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The 2023-24 Wizards All-Doppelgänger team

2023 NBA Summer League - Oklahoma City Thunder v Washington Wizards
Wizards wing Bilal Coulibaly
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, my Statistical Doppelgänger Machine has huffed up carbon-free electrons and churned out players from previous seasons who the Machine estimates are “most similar.”

The Machine factors age and an array of pace-neutral statistical categories like minutes played, usage, preferred shot types, offensive and defensive rebounding, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, fouls, scoring, and an overall measure of the player’s production relative to era.

For me, this annual offseason ritual is an entertaining opportunity to look back at previous eras and reminisce or learn. For example, this year I stumbled into Joel Kramer, a 6-7, 203 pound PF/C for the Phoenix Suns in the late 1970s and 80s.

One player I didn’t run through the Machine was first round pick Bilal Coulibaly. The reason is simple: he hasn’t appeared in the NBA, and the Machine uses my NBA database. I have a smallish repository of about a thousand prospects I’ve run through Ye Olde Draft Analyzer (YODA), so I applied the Doppelgänger principles to that pool of seasons’s Coulibaly’s top five “most similar”...umm...we’ll call them YODAgängers:

  1. Scottie Barnes, 4th overall pick, 2021 NBA Draft
  2. Jonathan Isaac, 6th overall pick, 2017
  3. Moses Moody, 14th overall pick, 2021
  4. Bradley Beal, 3rd overall pick, 2011
  5. Brandon Ingram, 2nd overall pick, 2016

Not exactly “can’t miss” but it’s good group of players. The list continues with an array of mostly productive NBA players at every position on the floor. Other comps who score reasonably close include Derrick Favors, Zhaire Smith, Isaiah Jackson, and Kelly Oubre. Edging further away are names like Jaren Jackson Jr., Otto Porter, Jeremy Sochan, and Kawhi Leonard.

One thing I enjoy about this purely stats comp is producing unexpected names. Beal, for example, wouldn’t pop to mind as a Coulibaly comparison. But Beal played on the wing in college (like Coulibaly did last year in France), and their numbers are closer than I would have expected. Beal had the edge in pace-adjusted rebounds. Coulibaly shot better from the floor and was the more disruptive defender.

The Barnes comp is also interesting. Their numbers are strikingly similar except that Coulibaly shot better while Barnes produced more assists and turnovers.

UPDATE: In reading the comments, I realized I hadn’t run comps for Ryan Rollins, who also came over to the Wizards in the Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, Jordan Poole trade.

Truth is, we didn’t miss much. I liked Rollins in pre-draft analysis and thought he had a chance of being a rotation guard someday. His rookie year doesn’t tell us much one way or the other — he played just 62 total minutes. He was pretty good in the G League. Anyway, here are his comps:

  1. Wade Baldwin, 2018-19, Portland Trail Blazers — Last season in the NBA at age 22.
  2. Cedric Jackson, 2009-10, Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs — Last season in the NBA at age 23.
  3. Charles Thomas, 1991-92, Detroit Pistons — His only NBA season — 36 games and 156 total minutes.
  4. Andy Rautins, 2010-11, New York Knicks — His only NBA season — five games and 24 total minutes.
  5. Kent Bazemore, 2013-14, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers — Played 10 seasons and even cracked average a couple times with the Atlanta Hawks.
  6. Avery Bradley 2010-11, Boston Celtics — Chronically overrated because of flashy on-ball defense. The very definition of a self-check on offense, and his teams were usually better defensively when he sat.
  7. Sean Singletary, 2008-09, Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns — His only NBA season at age 23.
  8. Josh Selby, 2012-13, Memphis Grizzlies — Last season in the NBA at age 21.
  9. Nemanja Nedovic, 2013-14, Golden State Warriors — His only season — 24 games and 142 minutes at age 22. Great name, though.
  10. Von Wafer, 2007-08, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers — Another great name. Wafer got shots to be a backup guard with seven teams over six NBA seasons. He was finished at age 26.

Now that we have comps for every player with a better than zero chance of being in Washington’s rotation this season, here’s how an All-Doppelgänger Team would look.

Note: I’m using the top statistical comp for each player, assigned them to the position groupings I use (guards, wings, forwards, centers) and put together first and second teams primarily for illustration purposes.

