Washington Wizards: 3 biggest weaknesses to address this offseason

Washington Wizards Thomas Bryant (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Thomas Bryant (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Washington Wizards Isaac Bonga
Washington Wizards Isaac Bonga (Photo by Kim Klement – Pool/Getty Images) /

Weakness #1: Defense

There’s really no easy way to put this. The Washington Wizards were bad at defense this season. Really bad.

The Wizards’ defensive rating of 114.7 ranked 29th in the NBA. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers posted a worse rating (114.8). Opponents shot well from all over the floor, as the Wizards allowed teams to shoot the fourth-highest shooting percentages from both two and three-point range. And if that weren’t bad enough, they sent opposing teams to the free-throw line more often than every other NBA team except the Atlanta Hawks.

John Wall should help improve the defense. Isaiah Thomas and Ish Smith were doing a lot of nothing on the defensive end all season. But that won’t solve this disaster entirely.

The Wizards could go a couple of different routes on their way to an improved defense. The most obvious answer seems to be adding a rim protector. The Wizards allowed 51.4 points in the paint this season, the sixth-highest total in the NBA. But in the bubble, Thomas Bryant showed he could be a serviceable defensive presence when healthy and locked in. He probably won’t win any Defensive Player of the Year awards, but he improved in Orlando.

Still, someone more formidable in the frontcourt would be welcome. But if the Wizards decide to stick with Bryant, they could limit the points in the paint another way. They could stop opponents from getting into the paint in the first place.

Isaac Bonga might become a legitimate defensive stopper one day. He has all the tools and the Wizards were definitely leaning on his defense last season, but he’s not there yet. Adding a wing that can consistently and effectively guard the opponent’s best player, while taking some defensive pressure off Wall and Beal, would help this team on the perimeter and on in the interior.

Free Agent find: Aron Baynes, Maurice Harkless

Draft night solution: Isaac Okoro, Precious Achiuwa

Trade target: Myles Turner