The Wizards have four “point guards" who could all justifiably receive playing time but there aren’t enough minutes to go around for them to all play consistently. As the Wizards make a
play-in playoff push, Wes Unseld Jr. is going to have to figure out the ideal guard rotation that allows them to be most successful.
Monte Morris has played in 50 of the Wizards’ 58 games and started all of them. He plays 28 minutes per night and is averaging 10.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, .7 steals, and 1 turnover. He makes 48% of his field goals, 40% of his threes, and shoots 3.3 threes per game.
The Wizards’ offense is at its best when Morris is on the floor. Morris and pretty much any other two starters give the Wizards some of the best offensive ratings for three-man groups in the league.
Three-man lineups with at least 300 minutes sorted by Offensive Rating: pic.twitter.com/eFXvBVG5hi— Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn) February 16, 2023
Delon Wright has only been available for 29 games this season and has started just two of them. In 22 minutes per game, Wright is averaging 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2 steals, and 1 turnover. He’s shooting 44% from the field and 30.8% from three, on 2.2 attempts per game. His primary offensive value comes as a ball-mover, having led the team in assists in seven games.
Wright’s greatest contribution comes on the defensive end where he uses quick hands and long arms to disrupt other teams. Wright has recorded multiple steals in 19 games this season and at least one steal in 25 games. He has at least 3 steals in 11 games coming off the bench this season, which leads the NBA.
Kendrick Nunn, who the team got back in the Rui Hachimura trade, has now played 11 games for the Wizards. He’s been playing 18.4 minutes per game and is averaging 8.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2,7 assists, .7 steals, and 1.3 turnovers. As a Wizard, he’s made 48.7% of his field goals, including 40% of his 3.2 three-point attempts per game.
Nunn provides some explosiveness and bench scoring to a team that needed to replace Hachimura’s offensive contributions. He’s a former 15-point-per-game scorer and has been a respectable floor-spacer for his career.
Jordan Goodwin is currently still on a two-way contract but has used up his NBA-game eligibility. The Wizards are reportedly looking to buy out Will Barton and clear a full roster spot for Goodwin but as of now, nothing official has happened.
For the season, Goodwin has played in 40 games, four of which he started. In 18 minutes per game, he is averaging 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1 steal, and .9 turnovers. He’s made 45.3% of his field goals, including 38.8% of his 1.7 three-point attempts.
If you look at all of their advanced stats, you could probably use them to craft an argument for any of the four. For instance, their Player Efficiency Ratings (PER) are all pretty clustered together. Wright’s is 15.4, Nunn’s 15.3, Morris’ 14.8, and Goodwin’s 14.6.
Looking at Win Shares per 48 minutes, Wright has the highest at .136, Morris next at .127, then Goodwin at .106, and Nunn last with .098. Yes, Wright and Morris are higher than Goodwin and Nunn but they have also had more consistent roles so that could account for some of the delta there.
Morris appears to be at his best next to the Wizards’ top-offensive threats who can also create for themselves and others. Accordingly, I think it would be hard to envision the Wizards starting anyone else. However, because he’s a limited athlete and the smallest of the bunch, I think he struggles at times to create good looks for the Wizards’ other more limited players.
I would almost treat Wright as an off-ball wing, similar to how Golden State deployed Gary Payton II last season. He can just focus on wreaking havoc defensively and keeping the ball moving without being burdened with manufacturing points. That would allow him to play next to either Morris or Nunn and take on the tougher defensive assignment.
Despite being a good athlete, Nunn hasn’t really stood out much as a defender and I don’t think he’s much of a pure point guard. Simply put, Nunn is out there to get buckets. With that in mind, I think his ideal role is coming off the bench as a microwave scorer to complement some of the Wizards’ more offensively challenged bench units.
So where does that leave Jordan Goodwin? Unfortunately, that probably makes him a bit of an odd man out in terms of a consistent role. As much as I personally enjoy Goodwin, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Goodwin is the youngest and least accomplished of the group so far and in terms of managing egos, that probably makes things the easiest on Unseld Jr.
Goodwin is also probably the best-suited of the four to fill in wherever the team needs him to. I see his greatest value-added as a plug-and-play option who can step into any of these roles and do them justice. If Morris is out, Goodwin has shown the ability to create for others. If Wright is out, he can use his athleticism to pester opposing guards. If Nunn is out, Goodwin can use his quick first step and improved jump-shot to provide a scoring spark.
Because of his contract status, I’m sure Goodwin will stay hungry and eager to show what he can do. That might also help him to stay ready and more locked than the others if they found themselves with less consistent minutes. Every team needs a few jack-of-all-trades guys who can step up when others miss time.
What I've outlined here seems to track with how the Wizards currently plan to utilize them but it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next several weeks. I'm honestly not used to agreeing with their decision-making so this is a weird sensation for me.
In a perfect world, one of them would stand out above the rest as the sure-fire, go-to option. However, as far as point guard committees go, as we've seen in past seasons, they could do worse.
Let us know in the comments what you see as the ideal role for each of these guards!