A quick breakdown of how I think about positions:

  • Centers — the bigs who protect the paint, set screens, score inside, and rebound. Sometimes these guys have other skills like shooting or passing, but they’re too slow to play on the perimeter effectively. For the Wizards, that’s Daniel Gafford and Mike Muscala for sure. Anthony Gill and Xavier Cooks will likely also pick up minutes at C.
  • Forwards — Generally not big or strong enough to go up against the NBA widebodies (Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Jonas Valanciunas, Steven Adams, etc.) but also usually not quick enough to defend guards on a regular basis. They also sometimes lack the ball handling under pressure needed to be a guard. For the Wizards: Kyle Kuzma, Deni Avdija, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Baldwin Jr.
  • Wings — These are the midsize guys who traditionally would have been slotted at SG or SF. Nowadays, there’s no functional difference. To me, they’re a bit small to handle someone like Kuzma or Julius Randle, but they’re also not primary ball handlers. For the Wizards: Corey Kispert and Bilal Coulibaly.
  • Guards — The traditional PGs, smaller SGs with skills, and combo guards. They have guard skills (shooting, ball handling, playmaking), as well as athleticism to defend quicker players, and they’re too small to take on a regular diet of defending wings and forwards. For the Wizards: Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Delon Wright, Johnny Davis, Landry Shamet.

Feel free to use whatever position groupings or designations you want. There isn’t a way to combine this group in a way that will make a meaningful difference in the team’s record.

2023-24 Washington Wizards All-Doppelgänger Team


  • G — Tyus Jones ⇨ Monte Morris — I know folks want Jones to be better than Morris, and he might be. When I ran the numbers, Morris had five seasons in Jones’ top 10 “most similar.”
  • G — Jordan Poole ⇨ Eric Gordon — A 24-year old Gordon having a down year after three above average seasons in his first four . A decade later, he hasn’t cracked average again.
  • W — Corey Kispert ⇨ Jodie Meeks — One-dimensional shooter who topped out around average.
  • F — Kyle Kuzma ⇨ J.R. Smith — Decent player who got overrated throughout his career.
  • C — Daniel Gafford ⇨ Nic Claxton — Wizards should hope Gafford has the kind of production jump in his future that Claxton had last season.

Bench Mob

  • G — Delon Wright ⇨ Ron Harper — Valuable veteran reserve on title-winning Chicago Bulls teams led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
  • G — Johnny Davis ⇨ Daequan Cook — A youngster with some promise who ended up a career scrub.
  • W — Bilal Coulibaly ⇨ Scottie Barnes — Rookie of the Year who had a somewhat disappointing second season. Got All-Defense votes in each of his first two seasons.
  • F — Danilo Gallinari ⇨ Michael Finley — The older version of Finley with the Spurs, who was still a decent contributor though his production had slipped considerably.
  • F — Deni Avdija ⇨ Justise Winslow — Had a rough start to his career. Just when it looked like he was maybe figuring some things out, the injuries struck and kept on striking.
  • C — Mike Muscala ⇨ Jonas Jerebko — Meh backup center who had a few good moments.
  • F — Patrick Baldwin Jr. ⇨ Chris Clemons — A crazy comp because Clemons is a foot shorter than the 6-9 Baldwin. Still, their production was similar on a per possession basis.
  • F/C — Anthony Gill ⇨ Donald Royal — Royal was a below average career backup. At 31 (Gill’s age this season), he was in his final season in the NBA.
  • F/C — Xavier Cooks ⇨ Andrew DeClercq
  • G — Landry Shamet ⇨ Langston Galloway
  • G — Ryan Rollins ⇨ Wade Baldwin

For me, one feature of this exercise is that changing the name also peels back layers of fan-goggled hope. Sure, someone like Poole could improve significantly — that’s a pretty normal career trajectory. He could also have a path like Gordon, who peaked early and leveled off. Good enough to provide some value when surrounded by better players but not someone who grew into a star or anything close to one.

Kispert could be the second coming of Kyle Korver...or maybe he’ll end up being a one-dimensional shooting specialist whose subpar defense and lack of other contributions makes it difficult for coaches to keep him on the floor.

Maybe Avdija grows a jumper and turns into a jack-of-all-trades forward who contributes on offense and regularly defends the opposition’s best perimeter player. Or perhaps he ends up a scrappy bench guy who fans love because of his effort.

When I look at the roster and their comps, I see the wisdom of bookmakers setting the over/under at 24.5 wins. I see one promising prospect (Coulibaly), and then a bunch of guys who could be useful in certain roles with winning teams but probably not on Washington’s timetable.