Predicting the opening night starting lineup for the Washington Wizards

Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards have completely revamped their roster, and with a new roster, always comes new rotations. However, it’s just the starting lineup that I’m worried about today.

While there are certain players who seem to be locked in as starters already such as Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma, there are other players and more specifically positions in the starting five that are more up in the air.

At point guard for the Washington Wizards: Tyus Jones

Another one that seems incredibly likely, Tyus Jones will almost certainly be starting on opening night. He is the best facilitator on the team while also being a decent shot maker and a plus defender.

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His assist to turnover ratio is one of the most common praises for him, but he is also a quality three-point shooter and can create looks for himself and others on every level on offense. He is a great asset to have early on to mentor Jordan Poole.

The only thing potentially barring Jones from starting is a future, unforeseen injury. I highly doubt any of Delon Wright, Ryan Rollins, or Johnny Davis steals away the starting spot that soon.

At shooting guard for the Wizards: Jordan Poole

As I already said, this is an obvious one. The only real competitors for this position are Johnny Davis and Bilal Coulibaly. One is not good enough, the other is an unproven rookie. If healthy, Jordan Poole will get the start for the Washington Wizards.

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Starting at small forward for the Wiz: Deni Avdija

This was the toughest decision on the list so far. With Corey Kispert, Bilal Coulibaly, Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, and Patrick Baldwin Jr all viable options here, I had to go with the man who fits Wes Unseld Jr’s strengths the best and isn’t a rookie.

Unseld Jr likes to focus on defense. With Kispert and Baldwin Jr both being questionable defenders, it’s unlikely they earn the start, especially to begin the season. Avdija is a versatile defender and has been working on his game back in his home country of Israel. An improved jumper will secure him this spot for the season.

The main reason I did not consider Coulibaly for his best position for the starting role is the fact that he is a rookie. It is incredibly uncommon for rookies to start right off the bat in the NBA. The ones who do are typically consensus number one overall picks or four-year college players. Since Coulibaly is neither, he will likely play at least half the season off the bench.

At power forward for the Washington Wizards: Kyle Kuzma

The second-best player on the team, Kyle Kuzma is most certainly not coming off the bench. He is a multi-faceted player who can score almost at will. Kuzma also provides quality playmaking, rebounding, and defense to the roster.

Benching him is completely out the window so long as he is healthy, especially considering the main competition is Danilo Gallinari or Patrick Baldwin Jr.

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Finally, at center for the Wizards is Daniel Gafford

Surprisingly one of the safest roles in the starting five, Daniel Gafford will start the season at the five. He is a defensive threat for the team, alleviating many of the mistakes that players like Jordan Poole will inevitably make throughout the season.

As of the writing of this article, the Wizards have not bought out Tristan Vukcevic’s contract. This leaves only Mike Muscala as the largest threat to Gafford’s starting role. With all due respect to Muscala, Gafford is starting.

The biggest questions regarding the opening night starting five are definitely surrounding health and the small forward position. However, these five players are my picks to be the starters when the season officially begins.

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