Tue. Oct 23rd, 2018

Is DC Ready for a Full Rebuild?

Eli Yankelevich

In 2010, the Washington Wizards selected premier guard talent John Wall with the first overall pick. The Wizards believed that the Kentucky phenom would transform their franchise from irrelevant to elite. For the most part they were correct but due to injuries and locker room issues the Wizards have drastically under preformed in regards to the standards they were previously upheld to. In this past year the Wizards were expected to command the East, since they had a respectable season last year securing forty eight wins, but instead, they were only able to scrape into the post season with a mediocre forty four. A major concern surrounding the Wizards is how much better can they truly become with the core they have currently assembled. Bradley Beal, although healthy this year, has been prone to injuries since his rookie season and John Wall has been reported to have issues with the team altogether. Furthermore, is Otto Porter a capable third option on a championship level team? The money he is being payed surely thinks so. Perhaps, the Wizards should entertain these five following ideas to potentially better themselves:

  1. Trading Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris:
    • Packaging the two big men in a singular deal would be impossible, to say the least, but moving them for second round picks to contending teams separately could be the change needed to establish a potential culture. Morris is on a relatively friendly contract for today’s NBA while Gortat, a 34 year old center, is drastically overpaid in reference to his on court production. What provides appeal for teams to trade for Morris is his perimeter shooting and defensive versatility. At 28 years old, Morris is currently in his prime and could help teams like the Celtics, or Cavaliers who lack depth in their corresponding front courts. Moving Gortat could prove to be a tall task since he is nearing the end of his impressive career. If the Wizards can’t find a trade for him then perhaps buying him out may yield some financial flexibility.
  2. Drafting a Big Man:
    • The 2018 Draft is filled with potential starting caliber big men. Since the Wizards have one of the weakest center rotation with Gortat, Mahimi and Smith all consuming minutes as well as dollars, they should target players like Missouri’s Jontay Porter, UNLV’s Brandon McCoy or even unproven Mitchell Robinson. By bolstering their front court the Wizards can make sure that they have competent successors for when Gortat and Mahimi eventually leave or get sent to the waivers. Even if the Wizards decide to retool rather than rebuild it would make sense for them to acquire a solid guy who can play alongside Wall and Beal in order to reach new levels involving the fluidity of the offense.
  3. Resigning Kelly Oubre:
    • Outside of Wall, Beal and Porter there are very few bright spots on this lackluster roster. Kelly Oubre is one of these spots. The former Jayhawk has shown capabilities of being a quality defender and three point shooter. Oubre can become similar to a Trevor Ariza like player. With that being said if the Wizards have to drastically overpay Oubre than perhaps they should look to trade him in the final year of his rookie contract but if the price is right, anywhere between 6-9 million dollars, then it would make sense to lock him down for the foreseeable future.
  4. Exploring Young Unproven Free Agents:
    • Last year the Wizards signed veteran Jodie Meeks to provide scoring off the bench. Meeks did not pan out this past season as he was to inconsistent to secure significant minutes. A large concern the Wizards have always had is their depth at every position. What they should look to do is sign under the radar guys that have potential to play in an NBA system. Inexpensive options may include: Raul Neto from the Jazz, Jerami Grant from the Thunder, Khadeem Allen from the Celtics, Derrick Jones Jr. from the Heat, Davis Bertans from the Spurs, Yogi Ferrel from the Mavericks and potentially Dante Exum also from the Jazz. By rounding out their roster with G-League candidates and unproven talent the Wizards could set themselves up with a vast selection of potential role players for pennies on the dollar.
  5. Trading John Wall or Bradley Beal:
    • Adding a nice young role player may be nice and all but they are not the entire answer to the Wizard’s true underlying problem. The Wizards may never be able to contend with the core they currently have put together. If the rumors of John Wall and Bradley Beal not being able to coexist is true than why waste the time of both the players and the fans? A lot of teams will pay top dollar from John Wall as well as Bradley Beal. Teams like the Suns, Cavaliers, Knicks, Bucks and Clippers all need All-Star caliber guards in order to compete in their respective conferences. At this rate the Wizards will never be able to make a deep post season run and that is due to poor decisions in salary allocation (Otto Porter) and just an overall core of ineffective players who would rather play isolation heavy basketball instead of the heralded team ball of today. So, maybe the only way to solve the Wizards problems is to get rid of them altogether. With the amount of young talent and draft assets potentially available in a Wall or Beal trade it’s not foolish to believe that maybe a full on rebuild is in order to compete in this top dog league.
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