With only 16 games to go until the off-season commences for the Washington Wizards and with the playoffs out of reach, it’s only fitting to start looking ahead to what the roster should look like moving forward. There have been some real bright spots (Mart3ll) and some real duds (Sorry Jan) on the roster this season, so Trevor Jackson (@tjackson85) and Cory Grubbs (@CoryGrubbs10) are going to break down the Wizards’ current roster ,position by position, to see who needs to stay in the red, white, and blue and who needs to be shown the door.
Let’s dig right in!
The Point Guard Position – John Wall and AJ Price
Cory: Well, this is the easiest position to break down. John Wall – keep him or I’ll quit my job, sell my house, and protest outside the Phone Booth with my dog for the rest of my life. It’s that simple. This man is vital to the Wizards success, and if it takes a max deal to keep him in DC then so be it. Next is AJ Price. Sorry dude but you have to go. Your good games are too far and few between, and an upgrade at the backup PG position should be a priority this off-season.
Trevor: This position is pretty well locked down in terms of the starter. John Wall is the franchise guy right now, though still on his rookie contract. Whether or not he ends up getting a max deal from Washington by time his rookie deal ends next season remains to be seen. Wall has not made that leap to the next level just yet, but his recent play — 20.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.7 assists while shooting 52.4% in the last 10 games — show just what type of player he can be. Potential alone doesn’t warrant the max, but the Wizards won’t let him go anywhere. So Wall is a lock at the PG spot moving forward. I agree about AJ Price. He has been serviceable, but too inconsistent for me. The Wiz should be trying to find a more capable, and more importantly consistent backup point guard for next year and future seasons.
The Shooting Guard Position – Bradley Beal, Garrett Temple, Leandro Barbosa
Cory: Also an easy position to break down. Bradley Beal has real potential to become a star in this league and it better be in DC running alongside Wall. Beal was the 3rd overall pick in this past years draft and hopefully he’ll be a lifelong Wizard. Garrett Temple has also shown what he can do since AJ Price went down to injury. He’s shown he can be a valuable guard off the bench that can defend, knock down open shots, and play some PG if needed. If the price is right, Temple should be on this squad next year. As for Barbosa. Adios amigo. Thanks for helping the Celtics steal Steezy from us.
Trevor: Bradley Beal is the now and the future of this team. The guy has been nothing short of spectacular as a rookie, especially in the second half of the season. He has all the tools to become a consistent 20 point per game scorer alongside John Wall. He is the perfect complement to Wall’s uptempo slashing style. The Wizards back court minutes should be locked down for the foreseeable future. I like what Garrett Temple has brought to the team as well, although I like bench role Garrett Temple way more than I do Randy Wittman style starter Garrett Temple. He has proven to be a solid player on both ends of the floor. If he can become a consistent outside threat, he could be a good piece for the team moving forward, and could be had on the cheap. Leandro Barbosa’s expiring torn ACL will be moving on. I could easily see a scenario where the Wizards don’t bring back Temple, since that would make sense and Because Ernie. That would leave them having to address the position in either free agency or the draft.
The Small Forward Position – Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, and Cartier Martin
Cory: Man how awesome has Martell been this season for the Wiz? I can’t give this guy enough praise. You can tell he really works hard on his game, and his hard work is starting to show through. I think we need to do whatever possible to bring this guy back. Now comes the hard part, Trevor Ariza. Ariza has done some nice things off the bench for Washington and could easily see him back with this team. What we do in the draft should dictate what we do with Ariza though. If we draft a SF then I say we explore avenues to move him. If we don’t draft a three, then keep him. Even if we cant find any takers for him in the off-season, his $8 million expiring contract should have some nice value come deadline time. Cartier Martin should also stick with Wizards if we can sign him to the minimum. Why not keep a solid 3-point shooter on the cheap as your 12th-13th man? Makes perfect sense to me.
