rotation. He’s still averaging 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in only 13 minutes. He’s a big, athletic body who could be had pretty cheap.

JaVale McGee, 7-0, Cleveland Cavaliers

A McGee-Wizards reunion is something I never thought I’d suggest but this actually makes more than a modicum of sense. He’s averaging 8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 17 minutes and he’s clearly not a part of Cleveland’s long-term plans. I’m not sure what he would cost but it might be worth it to not hear Lopez announced as a part of the starting lineup each game.

Utah Jazz v Washington Wizards
JaVale McGee protecting the rim
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Some Dallas Mavericks center

Kristaps Porzingis will be back soon and that likely means one of Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, or Willie Cauley-Stein will fall out of the rotation. Or the Wizards could make a move for Boban Marjanovic, how fun would that be? I would pay to see he and Lopez race each other the length of the court, though I’m not sure we have enough time for that.

Honorable mention free agents

Noah Vonleh, John Henson, Skal Labissiere, Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol

Low-end potential trade targets

Thon Maker (Cleveland), Gorgui Dieng (Memphis), Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans), Mike Muscala (Oklahoma City), Frank Kaminsky (Phoenix), Alex Len (Toronto)