With the Washington Wizards finally entering a rebuild, this is the ideal time to take risks and try different things. We saw the front office show an understanding for the need to swing for the fences by not only drafting up to take Bilal Coulibaly at seven, but also trade Chris Paul for Jordan Poole and Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Risks don’t end in the draft or in trade conversations, they also extend to free agency. While most contracts are on the safer side, some have been far more dangerous. Sometimes they are a resounding success, such is the case with Jalen Brunson, and sometimes they fail spectacularly like a majority of the players in the 2016 free agency class.
Sometimes, like the proposed signing I’ll get to here in a moment, the biggest risk is just sacrificing a roster spot. These can be valuable to get players with high potential time on the floor or getting a veteran in the locker room to pass wisdom on to the younger generation.
The Washington Wizards should buy low on RJ Hampton
While he has been passed around the league from the Denver Nuggets to the Orlando Magic and most recently the Detroit Pistons, RJ Hampton is a young combo guard who could be intriguing as a free agent.
After being waived by the Pistons on Saturday, he is set to become a free agent this summer. Definitely one of the more interesting free agents this year, he could be a player to keep an eye on for the Wizards.
At only 22 years of age, Hampton still has room to grow into a starting caliber shooting guard. He has the tools to eventually become a good three and d option next to the rising stars already on the Wizards roster.
A large part of the problem is the lack of vision and playmaking ability makes him unable to play the point and his lack of shooting limits his ability off the ball, making it difficult to find a good role for him.
On the Wizards, he could find himself in a position where the need to shoot the ball doesn’t matter as much. The team already has both Corey Kispert and Jordan Poole, they can afford to give multiple non-shooters quality minutes, especially since they aren’t trying to win next season.
Placing Hampton in a lineup featuring Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, and Patrick Baldwin Jr would allow him to operate off the ball, encouraging his development as a role player for the team. If he greatly improves on his jump shot along with the ability to play off the ball, he could become a lesser version of Klay Thompson for the team. This is incredibly unlikely though.
The Wizards would need to move a handful of their newly acquired guards in order to make that happen though. They currently have seven different guards on the roster, making it difficult to find minutes for a player like Hampton.
If given a decent role and the opportunity to play heavy minutes, RJ Hampton could rack up the experience and the reps needed to reach his full potential. Few teams are as poised to give him that opportunity like the Washington Wizards. Having an opportunity to tap into that potential is 100% worth sacrificing a roster spot.