Trevor: The SF position seems to be the wild card here. Who knows what will happen. Is Martell Webster the future for the Wizards at the 3? He will still only be 26 when he signs his next deal this summer and I suspect he will be looking for more of the long term version than a 1 or 2 year deal. If the Wizards give him that, will they then draft a SF as many Wiz fans hope? I think the Wizards should do whatever they can to bring Webster back, outside of breaking the bank. The big issue is that other teams are going to be offering Martell a decent sized contract, and due to the salary cap issues the Wizards may not be able to match other deals. If he isn’t back in Washington, I at least hope a capable replacement will be taken in the draft. I love what Trevor Ariza has done on the defensive end of the floor. He has been solid on that end all year. His hot/cold offense I could do without, but when he is on he looks like the same guy who earned his current contract. When he is off, it is frustrating to watch. I believe teams are going to look to trade for Ariza this summer, as guys with expiring contracts who can still give you production are valued. Like Cory said, if not this summer, he could have value at next years trade deadline. If the Wizards can move him to get a piece that fits into the teams long term plans better, then by all means they should. Ariza is not part of the future. Cartier Martin I could go either way with. He doesn’t get enough PT to make much of an impact. If they bring him back, it is nice to have a decent shooter. If not, I hope he latches on somewhere and finds a spot.
The Power Forward Position – Nene, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, and Chris Singleton
Cory: This is where things start to get dicey. Does the front office finally man up and move on from their draft mistakes, or do they feed us a bunch of crap of how they are still developing and are a part of our future? Nene is an obvious keeper. Trevor Booker is signed through next season and he should get another shot to show if he can stay healthy for an entire season and produce. As for Vesely and Singleton. Its time for you all to put your houses on the market. We’ve seen little to no development, and with three picks in this years draft, its time to start replacing these draft duds with some hopefully promising rookies.
Trevor: Nene is part of the future more or less because we are stuck with him. And I don’t mean that in a good way or a bad way, just pointing out the facts. He is set to make $13 million for the next 3 season after this one. No team is going to take a gamble with his injury history and take him off our hands. So we just need to cross our fingers and hope he stays healthy and can give us at least 30 minutes a night for the next few years. If he can, than we are more than set at the starting PF position. I still hold out some hope that Trevor Booker can develop into that high energy, hustle guy off the bench that everyone needs who can give you a solid 15-20 minutes a night and attacks the boards. He has been showing to be that guy lately. If he can continue to stay healthy and develop, I believe he has a spot on this team moving forward. I believe Singleton still has the tools to become a role player, I just don’t know if it is going to happen in Washington. And Vesely, I don’t even know what to say……thanks Ernie. Too bad we aren’t talking about Kenneth Faried in this PF section and Kawhi Leonard in the SF section as our future.
The Center Position – Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin, and Jason Collins
Cory: Okafor has really provided a presence in the post in aiding the Wiz to a top-10 defensive unit. He’s also a stout rebounder, and can give you 12-14 points a night. Keep this man for sure. And if we head to the playoffs next year, I’m sure you could re-sign him to a cap friendly deal going forward. Seraphin deserves another season as well. He’s shown some real signs as legit big man in this league and I think an off-season of working with Nene and workout nut Okafor could really improve his game. Both of those centers should be back in the fold next year. As for Jason Collins, again thanks for helping steal the Steez. Your one game of one block and zero fouls was nice, but I don’t think the Wiz need your services.
Trevor: Wow, first off I just need to mention that I COMPLETELY forgot that Jason Collins was on this team. That should tell you everything you need to know about his value. Emeka Okafor has been a great asset for this team. He has been solid all year on both ends, providing inside offense when needed, been playing strong defense, and rebounding the ball. I honestly think he has been the most consistent Wizard this year. Okafor will have an expiring deal next year like Ariza, and I am sure that their will be plenty of playoff teams that are interested in trading for him. The problem is the Wizards don’t have anyone to play center if he is gone. That is one of the reasons I wouldn’t be shocked if they draft a big man this June. As for Kevin Seraphin, one game it looks like he gets it and then the next it looks like he doesn’t know what is going on out there. He is still young, raw, and has a lot of potential, so there is no need to give up on him just yet. But if another team’s GM calls about him, I certainly wouldn’t be hanging up the phone right away.
The Wizards are going to have a busy off-season for sure. Sure, every blogger states that the upcoming off-season is the most important one for their respective teams. But with the Wizards on the cusp of the playoffs and a very stout core intact, this one really is the most important summer Washington has had in a while. The NBA does things a little differently than the NFL, so don’t get caught up in all this NFL free agency. In the NBA, the draft comes before free agency, so where and who we draft will help dictate what the Wiz do in free agency. Of the 15 players under contract now, only 9 are signed through at least next season, so a decent amount of roster change could be in Washington’s near future. The next date that should be on every Wizards’ fan calendar is May 21st, the NBA Draft Lottery.
The future is starting to look bright, but Washington’s front office must make the right moves through the draft and free agency if they want to complete the franchise turnaround they have been trying to accomplish.