Who will be the Washington Wizards’ leading scorer next season?

Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards are almost done reshaping their roster, and they are likely to start the 2023-24 NBA season with their two best players being Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. Each member of this dynamic duo can have explosive scoring outbursts and light up the scoreboard, but who will be the primary scoring option for the new-look Washington Wizards next year remains an interesting question.

Despite having very different physical tools and playing different positions, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole have many similarities in their playing styles and career trajectories.

Both stars played for championship contenders early in their careers and found ways to adapt their games to help them win titles. Regardless of the different roles they played on those title teams, both Poole and Kuzma’s primary basketball skill is to put the ball in the basket.

They may not do that in the most efficient way, but they are versatile and skilled in their scoring methods.

Both players are adept at creating their own shots and scoring in isolation

Jordan Poole is very good at creating his own shot through pull-up threes, getting all the way to the rim, or going to the free-throw line. He attempted over five free throws per game in only 30 minutes, and he is an elite 88% shooter from the charity stripe.

Poole’s efficiency takes a hit because of his underwhelming three-point accuracy. He has a versatile jump shot with a quick release and deep range, but he has only shot 34% from three in his pro career. If he can bump this up to a league-average level, he can increase his middling efficiency as well.

Kyle Kuzma, on the other hand, relies more on the mid-range shot. Similar to Poole, he can create his own shot but he prefers operating in the mid-range. Thanks to his size and strength, he can get to his spots and rise over the defender to score.

However, Kuzma has not managed to extend his shooting touch on the mid-rangers to behind the three-point line. He is an almost identical three-point shooter to Poole for his career. But, unlike Poole, he is not adept at getting to the line or converting his free throws. He only shot 3.7 free throws per game in 35 minutes and hit 73% of them.

His below-average three-point and free-throw shooting make Kuzma an inefficient volume scorer. His true shooting percentage of 54.4 last season needs to be a lot higher if he is going to be the leading scorer on this team.

Poole’s game is more conducive to being the primary scoring threat

Both Kuzma and Poole will have plenty of opportunities to score and play make for their teammates next season. It will be hard for either of them to have super-efficient seasons on this limited Washington team. Yet, it’s safe to say Poole’s game fits better as the primary scoring threat.

Poole will have the ball in his hands often as the lead creator or the point guard. His ability to drive, get to the rim, and pull up from the perimeter will give him different ways to score.

Considering Poole’s versatility in his scoring, and the fact that he averaged more points per minute and possession last season than Kuzma, he should be the favorite to be the Wizards’ leading bucket-getter next year. We are looking forward to seeing if that’s the case.