Here is the second part of our mailbag. As I’m looking over the answers we may have four parts! I could cut people’s answers off, but consider these parts an early Thanksgiving gift!
The first part is below:
Question: Are the Wizards scheduled to be on national TV, not including League Pass, only once a month for the entire regular season? If they remain near the top of the standings, will this change? (crasherz)
Albert: For now, yes. But as the season goes on, not necessarily. Games in the second half of the season can be flexed in if the Wizards remain one of the top teams in the East.
What is the Wizards' weakest link if they are trying to win a playoff series (do you feel it’s backup guards to spare Beal and Dinwiddie)?
I really like the way the Wizards as a whole are playing but fear the team’s weak links (if they make the playoffs) are their backup guards as well as a frontcourt player to effectively guard the likes of Joel Embiid. While Raul Neto is a terrific option off the bench during the regular season, I think Neto and perhaps even Aaron Holiday can be effectively neutralized by a lot of playoff teams if they want to, and as the opponent would attempt to do so in a playoff series.
I realize your answer to this question could depend on the opponent but I’m generalizing and assuming opponents like the Bucks / Hawks / Heat / Nets / 76ers, etc. (Twelfth man)
Renzo Salao: Right now, I’m more worried about our shooting. We’re one of the worst in the league and we’ve seen first-hand in our latest losses how frigid we can get from downtown. But perhaps once Davis Bertans gets back and some of our vets start to get their stroke back, it could sort itself out.
I do understand the worry with the backup guards. But once the playoffs come around, we’ll be getting close to 40 minutes from our Beal and Dinwiddie with almost no time without at least one of them on the floor at a time. I’d acquire another veteran guard, one way or another but not too concerned about it.
John Morrow: The fact that it’s tough to answer is a great thing. I’m not as concerned about the backup guards, Unseld does a good job of staggering Beal and Dinwiddie and that’ll happen even more in the playoffs. All bench units with one of Holiday or Neto running the show will be minimized (unlike Brooks’ strategy in the same scenario!)
I don’t see a glaring weakness but the size against the big centers is one I agree with. Embiid, Bam Adebayo and even Nikola Vucevic are concerns. The other concern would be the shooting drying up like we’ve seen in the past few games; there are some streaky shooters on this team in Kuzma, KCP and even Dinwiddie. We saw it happen with the former Lakers last year.
Yanir Rubinstein: You named it Twelfth man. Depth in the backcourt is non-existent. Let’s take the PG position. The Knicks, for instance, have Kemba and DRose. Boston has Marcus Smart and Dennis Schroder. Chicago: Lonzo and Coby White. Milwaukee: Jrue Holiday and George Hill. The Wizards? Dinwiddie and Raul Neto/Aaron Holiday. This is not a viable PG rotation for a playoff level team. But it all comes down in the end to Ted being willing to pay extra dollars or not to go into the tax.
Modderno: I hope this team isn’t relying on Neto or Holiday that heavily in big playoff situations. I’ve mostly liked their play and they’re reasonably interchangeable so you can ride the hot hand. I would not be opposed to one more big-bodied center to eat up some fouls against someone like Joel Embiid though. Someone like Bryant seems like a realistic trade candidate so backfilling him with someone who could hold their own defensively wouldn’t be the worst idea. Especially considering how Gafford has been foul prone at times.
At this stage, does this team really need the GoGo? There hasn’t been a single call-up of consequence for this team since it was established. Teams like the Warriors and Rockets and Houston are great at finding talent on their Jr clubs and turning them into cheap rotation players. We’ve had a team for 3... checks notes... 3 seasons now. No player sent there on a 2 way has stuck. Nobody on the team that’s not on a 2 way has ever made it up to the big team, to my knowledge.
In short: is there any hope at all for Ayayi, Winston or (and this’ll hurt) Todd to become an impact player? (averagebro)
Modderno: They’ve actually had a high number of call-ups compared to the rest of the league. Just because they haven’t found a big name, diamond in the rough that’s come from there, doesn’t mean they have to just give up on it.
Gary Payton II came from the Go-Go and made an impact, Johnathan Williams did the same for a short stint, even Anzejs Pasceniks ate up valuable minutes for them. Garrison Mathews was on a two-way last season and I seem to remember him being fairly productive. The other big value the G League provides is the ability to help mature your young players. The better a G League roster is around players like Isaiah Todd, the better environment they have to learn in, and the more translatable experience these players will have.
For the most part, the Wizards' first-round picks have been productive for them. But the Go-Go has given them an opportunity to evaluate their second round picks without having to find minutes for them in NBA games. Just because those picks haven’t panned out (sorry Admiral Schofield and Cassius Winston), doesn’t mean that they didn’t get valuing from the G League. It also provides a venue for injured players to work their way back into game shape. I would not be surprised to see Thomas Bryant or even Rui Hachimura play a few minutes for the Go-Go this year as they make their comebacks.