Three examples of the Washington Wizards putting development first

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards /

The Isaac Bonga Experiment

One player who will certainly see fewer minutes now that the roster is healthy is Isaac Bonga.

With the Wizards shorthanded at the wing to start the season, the then 19-year-old Bonga was thrust into the starting lineup as Troy Brown Jr and C.J. Miles rehabbed. With both of them back in good health, Bonga has immediately become the odd man out. After starting seven straight games to start the season, Bonga did not play against the Cleveland Cavaliers as both Brown and Miles returned to prominent roles.

The Bonga experiment seems to finally be over, and it’s probably for the best. Both Brown and Miles are better options than Bonga. Even as a replacement player, Bonga still got big assignments with the Wizards. Bonga was, and arguably still is, the Wizards best on-ball defender. And just because he was a teenager at season’s start, the Wizards didn’t hide Bonga against some of the NBA’s best scorers.

In the infamous 159-`158 shootout loss the Houston Rockets, it was Bonga who strapped up James Harden on the games’ final possession, despite being called for a phantom foul that sent Harden to the line for game-winning free-throws.

The ultra-long and ultra-young Bonga is a fascinating prospect. He just turned 20 in November. He’s 6’8″ with a seven-foot wingspan and resembles more of a pass-first point-forward than a traditional wing. In today’s positionless NBA, he could literally be anything and is still young enough to mold into what the Wizards want. Getting him starting action could prove invaluable for his development.