5 Last-Minute Moves for the Washington Wizards
It's safe to say that the Washington Wizards will look completely different at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. They will be missing three out of five initial starters from last season, but have positioned themselves to be a sleeper pick for a playoff spot in the East.
That being said, Randy Witmann has a ton of work to do. Bringing in new pieces means rebuilding a proper rotation for maximum results. With a Rookie of the Year candidate and a few solid role players added, it shouldn't be a problem to create a nice quality lineup.
Washington still has some young promising talents that should see an increased role as the season moves forward. Players like Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton all fit well for the Wizards but must be placed properly.
Many of the moves needed to improve this team come from within the current roster. Moving guys in and out of starting spots as well as a position change could be the the minimal things needed to make this team playoff-bound.
While these tweaks will be key, there is also one thing Washington should acquire to resemble a more complete team. Let's check these moves out.
Bring Jordan Crawford off the Bench
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Jordan Crawford flip-flopped in and out of the starting rotation for Washington last season. Seeing as how every successful team needs that all-important functioning bench, this guy would be perfect in a sixth man role.
Not only is Crawford a capable scorer, but he is an aggressive player who can lead a second unit. While he is valuable, he also tends to slow down the flow of an offense with his score-first approach.
It's not that Crawford cannot pass, it's that he doesn't show it. Increasing on his three assists per game last season would greatly increase his value in Washington's rotation.
Seeing that he thrives off having the ball in his hands, he's a perfect option to lead a second unit. His ball dominance isn't necessarily a liability, but could be best used off the bench.
Plenty of shooting guards have made their names by taking this role. Manu Ginobili, Jason Terry and James Harden are all guys who have won the Sixth Man of the Year award as well as play for an NBA Finals team.
As you can tell, these guys are crucial. Let Crawford be this guy for Washington.
Start Bradley Beal
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Bradley Beal has one of the highest ceilings for any player drafted in the past few years. He may take a bit to develop, but he will form a highly dangerous back court with John Wall as time goes on.
If Beal's Summer League performance is a sign, then this kid is going to be special. Averaging 17.6 point and 4.6 rebounds a game, he proved to be a well-rounded guard who is worthy of a third overall pick.
As for his fit in Washington's lineup, he gives them a deep shooter who can consistently spread the floor. Beal has the athleticism to progress into an all-around scorer and gives Wall a target who can immediately contribute.
Defensively, Beal is coming along as he averaged both a block and a steal per game. He's got a high basketball IQ which should speed up his adjustment to the NBA level.
Beal will threaten for the Rookie of the Year award, but currently holds the potential to be one of the league's premiere shooting guards very soon.
Move Nene to a Permanent Power Forward Spot
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While Nene is listed as a center, he's much better suited playing the power forward position. Starting him along side Okafor gives Washington a talented front court who can excel at either end of the floor.
Nene's best contributions come offensively, as he's a career 56 percent shooter from the field. He can be a go-to guy inside and gives Washington the needed target they missed last season.
Pairing him with Okafor gives him less pressure on the defensive side. Nene is strong and quick, but is a grounded player when it comes to rebounding and blocking shots.
Washington has some other big men who can be important factors as well. Guys like Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker should see valuable playing time, but would be best served off the bench.
Putting Nene here could help solidify the perfect rotation to balance youth, experience and a proper flow to the game.
Start Both Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza
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Washington took a major cap hit by trading for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. That being said, they do possess the tools necessary to be major assets right away.
Okafor can step right in and be a huge difference-maker in the paint, especially on the defensive end. He's a strong bodied center who both rebounds and plays physical inside. Offensively he will not provide much, but he is an efficient scorer when the time comes.
Ariza will be another superb defender for Washington. He can defend the wing and rebounds well for a small forward. He struggles a bit at times offensively; however, look for John Wall to help him tighten his rather shaky shot selection.
Honestly, I question the motive of this trade for Washington. It does bring in two solid role players, but is it worth the overpriced contracts they bring with them?
If so, look for them to prove it defensively.
Acquire a True Backup Guard
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All good teams should have at least two true point guards on their roster. The New York Knicks have Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets have Deron Williams and C.J. Watson, but who do the Wizards have?
The correct answer is John Wall and no one.
While Wall is poised to have an All-Star season, he certainly needs a backup. A veteran would both help his learning curve and provide valuable play off the bench when called upon.
I'm not saying go out and try to get Jose Calderon from Toronto, or any big-named player for that instance. Instead, a quality guy who can come in and play 15-20 minutes a night would be suffice.
A player like Derek Fisher would probably only sign with an instant contender at this point; however, Washington does have some expendable depth they could trade to make something happen.
There is no excuse for having just one true point guard on a roster. Even if Wall is a potential star, you don't expect him to play 48 full minutes, do you?
Guys like Bradley Beal and A.J. Price can step in for small stints, but a legitimate point guard could make a world of difference in getting to playoff basketball.