A Small Roster
The Washington Wizards finished the 2019-20 season ranked 30th out of the 30 teams in the NBA in rebounds per game at 41.7. They also had the worst defensive efficiency rating at 115.80.
In 2018-2019 the Washington Wizards had a slightly higher defensive efficiency rating of 113.9. They also had slightly better rebounding, averaging 42.7 rebounds per contest. This ranked 27th in the league on the season.
Part of this had to do with Thomas Bryant (Center) being healthy for the vast majority of the season. In 2018-19 Bryant played in 72 of 82 games, while during the 2019-20 season he played in only 38 of the teams 64 games.
This was due to a stress reaction in his foot. The injury should be worrying for fans of the team given the lack of depth at the center position. With the underperforming Ian Mahinmi (5.7 rebounds per game and 7.4 points per game) presumably set to leave in free agency during the offseason and power forward Davis Bertans having rising value entering free agency after a breakout season, the Washington Wizards should consider turning to the NBA Draft to add depth to this position.
Would it be Wise to Draft James Wiseman With the Number 1 Pick?
Wiseman stands at 7-foot-1, with a solid 9-foot-3 standing reach. This could allow Wiseman to have a solid rim-protecting presence, helping to deplete the amount of open looks opposing teams get around the rim.
During the three games Wiseman played this past season he averaged 19.7 points per game, along with three blocks and 10.7 rebounds per contest.
Wiseman left the Memphis program, due to an NCAA rule violation. According to reports his mother had accepted $11,500 from the Memphis Tigers program booster Penny Hardaway. Hardaway had offered the money in order to help offset moving expenses for Wiseman.
Wiseman withdrew from the Tigers’ program midway through the season, resulting in critics stating that he had given up on his team/teammates. These types of actions can result in a professional organization being hesitant to draft a player.
This leaves the door open for a quality player like Wiseman to slide in the draft. However, reports have stated that his stock is starting to re-enter the top draft pick race, alongside Lamelo Ball ( point guard) and Anthony Edwards ( shooting guard). The Golden State Warriors currently hold the highest odds of landing the no. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Should the Wizards Build or Rebuild?
The Golden State Warriors feel they are still in a win-now state with both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson preparing to return to the court next season, despite having a league-worst record of 15-50. This type of belief is understandable from an organization that has won three of the last five NBA Finals with those players on the court.
But what about an organization that has failed to make the playoffs over the last two seasons and has yet to make an Eastern Conference Finals appearance during the nine-year span that is the John Wall era of Washington Wizards basketball? Can acting in this manner be justified?
Could This be a Derrick Rose Situation? If so be Prepared and Draft a Guard in the Second Round
Acting this way can often sometimes only delay the inevitable of a rebuild.
For instance, after Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls went down with a torn ACL during the 2011-12 NBA Playoffs, amongst his return many NBA experts and fans felt Rose wouldn’t lose that first step that made him elite point guard. But the fact is he averaged 5.9 fewer points per game amongst his return during the 2013-14 season and only made it through 10 games before he went down with a torn meniscus this time.
At 6-foot-4, 209 pounds Wall isn’t much larger than Rose. Both players have relied on their world-class speed and athleticism to get to the basket throughout their NBA careers and both players suffered fairly similar lower-body injuries. As a result, one can assume that Wall may take a similar step back to that of which Rose did upon his return to action.
This is why the Washington Wizards should draft a guard in the second round. Even if Wall isn’t as effective upon his return to the court, he can still make plays when needed and serve as a role model for young guards who are getting acquainted with things.