The Washington Wizards have been stuck in medicority for quite some time now. The John Wall and Bradley Beal duo struck excitement for a while, but afterwards it’s been downhill. Other experiments such as Russell Westbrook and Spencer Dinwiddie, although exciting on paper, didn’t last long. Beal is still around and signed a major extension, and the Wizards have quietly built a solid team around him.
The Washington Wizards Have Potential Next Season
Beal the Star
Beal has been one of the top guards in the league for quite some time now. With that being said, he’s often been mentioned in trade rumors or simply just rumors of him wanting out of the organization. It’s not hard to see why – Beal can shoot the lights out on any given night. Besides his pure talent, many thought Beal had a foot out of the door due to the lack of success with the Wizards.
He put said rumors to bed this offseason after signing a five-year, $251 million deal.
It started with the 2012 draft and we’re still going strong 10 years later.@RealDealBeal23 is committed to the DMV 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ne587fWorx
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 6, 2022
Beal wasn’t his normal self last season, dealing with injuries and also the confusing fit with Dinwiddie. The two seasons prior, however, saw Beal average more than 30 points per game. In addition to his scoring prowess, Beal can also create plays for his teammates and showed that with his assist numbers.
It’s unknown for the time being if Beal can be the best player on a championship-caliber team. He can, however, be the star of a team making the playoffs.
New Additions for the Washington Wizards
Knowing that Beal was staying, the organization was keen to surround him with more help. Washington got involved in the trade market, sending Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to the Denver Nuggets for Will Barton and Monte Morris. Caldwell-Pope was a solid contributor for the team last season, but overall Washington improved with this trade.
Barton averaged close to 15 points, five boards, four assists, and a steal per game last season. He also shot nearly 37 percent from three, a decent number overall. At times, Barton was often the second hand man to reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. He slots in very nicely alongside Beal.
Morris is also an enticing piece. He averaged close to 13 points, three boards, and four assists per game last season. Morris was widely regarded as one of the top back-up point guards in the league and someone certainly capable of handling a starting role. He may very well get that in Washington.
Another signing came in the form of Delon Wright. He’s a tough defensive guard.
Finally, Washington drafted University of Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis with the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. His last season at the collegiate level saw him average close to 20 points, eight rebounds, and two assists per game. Davis will be expected to contribute immediately, possibly as a sixth man.
It goes without saying that Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis is the definition of “boom potential.” He showed flashes of brilliance with the New York Knicks before major injuries derailed his development. Then, of course, Porzingis headed to the Dallas Mavericks. He also dealt with injuries and his role alongside Luka Doncic was never quite defined.
Porzingis played well for the Wizards after he was traded there at the trade deadline last season. In 17 games, all of which being starts, Porzingis averaged about 22 points and nine rebounds per game. He also shot 37 percent from deep. He can contribute in a big way for the Wizards if he can stay healthy. In addition, Porzingis can also focus on building his post game to truly compete with opposing centers.
Kyle Kuzma also quietly put together a great campaign in Washington after arriving in the Westbrook/Los Angeles Lakers trade. Last season he averaged about 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a block per game. Washington as a whole saw constant roster movement and trades. Kuzma was a steady presence in the starting five and almost always performed. This season he’ll be able to build chemistry with Beal and Porzingis and possibly improve further.
Plenty of Other Options
There’s a number of other contributors on the Wizards’ roster who should only improve as well.
Rui Hachimura was a top-10 draft pick just three years ago. Last season he averaged about 11 points and four rebounds per game. He should be an excellent back-up to Kuzma.
Another option is Corey Kispert, who the Wizards took 15th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. He averaged about eight points and three boards per game last season. Kispert was a deadly three-point shooter in college for Gonzaga, and he was drafted to be the same in the NBA. He shot 35 percent from deep last season, but could blossom should he improve that.
Deni Avdija is another Wizards lottery pick, selected ninth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. He’s had some growing pains in the pros, but has very unique two-way abilities. Avdija is still only 21-years-old and averaged about eight points and five boards per game last season.
Finally, Daniel Gafford is a very solid back-up center. Last season he averaged about nine points, six boards, and a block per game. He’s a force in the inside and very athletic. Washington can also use him alongside Porzingis.
The Playoffs Aren’t a Guarantee for the Washington Wizards
Yes, the Wizards have built a solid team this offseason. With that being said, the playoffs are never a sure thing.
For starters, the Eastern Conference is home to some of the NBA’s top teams in the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.
While some teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets have seen their own issues this offseason, other teams such as the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have undergone improvement. Then, of course, there’s other strong teams from last season such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, and more.
If everything goes right, there’s enough talent on the Wizards team to make the playoffs. With that being said, the Wizards should always be monitoring ways to further improve, whether it be through a trade or a signing.
A couple of solid (and somewhat affordable) free agents left on the market include Jeremy Lamb, Dennis Schroder, Austin Rivers, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, and more.