Wizards' roster FAQ: Will they make another trade? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
With the NBA Draft and the first wave of free agency now behind us, the Wizards’ 2022-23 roster is starting to come into focus. That said, there are a few questions many fans seem to have about their offseason.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions surrounding the team as the offseason progresses forward.
Will they make another trade?
We can never say never, but there seems to be a good chance the roster they currently have is essentially the one we will see on opening night. The Wizards have so far decided to plug holes and address weaknesses with pragmatic, relatively low-cost moves. They likely view this offseason as a continuation of what they had already started at the trade deadline. That’s when they acquired Kristaps Porzingis, who has yet to play with Bradley Beal and only played six games with Kyle Kuzma last season.
Last summer, there was plenty of speculation about whether the Wizards would make another trade following the Russell Westbrook deal with the Lakers, even after the dust settled in free agency. They did not make a move and instead waited to see what they had after the season began. Given that was their approach last summer, and the fact team president Tommy Sheppard and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. have harped on continuity being important for defensive team chemistry, it seems like they’re probably done making substantial moves.
Is there a logjam at forward?
Also like last offseason, there are quite a few fans wondering if the Wizards will make a consolidation trade to sort out their depth at the forward position. The Wizards, though, seem to view their situation differently. While there is indeed some overlap between Kuzma, Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert, Anthony Gill and now Will Barton, those players also all have some positional versatility.
Granted, if the roster is healthy and whole, someone may be the odd-man-out. But the Wizards have also prioritized roster depth the last two summers, so they could view the quantity of forwards they have as a good thing. It could help them better overcome injuries and, ideally, would bring out the best of the players competing for minutes.
Who starts at point guard?
Morris seems like the safe bet here even though they also signed Delon Wright. Morris started 74 of the 75 games he played last year for the Nuggets, who were good. Wright, meanwhile, has long been a back-up and knows how to thrive in that role.
Wright, as some have pointed out, could complement Beal very well due to his size and defense. It would not be surprising to see them play together some because of that. Morris, though, could also play well next to Beal because of his shooting. He’s a 39.4% shooter from long range in his career. That should give Beal more space to operate off the dribble.
Where did they get better?
The Wizards’ roster appears to be in better shape than it was just a few weeks ago in part just because there is more balance with Morris at point guard. They also added depth with Wright, plus Barton and also first-round pick Johnny Davis. As for what areas of the game the Wizards improved, their 3-point shooting seems to be better. Morris is an above average 3-point shooter in terms of percentage, while Barton and Wright are both about league average. None of them are going to lead the league in threes, but they give the Wizards more shooters and that should allow Unseld Jr. to build more balanced lineups.
Defensively, it’s a bit harder to define. The Wizards probably made strides in terms of stopping the ball at the perimeter with Morris and Wright, and Davis could help that cause. If Avdija, Kuzma and others can provide resistance and versatility in the middle, and Porzingis and Daniel Gafford can protect the rim, it could all come together to be a fairly decent defense.
Any needs left to address?
The Wizards technically have holes at point guard and center, if they choose to carry three players at each of those positions. Raul Neto, Ish Smith and Tomas Satoransky all left to play elsewhere and the Wizards have only brought in two point guards. Perhaps Kris Dunn or Pierria Henry can play a factor coming out of Summer League.
Thomas Bryant is expected to sign with another team. That would leave the Wizards with just Porzingis and Gafford at center, though they do have Vernon Carey Jr. and Jaime Echenique, both of whom are playing for the Summer League team. Maybe the Wizards could add another low-cost signing to compete with them in training camp.