Center Vernon Carey Jr. has been waived by the Wizards. Carey Jr. was never able to carve out a role for himself in the Wizards’ rotation. He played in only 11 games this season, recording only 28 total minutes of playing time on the season.
Even with injuries to other big man, the team clearly didn’t feel comfortable putting him into games despite his high-level production in the G League. In 14 regular season games for the Capital City Go-Go, Carey Jr. averaged 21 points and 8 rebounds. Carey Jr. is also making 36.4% of his three-point attempts this year, which is a marked improvement over his first two seasons. He was even more productive in their 14 Showcase Cup games, averaging 22.5 points and 9.6 rebounds.
He was drafted out of Duke as more of a plodding, low post presence. Carey Jr. was able to slim down and improve his quickness and athleticism to some degree but clearly not enough for Wes Unseld Jr. to trust him in NBA games. The team clearly preferred to go with veterans like Taj Gibson and Anthony Gill as the backup bigs.
All you can ask of a young player is to continue to improve on their shortcomings and Carey Jr. certainly seemed to try his best to do that. However, his athletic limitations were likely too much for the Wizards to overlook. In today’s NBA, you either have to be switchable defensively or able to protect the rim. If you can’t do either, you better really be able to space the floor.
It will be interesting to see what they do with the open roster spot, if anything at all. A veteran backup big that Unseld Jr. might trust more might be an option. Someone like Hassan Whiteside might be a name that gets mentioned as an available option.
I would also not rule out the possibility of seeing Carey Jr. sign a deal to finish the season with the Capital City Go-Go.