It’s no secret that Washington Wizards They have players whose positions overlap. How likely is the front office to make a deal to open up paths to play time, especially for younger players?
This is one of the great questions you asked the athleteLatest Wizards Mailbag.
Let’s move on to your questions.
(Author’s note: Questions have been lightly modified for clarity and grammar.)
They have a very serious predicament in the wing/front areas with Beal, Kuzma, Avdija, Hachimura, Kispert, Barton and Davis. Even if they were planning to use Beal as a de facto point guard in some formations, there were basically seven men for three positions. If they were to try to trade one or two of these people to open things up a bit, based on the team’s view of these players (and perhaps their perceived commercial value), who do you think it would be most likely? –Eric O.
In some ways, Eric, the predicament is more obvious than you say.
The legitimate nominees for playtime in the wings are – in alphabetical order – Denny Avdega, Will Barton, Bradley Beal, Johnny Davis, Corey Kispert, possibly Roy Hatchimura and someone you didn’t include, Dillon Wrightwho in addition to being the reserve point guard, may play the ball alongside the base guard Monte Morris Or when Bill acts as the primary handler. I can’t imagine Kyle Kuzma moving to all three, although he has the ability to play there.
The candidates for the power clock are Avdija, Hachimura and Kuzma. This is Gibson And the Anthony Gil There will be emergency gaps there. I think Wes Unseld Jr. will spread Christapps Porsingis And the Daniel Gaford In the center exclusively instead of playing Porziņģis and Gafford together.
I assure you, the Washington list has a lot of three / four types, especially when you include a potential client Isaiah Todd in the equation.
But while many fans tend to see positional interference as a defining negative, I see potential positives and negatives. Many see a “stalemate”. I consider it a competition, and I think Tommy Shepard’s perspective closely aligns with mine. Sheppard also appreciates seat depth.
I think competing for playing time is a good thing if the coach holds the players for their performance and distributes the minutes on merit. In my opinion, the most effective form of internal development happens when players fight each other for minutes and force each other to raise their games. The spoils (in this case, the spots on the spin) should go to the victors.
So yeah, I imagine Avdija, Davis, Kispert and maybe Hachimura competing against each other to play time on the wing as backup. The Wizards should want Avdija to earn minutes by continuing to play an above-average defense and improving his three-point shot. The team should want Kispert to raise his three-point shot and bolster his individual defense. Hashimura should build on his improvement in long-range shooting but also make strides with his defense and build on his improvement last season as a defensive leader. As for Davis, he has to train and play with an all-out effort and try to outdo the returning players.
And yes, Avdega and Hashimura will also have some time in the power forward behind Kuzma.
At some point, the team will experience COVID-19 related injuries and/or absences, after which the crisis will come by providing depth. In fact, the predicament is not entirely clear when we consider that three members of the traditional 15-man roster – the middle Vernon Carey Jr.Jill and Todd – Solidly out of rotation.
One more thing to remember: positional overlap does not necessarily mean that there is a similar overlap in the skills of individual players. Avdija, for example, is not the 3-point shooter or multi-level shooter Hachimura, but Hachimura is not the Avdija defender or lane. Davis may not be Kispert’s three-pointer, but Kispert isn’t the singles defender Davis hopes he is. It would be better for Wizards if both of these players were a more complete player. But Unseld may have to allocate minutes in some games based on the skills required at specific times.
So I don’t expect Sheppard to do a consolidation deal anytime soon. As the trading deadline approaches, I think he will be more willing to make a move or moves, based on how the team plays, and possibly based on long-term cap considerations, such as Kuzma’s contract status or Hashimura’s contract status.
Now, an important caveat (and a potential negative I mentioned earlier): the success of what I’m talking about will depend not only on players’ attitudes but largely on Unseld. As head coach, it for him Working to foster a spirit of competition, insisting on growth, and above all, holding players accountable for their performance, particularly their defensive efforts and attention to detail with defensive playing plans.
It’s a tough job, but one that Unseld must excel at because at least one or two players won’t be happy with the minutes.
Last season’s defensive slippage after a strong start was caused by many factors. Injuries and the team’s COVID-19 outbreak were beyond Unseld’s control – and were large enough that it was difficult to accurately assess Unseld. There was a lot of noise in the evaluation, and once again most of it was beyond his control.
But I would say next season will provide a much more vivid test of Unseld’s ability to hold players accountable by basing playing time on performance. If it doesn’t meet expectations, what I call “healthy competition” will really move into a real “stalemate,” she says.
