New Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has made two trades in a week, acquiring four players. Let’s meet our new Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are making moves! Over the past week, Wizard’s general manager Tommy Sheppard has acquired four new players and two second round picks in two separate trades.
In the first trade, the Wizards traded cash to the 76ers for the 42 overall pick and Jonathan Simmons. In the second trade, the Wizards again traded cash, this time to the Lakers, for Moritz (Moe) Wagner, Jemerrio Jones, Isaac Bonga, and a 2022 second round pick.
Here is everything you need to know about the four new Washington Wizards:
It was a long and difficult road for Jonathan Simmons in making the NBA. Simmons went undrafted in 2012 out of the University of Houston. In 2013, he joined the Austin Spurs G-League team where he played for two seasons.
After averaging 15 points per game, making the G-League All-Defensive Third team, and carrying the Spurs deep into the playoffs, Simmons earned a spot on the San Antonio Spurs summer league team in 2015. There, he helped bring the Spurs to the Summer League Finals and scored 23 points in the championship game, winning the Championship Game MVP. After this game, Simmons earned a spot in the league, signing with the Spurs.
Since then, Simmons has left the Spurs and spent time in Orlando and Philadelphia before ending up in DC. Simmons had his best season in 2017-2018 with the Magic where averaged 13.9 points per game and started in 50 games.
However, since then, Simmons’ play has digressed. A year ago, he had wrist surgery on his shooting wrist, causing him to struggle and fall out of rotation. Now Simmons is unlikely to make the Wizards roster. He is 29 years old and the Wizards will likely rather use a roster spot on a young player with potential.
Moe Wagner was the 25th overall pick in the 2018 draft after playing three seasons at the University of Michigan. Wagner is nearly seven feet tall and has the ability to knock down three pointers. If developed properly, Wagner could become a reliable stretch four or five.
Last season on the Lakers, Wagner did not get a lot of playing time, only playing about 10 minutes a game. He averaged just 4.8 points and 2 rebounds per game.
Wagner definitely has a lot of work to do if he wants to become a solid player in the league. However, when given the opportunity to play, he has shown what he is capable of. In his first career start in a game against the Celtics, Wagner had 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
For Wagner, playing with former All-Star Dwight Howard will certainly help his development. Also with the Wizards likely not competing for a playoff spot next season, Wagner will be able to get plenty of playing time.
Jemerrio Jones is a young player who spent the majority of last season in the G-League. However, he played in the Lakers final six games of the season, demonstrating his great defensive skills and potential.
Jones needs to working at his offensive game. He is not capable of putting up huge scoring numbers and has low shooting percentages. However, he makes up for his lack of scoring with rebounding.
Jones is a rebounding machine. In college, playing for New Mexico State, Jones became the first player since 1997 to have three straight games with 20 or more rebounds. In his six game with the Lakers, Jones was able to average 8.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.
Jones’ contract for next season in not guaranteed. If he wants to make the team, he will have to show improvements to his game.
Isaac Bonga is a German national who was selected 39th overall in the 2018 draft. Like Jones, Bonga spent a lot of time in the G-League last season. However, Bonga was able to see the floor in 22 games for the Lakers.
In the G-League Bonga averaged 11.9 points per game. He showed that he has the ability to put up high scoring numbers, scoring 27 points in his G-League debut. However, he also showed that he was still very raw, averaging more turnovers per game than assists.
While Bonga played in 22 games last season, he only played 5.5 minutes per game. In those games he averaged .9 points and 1.1 rebounds. Also, in those games his shooting was atrocious. He was just 5 for 33 from the field and 0 for 8 from three.
Bonga is a long term project who definitely has upside, but has a lot of work to do if he wants to make it in the NBA.