When looking through the majority of rosters in the NBA, the Washington Wizards undoubtedly have one of the brightest futures in the league. With John Wall locked up at point guard for the next six years, the Wizards have surrounded the former first overall pick with legitimate talent for the first time in years. Bradley Beal looks to have a very promising career in the nation’s capital, while Otto Porter Jr. seems to be a perfect fit along side Washington’s great backcourt. With that said, the Wizards still have one gaping hole left they have to fill in the near future.
Even though the league seems to be going progressively small with lineups, which caters to the Wizards since they’ve established their backcourt for the future and may have found another core piece in Porter, virtually every contending NBA team has a big man to build around (Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, etc.).
Washington has unexpectedly became one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which is largely credited to their frontcourt. Nene and Emeka Okafor have done a great job changing the defensive culture in D.C, and when healthy, they’re arguably one of the sole reasons the Wizards are considered a playoff team. Nevertheless, both Nene and Okafor don’t seem to be the long term solution in Washington. Nene hasn’t been able to stay healthy throughout his time with the Wizards, while Okafor’s contract will come off the books after this upcoming season (over $14 million dollars expiring). Needless to say, the aging bigs are a good fit along side Washington’s young core, but they aren’t expected to be productive or around much longer.
So, what’s the solution?
As of right now, the Wizards don’t have any starting caliber big men on the roster besides Okafor and Nene. Washington is home to plenty of bench warming forwards, but Kevin Seraphin seems to be the only one who might have somewhat of a promising future. Even though his defense is suspect and his rebounding leaves much to be desired, Seraphin has the ability to score the ball in an array of ways, which isn’t seen very often in today’s NBA. If he develops, Seraphin could turn into a halfway decent NBA player, but as of right now, he’s in no position to play a significant amount of minutes.
Thankfully, as Mike Prada of Bullets Forever pointed out, the Wizards have a good amount of cap space after next season which they could use to address some of their needs. Of course, most of the young bigs which could become a part of the core group will enter restricted free agency, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Wizards couldn’t/shouldn’t pursue them.
For example, Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins are both entering restricted free agency in 2014, but their futures with their respective teams aren’t set in stone. The Pistons recently acquired Josh Smith this offseason, leaving Monroe without a clear role for next season. Will the Pistons try to play Smith along side Monroe, even though that wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit? The Sacramento Kings also plan on making DeMarcus Cousins the face of their franchise, but his time with the Kings hasn’t been pleasant and the feelings may not be mutual. If that’s the case, Cousins could potentially try and force his way out of Sacramento and it’s pretty clear that he wouldn’t mind playing along side his Kentucky teammate, John Wall.
Or could the Wizards try and trade some of their expiring assets (Emeka Okafor or Trevor Ariza), for a big that could contribute long term? Houston Rockets’ center, Omer Asik, has reportedly expressed his concern about their recent Dwight Howard acquisition, and might not want to take a decreased role at this point in his career. Would the Wizards try and trade for a guy like Asik, even though they would essentially give up a large chunk of their financial flexibility for the next few seasons?
It all remains to be seen, but if the recent trend continues, the Washington Wizards will try and fill the void before it might become too late.
Is their lack of big men a legitimate concern? How should the Wizards try and address the issue? Let me know in the comment section.