Washington Wizards: 3 Offseason regrets the Wizards are feeling now

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Deni Avdija. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Deni Avdija. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards Robin Lopez.
Washington Wizards Robin Lopez. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

Regret #3) Not signing a center with some upside

There is no way the Washington Wizards could have seen Thomas Bryant’s season-ending ACL tear coming. Through the team’s first 10 games, Bryant rewarded the Wizards front office for making a risky move and declaring the 23-year-old their starter during the free agency period. Whether or not Bryant was the starter or the backup, the Wizards still needed to add to their frontcourt in free agency. Their commitment to Bryant certainly chased away other frontcourt free agent prospects, and the Wizards settled on Robin Lopez for the $7 million Mid-Level Exception.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. It’s obvious that the coaching staff doesn’t trust Mortiz Wagner, and there’s good reason. He averages 7.4 fouls per 36 minutes. If they wanted to turn things over to Bryant, that’s fine. But not bringing in someone with a little more upside than 32-year-old Robin Lopez didn’t make sense. And it looks even worse with Bryant done for the season.

When Bryant went down, the Wizards were forced to go shopping and luckily found Alex Len on waivers. Len has quickly proven to be a better option than Lopez and replaced Lopez in the starting lineup after eight games.

The thing is, the Wizards could have gotten Alex Len months ago as a free agent. In November, Len signed with the Toronto Raptors on a one-year, $2.3 million deal, a mere fraction of what the Wizards are paying Lopez.

Len isn’t the only center playing better than Lopez for less money, either. Hassan Whiteside, Aron Baynes, Willie Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles, and Nerlens Noel are all putting up similar or better numbers per 36 minutes while making less money than Lopez. And they were all available this past offseason.