If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear in this early off-season, it is that the Washington Wizards view the starting point guard position as a critical need. It makes sense for the Wizards to view the position as such, especially after off-loading Spencer Dinwiddie at the trade deadline without a suitable replacement in return.
With that said the Wizards have been the subject of a number of rumors, conjectures and everything in between regarding how they will address the position. Each article, each tweet, and each screenshot leads me back to the number of mistakes this team has made over the years in addressing the position of needs. The most important thing that I think needs to be said, is this team needs a sobering view of itself.
What do I mean by that? There isn’t a realistic path for a single available point guard who would turn the franchise into a contender overnight. With each option available to the team to address the point guard position, there are some suggestions I have for how this team should proceed.
Approaching the Draft
Perhaps the biggest mistake this team has done even more recently is overdraft players they really like. Perhaps their claims of really liking the likes of Rui Hachimura or Deni Avdija are indeed true, but both picks felt like the team’s attempt to address a position of need, and in hindsight turned out to be misses on impact players. That is where I believe this team needs to have an honest view of itself.
Even if this team falls in love with a point guard prospect, the focus should be less on forcing a point guard at that pick whether it’s at the 10th pick or lower (should they trade back). This team is in desperate need of talent. Why continue to short yourself of the opportunity of improving the rest of your roster, just to get a position of need? If we’re being honest, the best organizations do not settle with what fits the current team, when they are not in a position to contend, but instead looks further down the road.
The reality is the Wizards have a glut of players like Avdija, Hachimura and Kyle Kuzma who could all seemingly play the same position on this team. If the Wizards could find a player in the draft with a higher ceiling than all 3, why would you not consider that? Why wouldn’t you also consider trading one or more of those players away after drafting a player at that forward spot to then address a position of need like a point guard?
At the end of the day, this team is not one player away, so they should not draft as if they are.
Approaching the Trade Market
Right now there are a lot of rumors about the possibility of getting a player like Malcolm Brogdon. Even some have suggested including the 10th pick in the package. What would be the purpose of moving that pick for Brogdon? Is Brogdon a player that is going to make this team a contender? If this team isn’t a contending, would this team have the ability to improve while committing over 80 percent of its salary cap to Brogdon, Beal (assuming Beal is re-signed on a max deal this summer) and Porzingis over the next few seasons?
For sure Brogdon has talent, but his biggest issue has been his health. In the past 3 seasons, he has not played 60 games (of course we know two seasons were shortened due to the pandemic), which would make you wonder if his talent makes up for a lack of availability. Or is he even worth giving up a first round pick, when that pick could be used to supplement the future of this roster.
Even if Brogdon is not the target, this team needs to firmly define what it needs if it were to trade their 1st round pick. Any player that does not significantly elevate this team, would simply just treading water, good enough to not be bad, but bad enough to not be good.
Any player that this team is willing to commit to, needs to be met with serious consideration to how this team projects for the next year and even beyond.
Approaching Free Agency
We know there are a number of people in the fanbase who are clamoring for the idea for this team to bring John Wall back. This idea isn’t realistic nor does it put the team in a position to do much. The reality is Wall is a 31-year-old point guard who is in the final days of his physical prime as an NBA player. If Wall, on the off chance, instantly makes this team great next year, it’s a great move. But if there isn’t a path for that, then you will still be in the same position a year or two from now depending on how long the team would commit to Wall.
The reality is this, with limited money, the last thing this team needs to do is lock itself into another bad contract only to have to trade it away (which ironically is what they did to get rid of Wall a few seasons before). If there isn’t a reasonable option at point guard in free agency, financial flexibility is just as important. Even if getting a middle-of-the-road veteran on a reasonable deal is the best the team can do, then I think we, as a fan base, should applaud that. Maybe there will be better options next year, at least the team can set itself up to be prepared to be at the table if a good option is there.
The Wizards have to think beyond next year. We have to remember, Bradley Beal is likely going to be offered a five-year $250 million-ish contract. If this team focuses on trying to contend in year one, then it would be no different than what it has done in the past decades. This team needs to patiently build the rest of this roster out, by making careful decisions. The point guard position is important and needs to be addressed, but this roster still needs more talent. Hopefully, the Wizards won’t lose sight of that in the process of looking for their next starting point guard.