For the most part, the Washington Wizards were able to retain all of their key free agents this off-season, meaning that their roster will look pretty similar this upcoming season to the one they had this past season.
2) DeJuan Blair
Although re-signing Trevor Ariza seemed to be high on the Washington Wizards’ priority list this summer, retaining Marcin Gortat was undoubtedly their number one goal. Gortat, who the Washington Wizards acquired in a deal with the Phoenix Suns right before the season started, had one of the best seasons of his career with the team, and although he had received interest from other teams, his return to the nation’s capital wasn’t surprising.
Unlike some teams that had their eyes on the top free agents such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the Washington Wizards wanted to keep their core group of players together, so re-signing Marcin Gortat was obviously important for them. Head Coach Randy Wittman along with other members of the Washington Wizards flew out to Poland to visit Marcin Gortat, and at that point, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’d be returning to the nation’s capital.
Marcin Gortat signed a 5-year/$60 million extension with the Washington Wizards, which is a deal comparable to that of Nikola Pekovic or Tyson Chandler. Gortat averaged 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, but he also missed just one game in the season. I didn’t expect him to get a 5-year deal, but solid NBA big men typically get raises, so it wasn’t all that surprising.
Now that he has a full season under his belt with the Washington Wizards, I expect Marcin Gortat to have an even better season this upcoming year. It took a while for Gortat to get familiar with Wittman’s system, how to play along side John Wall and Bradley Beal, as well as Nene. Gortat, in theory, should have a better season next year.
Last season, the Wizards didn’t have much depth at the center position, but that shouldn’t be the case next year. They acquired DeJuan Blair who’s undersized at the position because he’s just 6’7″, but he was still more effective at that spot last season with the Dallas Mavericks than he was at power forward. Like Trevor Booker, DeJuan Blair makes up for his lack of height with energy, rebounding, and it’s never really been an issue for him.
DeJuan Blair is capable of playing the 4, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t share the floor with Kris Humphries once the season begins.
The Washington Wizards also brought back Kevin Seraphin, even though it seemed like they had enough big men on the roster. Washington offered Seraphin the qualifying offer, which he later accepted, making him an unrestricted free agent next summer. Out of all the moves they made this summer, retaining Kevin Seraphin was the most puzzling. In my opinion, the Washington Wizards had enough big men on the roster, and could’ve used his roster spot to acquire another wing player. Instead, Seraphin will likely become the third string center and won’t get enough playing to develop throughout the season.
Washington should have a lot more depth at the center position this upcoming season than they had in the season prior. Good big men are hard to come by in the NBA, and the Wizards certainly have plenty on their roster.