How do you explain Russell Westbrook’s playing so well for the Wizards during the final two months of the 2020-21 season, then his instant death in the eyes of many last season? Do you think he still walks on tires, and if so, do you think the witches should try to re-sign him? – Ray W.
Russell Westbrook is by no means a perfect player, but in my time covering the league, I’ve never seen anyone play more night than he does. And he does it year after year.
So I don’t think he’s washed out, even as his 34th birthday approaches in November.
How players perform, even great players, largely depends on how they fit into their roles, the quality of their teammates, and how well they get along with their teammates. What did you get from last season? Los Angeles LakersHowever, the team’s roster and roles were not organized in ways that highlighted Westbrook’s talents and minimized his weaknesses. He’s a player who controls the ball, yet also has the Lakers LeBron Jameswho is arguably the smartest passer-by and thinker of this generation in the game – and James needs the ball in for him hands. The offense in which Westbrook stands on the ocean without the ball limits Westbrook’s ability to do what he does best and forces him to try to space the land, a weakness.
So yeah, I think Westbrook could be successful in the right situation. I don’t think the Lakers provide that position given their people.
For next season, especially his $47.1 million salary in 2022-23, it won’t make sense for the Wizards. Plus, I think Morris was a great pick on point guard, especially when you consider that the Morris and Barton takeover only required the Wizards to send Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and ish smith.
But could a Westbrook reunion pay off for Washington in 2023-24? Yes, but only if his salary is affordable and does not require a long-term commitment.
It can be said that the first four teams in the east are dollarsAnd the CelticsAnd the 76ers And the the heat. What teams see the magicians jump for a break in the 5-8 ranked group? The seed number 6 is very optimistic due to the wild birds And the bulls Did it go wrong? – Lance R.
With the roster as it is currently built and all the pieces shooting to all cylinders, including the coaching staff, what do you think is the realistic ceiling for this team? – William L.
I agree with you, Lance, that the top four teams in the East will likely be Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami, but not necessarily in that order. Barring injuries, I can’t imagine Toronto and Chicago, who finished fifth and sixth last season, going down, respectively. Atlanta And the Cleveland on paper.
I don’t expect the Wizards to outperform any of those teams.
But, and that’s an important point, recent seasons have seen at least one team far superior to what was expected of them. in 2020-21, Phoenix Suns He made an unexpected leap. Last season, the Cavaliers broke their way into the standings.
So it could surprise the Wizards this year if Bale and Porzes stay healthy, Bale has a rebounding season, younger players make single jumps and Unseld convinces significant defensive growth.
In the East who has improved a lot, a Many Washington will have to make it to the playoffs without having to compete in the Play-In tournament. However, the team headed by Bell and Porzenis has interesting possibilities – again, if they and their teammates are at their best. Additionally, I expect Maurice and Barton to be a good fit for an Unseld coached team. I would cap the Wizards with 48 wins.
Jonny Davis looked like he was too much and wasn’t really a contributor to his few summer league games. It appears that upon his selection, Tommy & Company expected him to be a regular contributor to the regular season. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the level of interest in Davis’ performance in the summer league leading up to this regular season, with the number 10 being Jan Vesely? – Matt S.
I don’t think the Wizards have much to worry about based on Davis’ performance in the summer league, although I do think he struggled already.
His summer league low points total and sub-stats wouldn’t worry me. Whether a player has a statistically successful summer league is not an indication of how his career will go or how he will play as a rookie. for example, Orlando Magic straight ahead Franz Wagner He looked not so good last summer, but came back to life late in the pre-season and continued to make NBA The first junior team.
With Davis, my concern is that he didn’t look fast or athletic enough to impact the match. His technique with the ball wasn’t very good. These are the abilities and skills he will need to be a strong professional.
However, I think so He was disabled by a back injury. I mean, he even struggled to run back in the transition after making the Wizards Baskets. I give him great credit for fighting through that injury and not using it as an excuse. He’s shown a lot of determination, and that determination should bode well for him in the coming year.
I will be impressed to see how well he has performed during pre-season. As one scout noted in my last article about Davis’ futureHe made a huge leap between freshman and sophomore seasons in Wisconsin. I think it would probably take a similar adjustment period in the pros. Witches have the depth to withstand the stretch of slope.
But you also asked me for a number. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my anxiety level at three.
(Top photo by Kyle Kuzma and Denny Avdega: Jerome Meron/USA Today)