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2021-22 Wizards player evaluations: Is it time to move on from Cassius Winston?

Winston spent most of his season with the Capital City Go-Go and sparingly with the NBA team.

2021-22 G League Playoffs - Capital City Go-Go v Raptors 905
Cassius Winston against the Raptors 905 in the playoffs
Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards selected Cassius Winston with the 53rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Winston was a really good college point guard. Like really good. He’s been a totally forgettable NBA player thus far.

Winston missed a good deal of time early in the season due to a leg injury and it seemed to take him a while to get back to the form he displayed the previous season. He was playing considerably better basketball by the end of the season and he looked really good in the Go-Go’s final game.

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

Statistics

In 29 games for the Wizards, Winston recorded 137 total minutes, 55 total points, 19 total assists, and made 10 of 23 three-point attempts.

Winston played 15 games for the Erie BayHawks in the G League Bubble in 2020 because the Go-Go did not field a team. This year, he played 26 games for the Go-Go and started none of them. In 41 total G League games, he’s averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.2 turnovers in 22.3 minutes per game. He’s made 45.9% of his shots from the field and 37.9% from three on 4.2 attempts.

In the Go-Go’s second-round playoff loss, Winston had 28 points, 2, rebounds, and 2 assists. He made 11-of-14 shots, including 4-of-4 from three.

Strengths

The percentages look solid and the per-36-minute stats mostly look good (26 points, 9.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 turnovers). On paper, he had a productive season off the bench for the Go-Go. He essentially acted as a microwave scorer off the bench for the Go-Go.

Weaknesses

When you watch him play for the Go-Go, it just doesn’t feel like you’re watching someone who could sub in and play meaningful minutes for the Wizards. He’s not especially quick, he’s not big for his position, and he isn’t a dynamic athlete. I don’t see him ever being a noteworthy defender in the NBA.

Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards
Bruce Brown driving on Cassius Winston during a February game
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Future with the Wizards

Winston has been on a two-way contract with the Wizards since being drafted. Two-way rules are still a bit hazy to me as they’re still relatively new but I believe players are limited to two years on a two-way contract with the same team.

That means, if the team thinks Winston’s play warrants returning, they would have to use a real roster spot on him. Personally, I don’t think he showed enough for them to make that kind of commitment. Fans were pretty down on the play of Raul Neto this season and I don’t see a world where Winston would be a noticeable upgrade.

Ultimately, the team may choose to retain him for off-the-court chemistry reasons. By all accounts, he’s a good guy and a good teammate, so the Wizards may not be willing to cut bait on another one of their draft picks so soon. And finally, he supposedly has a strong relationship with Bradley Beal.