Washington Wizards: 4 players the Wizards should target during trade season

Washington Wizards Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards Robert Covington (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Robert Covington (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Robert Covington

After years of perenially being almost there, things seem to be falling apart for the Houston Rockets. Daryl Morey is in Philadelphia. James Harden trade rumors are flying. Russell Westbrook is also rumored to be on the way out. It’s time for the Washington Wizards to make some calls.

However, they shouldn’t be inquiring about the Rockets’ backcourt pair. The Wizards have a dynamic duo of their own. Instead, they should see if they can salvage any extra parts from the fire sale. Mainly, Robert Covington.

The top priority for the Washington Wizards this offseason should be addressing their atrocious defense from last season. The Wizards finished the season with the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA. Their 114.7 rating was 0.1 points better per 100 possessions than the Cavaliers. And while the obvious solution might be to add a rim protector, the Wizards might be better suited adding a perimeter defender like Covington. That’s mainly because of how things changed last season once Washington shipped out one of their worst perimeter defenders, Isaiah Thomas.

Although Thomas came to D.C. with a lot of excitement, his time with the Wizards was largely underwhelming (besides the frosty incident). In 49 games with Thomas serving primarily as the starting point guard, the Wizards posted a defensive rating of 116.3, which was worst in the league at the time. Over their final 23 games, all without Thomas, the Wizards posted a 111.2 defensive rating.

That type of literal overnight success suggests the defense at the rim isn’t as much of a problem as the defense (or lack thereof) on the perimeter. Covington would immediately be the team’s best perimeter defender, but he would probably be the team’s best interior defender. On the Rockets’ always-small system, Covington’s defensive versatility was key to their success. That versatility would be invaluable for a Wizards team that was touting Isaac Bonga as their best defender last season.

Robert Covington is set to make $12.1 million this season, and another $12.9 million during the 2021-22 season.