With the uncertainty that surrounds most NBA draft picks, the only surefire way to improve in the NBA is through free agency.
Free agency gives an organization the ability to sign a proven player and have that player make an immediate impact on the team.
The Wizards are on the precipice of becoming a playoff team. They have a young nucleus which is a few pieces away from becoming a member of the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Here are a few free agents the Wizards should try to sign this offseason to help them become a contender in 2013-14.
With the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, the Wizards receive plenty of offensive production from the perimeter. What they are missing is a big man who can consistently score and defend—David West could solve that problem.
West has become one of the premiere power forwards in the NBA and would help diversify Washington’s scoring effort. His presence would keep opposing defenses honest and have them focus on more than just the Wizards perimeter scoring threats.
With the Pacers this season, West is averaging 17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He has helped the young Indiana team become contenders in the East—if he were to sign with the Wizards, his leadership would have a similar effect.
Any team who signs Bynum this offseason will be taking a big risk. With that risk, however, a team will be acquiring one of the few true centers in the NBA.
The risk is not just with his suspect knee, which is a major concern, but it is also with his attitude. He often sulked during his time with his Lakers and was never fully committed to playing with the 76ers this season.
All that being said, Bynum can be a dominant player and will be one of the most coveted players this offseason. Although it may seem like he has been around for a long time, he is only 25 years old and just entering the prime of his career.
During the 2011-12 season, his last full season of play, Bynum was beginning to hit his stride. He averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.
After his acrimonious departure from Los Angeles and his subsequent injury problems in Philadelphia, people have forgotten what kind of player Bynum is—a young center just entering his prime with the potential to become a dominant force in the NBA.
The risks are obvious, but if Washington ponies up and offers Bynum the kind of money he is expecting, the reward could be great.
At his best, Bynum is a dominant big man who could change the fortunes of the Wizards organization by simply signing on a dotted line.
If Bynum can return to the production he had in the 2011-12 season, he will immediately vault the Wizards into Eastern Conference contenders.
Jefferson is another big man who would lift the Wizards into contention in the East. He is currently averaging 17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
Jefferson is 28 years old and his production will be at its peak over the next few seasons.
The Wizards have gotten solid production out of Nené and Emeka Okafor this season, but it would be nothing compared to the type of contributions Jefferson would bring to the table.
He is an elite big man with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up his defender.
As with any marquee free agent, Washington management has to be willing to take some risks and spend money.
Every free agent discussed will be expecting a big pay day. As with any investment, there will be some risks, but the return on the investment could be a winning basketball franchise in Washington—something that has not happened consistently since the 1980s.
While the Wizards do not have an immediate need for a point guard, and though he may not be as big of a name as the previous players, Jarrett Jack would be a great addition for Washington.
John Wall is a scoring point guard much like Stephen Curry is for Golden State. Jack does not start for the Warriors, but he is a solid sixth man who is a true pass-first point guard. He has allowed Curry to become a score-first guard and he could allow Wall to do the same if he came to the Wizards.
This season, Jack is averaging 13.2 points, 5.5 assists and three rebounds per game. He is not the type of player that would put the Wizards over the top, but he is a glue guy who can come off the bench and be a major contributor.
Golden State has one of the most prolific scoring offenses in the NBA and Jack’s facilitation has a lot to do with it. If he can bring that type of production to Washington, Jack would allow Wall to become a more effective scorer and the Wizards would have a more efficient offense.