Today at 12 p.m. EST, the Wizards will introduce Michael Winger, the new President of Monumental Basketball. His introductory press conference will be available on the Wizards’ digital channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) and the radio at 106.7 The Fan and Team 980. You can chat about it more here.
Winger has been with the Clippers since 2017. Prior to that, he spent seven years working under Sam Presti in Oklahoma City. And before that, he worked under Danny Ferry in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010. During those stints, he has never worked for a team that didn’t finish with a winning record. This was likely an appealing selling point for Ted Leonsis, who attributed Tommy Sheppard’s dismissal to his failure to make the playoffs.
His background and a high-level look at his vision for the future of the Wizards will likely be the major focus of today's press conference. These types of events are usually pretty superficial in terms of what we actually learn about their plans. However, I'm sure we will get a few interesting nuggets of information.
If you want more analysis of what their track records may indicate for this organization moving forward, we have you covered with plenty of that here at Bullets Forever. Osman Baig wrote a piece laying out what his hire might mean for the Wizards. Baig and I also discussed what that might mean on a recent episode of the Bleav in Wizards podcast.
In a move that will be introduced in a separate press conference, the Wizards also hired Travis Schlenk as their new Vice President of Player Personnel. Schlenk’s previous jobs include Video Coordinator with Miami (‘99-‘03), Warriors Assistant Coach (‘05-‘10), Director of Player Personnel (‘10-‘12), Assistant GM to Bob Myers in Golden State (‘12-‘17), and Head of Basketball Operations in Atlanta (‘17-‘22).
In today's Bleav in Wizards, I was joined by Kevin Chouinard, a beat writer from Hawks.com, the team's official site. Chouinard offered some really interesting insight into Schlenk’s team-building philosophy and his drafting track record in both Golden State and Atlanta. We also discussed some similarities in draft ideology that Schlenk shares with Bob Myers, his former Golden State colleague.
The Wizards have also hired Will Dawkins to be their new general manager. Dawkins’s resume includes the following jobs: Video Coordinator (‘09-‘10), Scouting Coordinator (‘10-‘12), Director of College Player Personnel (‘12-‘17), VP of Identification and Intelligence (‘17-‘20), and VP of Basketball Operations (‘20-present).
Dawkins and Winger overlapped in Oklahoma City. It's a pretty safe assumption that Winger’s decision to hire Dawkins indicates they have a healthy mutual respect and a good working relationship. It's also worth noting that all three new hires have a track record of helping teams rebuild by taking bigger swings, making moves to get their "guys", and through diligent draft evaluations.
For more on Dawkins' addition, check out the podcast we did with Rylan Stiles, a credentialed member of the Thunder's media and host of Locked on Thunder. Stiles shared a very interesting anecdote about how pretty much everyone the Thunder drafted was someone they had been evaluating for several years prior to draft night. That will represent a refreshing departure from how the previous regime seemingly approached the draft.
As mentioned above, all three have experience helping a team navigate through a rebuild. Do you think that increases the likelihood that's the decision they will make in Washington? Perhaps Winger will share some breadcrumbs related to that during today's press conference.