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2021-22 Wizards player evaluations: Can Isaiah Todd crack the senior rotation next season?

Isaiah Todd spent most of his season with the Capital City Go-Go.

Capitol City Go-Go v Motor City Cruise
Isaiah Todd shooting for the Capital City Go-Go
Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Washington Wizards rookie forward Isaiah Todd was the definition of a mixed bag this season. It was clear from the onset that Todd was going to be a long-term project and nothing he did this season proved otherwise. Todd, a 20 year old, is 6’10 with long arms and plus athleticism.

Statistics

He participated in 12 games for the Wizards and made a minimal impact in roughly 6 minutes per game. He averaged 1.7 points and 1 rebound in those minutes. He shot 27% from the field and 25% from three-point range.

Todd played 36 games for the Capital City Go-Go and started 34 of them. In 31.4 minutes, he averaged 12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 1 block. On the surface, those numbers look alright. But then you look at the percentages. Todd shot 38.3 percent from the field, 28 percent from three and 58.7 percent from the free throw line.

Capital City GoGo v Lakeland Magic
Todd shooting a three against the Lakeland Magic
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

His counting stats are reasonably close to what they were the year before for the G League Ignite but the shooting percentages really dropped off. Todd shot 36 percent from three in 2020-2021 on 3 attempts per game. His attempts went up to 6.8 in 2021-2022 and the percentage dropped. In roughly 1 free throw attempt* per game each season, Todd’s free throw went from 82.4 percent down to 58.7 percent.

(Author’s note: just a reminder that for the first 46 minutes of a G League game, each player only shoots one free throw for a standard shooting foul and if they make it, it counts as 2 points {or 3 if behind the arc}. If they miss it counts as nothing. I could see this being potentially unsettling and leading to some variance, especially for a young player).

As someone who watches more G League than the average person, I think a lot of that is attributable to shot selection, having a seemingly unlimited green light, and lackluster point guard player for long stretches of the season. I think Todd can salvage those percentages with a full offseason of skill development, learning the system, continuity with Go-Go and Wizards teammates, and another season to adjust to the speed of the NBA game.

Strengths

He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s switchable, he can potentially play multiple positions, and he seems to play with an edge. Todd has also shown the potential to shoot the ball from the perimeter. At this stage in his development, I don’t think it’s worth getting hung up in the percentages so much and it’s worth focusing on the flashes still.

Plus, I think he’s willing to put in the work. If you stick around after Wizards’ games, it’s not unusual at all to see Todd stick around and get shots up afterwards. Having that Baltimore mindset and toughness is a plus, in my opinion.

Weaknesses

Right now, the floor-spacing is mostly theoretical. He’s a high-volume three-point shooter but not yet a high-volume three-point maker. For every game I’ve seen go 5-8 from three, I saw two more games where he went 1-7. I mentioned above that Todd gets up extra shots after games. I’ve also seen him miss a dozen consecutive open threes during one of those sessions.

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
Todd attempting to finish at the rim against the Knicks
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Being able to attack closeouts and finish around the rim would help Todd as well. He has the skill to do that but not the strength. Finishing around the rim looked like a challenge for him, despite being a good athlete, largely because the grown men on the other team were typically much stronger. That will come in time.

Future with the Wizards

Some games Todd looked really good. He would switch back and forth defensively from power forwards to point guards in the same possession. He would hit a three off movement. He would windmill dunk on a fastbreak. Other times, he looked lost, he struggled to finish around the rim, and he would miss a few early shots that would seem to sap his confidence.

I can assure you that none of that is surprising to the Wizards given what they saw from him prior to drafting him. As a fanbase, we crushed Tommy Sheppard for taking guys with no upside in the second round. He finally did that so for once, let’s just show a little patience and wait until year three to really make up our minds about Todd.

Kyle Kuzma will be due for an extension. Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija may not be in the long-term organizational plans. Having a high-ceiling prospect who reflects the modern NBA as an athletic shooter with size in the development pipeline is never a bad thing. You can mention people like Bones Hyland being on the board still all you want but 6’10 athletes with the potential to shoot are much harder to find than 6-2 shooting guards. You can literally find several of those in every draft.

I said after the draft that I thought Todd could end up being a better value pick that Kispert. Obviously, I would have preferred he looked better this season but I saw enough positive signs throughout the year to stick to that. Only time will tell.