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Free agent guards the Wizards should keep an eye on

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Here are several available free agent guards for Tommy Sheppard to consider if he needs to fill a roster spot.

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks
Frank Ntilikina drives against Justin Robinson
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Wizards roster is likely complete at this point barring any last minute moves from General Manager Tommy Sheppard. If the Wizards package several players to upgrade at a particular position, they could then have roster spots to fill. And there’s often a need for veteran help midway through the season.

On this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, Osman Baig and I discussed the Wizards rotation and a potential void at backup shooting guard. Each of the players below could potentially help remedy that situation.

Wesley Matthews, 34 years old, 2020-2021 stats: 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, .9 assists, 33.5% 3PT

He’s older and has been slowed by injuries over the years, but he’s a competent veteran who would seemingly be okay with a limited role at this point in his career. He hits threes at a decent rate and he’s strong enough to guard some bigger wings as well. The only downside is he’s probably more likely to try to latch on with a contender at this point in his career.

J.J. Redick, 37, 2020-2021 stats: 7.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 37.1% 3PT

Redick said he doesn’t intend to sign with a team right away in hopes that he can join a contender later in the season. I don’t think it’s pessimistic to say I don’t expect the Wizards to be a contender so that would rule out Redick. Plus, I’m not sure a 37-year-old who had trouble staying healthy last season makes a lot of sense here anyway.

Avery Bradley, 30, 2020-2021 stats: 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 32.7% 3PT

Bradley is probably at a similar point in his career to Wes Matthews despite being a few years younger. He’s not the same pesky perimeter defender he once was. However, he’s a career 36% three-point shooter and at least understands what high-level defense is supposed to look like. That kind of player might be helpful for Wes Unseld Jr. to have further down the bench.

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat
Avery Bradley defending Bradley Beal
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Frank Ntilikina, 23, 2020-2021 stats: 2.7 points, .9 rebounds, .6 assists, 47.9% 3PT

Ntilikina is coming off the worst season of his career. But he’s still really young and he plays respectable perimeter defense. That might count for something, right? That’s about the strongest case I can make for him, honestly. Maybe a change of scenery helps him finally reach the potential that made him a lottery pick in 2017.

Dennis Smith Jr., 23, 2020-2021 stats: 6.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 32.8% 3PT

I’ve got to be honest here, I really thought Smith was going to have a long, productive NBA career. I saw him carving out at least a Reggie Jackson-esque role. So that pre-existing bias might be the reason I’m willing to throw him on this list. That said, he’s actually the same age as Cassius Winston. And despite underachieving thus far, I have more faith in him turning into a valuable contributor than I do Winston.

Garrison Mathews, 24, 2020-2021 stats: 5.5 points, 1.4 rebounds, 38.4% 3PT

He’s not a world-beater but this might be a “the devil know you know is better than the devil you don’t situation.” He’s a known commodity by teammates and the organization and he can hit shots at a reasonable clip. I liked Mathews last year overall and I like him a lot more if he’s the 12th man this year instead of the 7th man.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Washington Wizards
Mathews shooting a three against the Cavaliers
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Given all of the names on this list, Mathews would be my choice if they needed another shooting guard. None of these are particularly inspiring, however, so if it comes to it, Sheppard might be better served by combing through the G League rosters.