Washington Wizards Mailbag Monday: Marcin Gortat’s Role, Bradley Beal’s Contract and More


With one week of basketball behind us, we’ve gotten a chance to see the Washington Wizards and how different they look in comparison to last season.

Even though we’re just three games in, there’s already been some questions about the team going forward.

So, why not take the questions and restart Mailbag Monday?

Today’s questions come from Twitter and Reddit. As always, if you’d like to be featured, feel free to let us know: @WizofAwes.

Do you think Gortat’s being misused in the offense, or do you think he’s starting to regress? He’s got lower NBA mileage, sure – but he seems to’ve been struggling so far this season, and I wonder how you can tell the difference between a misused big man or just being on the wrong side of 30. – via logitaunt

Marcin Gortat has played less minutes than Blake Griffin, so it’s not like he’s got a ton of mileage on him. Regardless, Gortat has a game that will age well. It’s not like he’s a super-athlete who relies on his jumping ability. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

During preseason, Gortat looked like an All-Star. He got a bunch of touches coming off pick-and-roll plays. During the first three games of the season, that wasn’t the case.

The Washington Wizards are having a tough time finding Gortat while he’s rolling to the basket. John Wall and Bradley Beal are doing most of the scoring, which has taken Gortat out of his rhythm.

I wouldn’t consider him misused, though. He’s still setting solid screens and guards are finding him, just not as often as he probably hopes. I don’t think he’s regressing, either.

He’s still running to the rim off makes and misses — something regressing big men don’t do. Just take a look at Nene, for example. He’s a lot slower than he was a few years ago. He relies on his size more than anything. The same cannot be said for Gortat.

Gortat will turn it around. It’s really just a matter of getting touches. With that said, he needs to do a better job of finishing when he does get the ball, especially against a solid rim protector. On Saturday night, Robin Lopez completely shut him down. Instead of looking to lay the ball in, Gortat has to finish strong with a dunk.

Is there a chance we use the Martells injury to go to 16 players – and if so, who do we suggest we pick up? – via jrlsage

Martell Webster is active, so there’s that. I wouldn’t expect him to play anytime soon, but he can. Nothing is confirmed, but it looks like he’s giving it a go. If he doesn’t play at least 70 games this season, only half of his salary will be guaranteed next season. I don’t think he’ll play 70 games, but he’s going to try.

If he does get surgery on his hip, he’ll miss the rest of the season. That might give Washington room to add another player through a provision, but we haven’t reached that point.

Alan Anderson might be available next month and Jared Dudley is working his way back into game-shape. Kelly Oubre is still looking for a chance to play too.

But, for the sake of speculation, I think the Wizards would add a player they’re familiar with. Someone like Jaron Johnson, who played well for the team during preseason, would be a solid addition.

Don’t expect them to add another player, though, unless they could find a trade. Webster wants to play; he’s wearing glasses that will help him stay balanced on the court. Surgery might be inevitable, but for now, he’s giving this a shot.

Channing Frye has three years left on his deal, and while that might seem like a great fit, the veteran forward hasn’t played well for the Orlando Magic after receiving a $32 million contract. He’s been out of Scott Skiles‘ rotation this season.

But, could they look to add another stretch four? They could if one becomes available. I’d look to add someone like Markieff Morris if the Phoenix Suns do eventually decide to part ways. His deal is very movable if things don’t work out. Washington could also move Nene’s expiring contract before the trade deadline for a stretch four.

Again, though, I wouldn’t expect them to make any moves. Dudley and Drew Gooden have both gotten most of the minutes at stretch four. Kris Humphries is doing a solid job of spacing the floor as well.

Hint: John, who also writes for Wiz of Awes, loves Bradley Beal and he doesn’t want to see the future All-Star donning another jersey.

You don’t have to worry about Beal leaving the Washington Wizards, John. Ernie Grunfeld and the rest of the brass know how important he is to the franchise. He’s not going anywhere. But…they do want to keep flexibility for the Kevin Durant pursuit. Signing him to a deal right now would limit their chances.

Next: Wizards Player Grades: Assessing Week 1

Beal is going to be a restricted free agent, meaning Washington could match any deal — and they will. It’s a risk worth taking, really, even though little risk is involved. If Beal can stay healthy, he will get the max from Washington.