Washington Wizards: Comparing the 2015 and 2016 Summers

Feb 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley (1) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker (33) looks on during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley (1) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker (33) looks on during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards had two different philosophies during the last two summers. Here’s how the off-seasons compared to each other.

After making playoff appearances in 2014 and 2015, Washington looked to carry their success into last summer.

By signing serviceable, versatile veterans last summer, the Wizards thought they would built a team that resembled the one that swept the Toronto Raptors in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. It backfired.

Riddled with injuries, the Wizards’ new additions weren’t able to contribute immediately.

Jared Dudley was coming off back surgery and Alan Anderson dealt with ankle issues in training camp, which carried over to the season. Washington didn’t have a roster that couldn’t match up with other teams.

This off-season, Washington made an effort to sign players who could avoid injuries – specifically, young players that have endured the long NBA season before.

But, how did the two summers compare?

2015 Off-season Review

First Move: Wizards acquired Jared Dudley for a protected second round pick

Last summer, Washington decided to switch up their style of play by abandoning their traditional two-big system. They focused on adding a stretch four, and acquired Jared Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Dudley took on the role Paul Pierce played in the playoffs.

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Nowadays, Dudley, who played small forward for most of his career, is a full-time four.

In the first half of the season, Dudley played great with the starting lineup and even led the league in 3-point shooting during stretches.

Even with the good start, Dudley had problems with inconsistent play and lost most of his minutes once Markieff Morris arrived to Washington.

Because of his outside shooting and overall presence on the team, Dudley ended up being the best acquisition for the Washington Wizards in 2015.

Second Move: Wizards signed Gary Neal to a one-year deal

The second move the Wizards made was signing veteran sharpshooter Gary Neal to help bolster the bench scoring.

The DMV native had some success with the team, having 20-plus scoring games against the Pacers, Heat and the Grizzlies, but injuries continued to slow him and he was eventually waived to make room for Marcus Thornton.

Neal, a shoot first, second and third guard, had kind of a falling out with the team.

The players in the locker room weren’t huge fans of his selfish play. He called out some of his teammates on Facebook this summer, and he’s still a free agent.

It’s safe to say he probably won’t be missed.

Third Move: Wizards signed Alan Anderson to a one-year deal

Alan Anderson was the final signing of the off-season.

After a very successful stint with the Brooklyn Nets, the Washington Wizards were hoping Anderson would replace some of the scoring and leadership Pierce brought to D.C.

He wasn’t able to become the sixth man Washington hoped he would be, and suited up on the court for just 13 games.

Washington passed on re-signing Anderson and the veteran is now with the Los Angeles Clippers.

2016 Off-season Review

With only five players under contract heading into the summer and a new head coach in Scott Brooks, the Washington Wizards looked to completely revamp the look of their team this summer.

Washington missed out on all of the top free agents, but recovered by addressing specific needs.

Adding depth to the frontcourt became the Wizards’ goal after they failed to sign a marquee player.

2016 Moves: 

In 2015, the Washington Wizards were totally invested in signing Kevin Durant. In doing so, they didn’t do much to improve the team.

The three players they acquired had little impact on the city and left after just a single season. That’s the key difference between the two summers.

The changes the Wizards made this off-season could impact the team on a long-term basis.

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Washington brought in five new players that can provide a punch for a bench that lacked any last season. The team finally seems durable, which is often overlooked.

Plus, the Eastern Conference is wide open.

The more depth, the better.

The Durant movement forced the Wizards to scrap a season.

Looking back, they probably should have done more to secure another winning season, rather than just chalking it up as a loss with hopes of convincing the hometown hero to return to D.C.

In the 2016 off-season, the Wizards have added versatile players while also maintaining flexibility.

If a trade were to become possible, the Wizards could make a move without tearing their core group apart. And if this is the team the Wizards stick with, then they should at least return to playoff contention.

With solid player development and continued improvement from John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre, the Wizards could have one of the most exciting teams in the league.

Next: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Wizards

On top of that, the new additions – Burke, Nicholson and Satoransky – have the potential to thrive in Washington. The opportunities are there. The players added this summer aren’t merely rentals like they were last year.