Offseason Report Card: Wizards get three As, three Bs, C and D for summer moves

Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards high five (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards high five (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards
Bilal Coulibaly of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

6. Traded up for Bilal Coulibaly

Traded two second-round picks to Indiana Pacers to trade up to No. 7, draft French forward Bilal Coulibaly.

Late risers have a mixed track record in the NBA Draft. Sometimes a player like Jalen Williams rockets up the draft boards of the league as they belatedly dig into the tape of a lesser-known prospect. Other times, teams begin to get hyped about a specific trait, getting hyped without considering all of the reasons a player was ranked lower to begin with; think Thon Maker or Kevin Knox.

Which category will Bilal Coulibaly fall in? It’s not clear, as he is both incredibly raw and spent the last year in the shadow of Victor Wembanyama. It’s that connection that likely got Coulibaly noticed, and his late rise was so significant he went from a fringe first-round prospect to the seventh pick in just a couple of months.

A raw player with elite athleticism could amount to nothing, or he could become a true difference-maker; that’s the bet the Wizards are making, and it’s a bet worth making when you’re a rebuilding team. They can afford to be patient and see how he develops. There were other players available with much higher floors, such as Taylor Hendricks or Gradey Dick, but it’s reasonable that they would swing for the fences. It was a reach, but it could pay off.

The problem for Washington on top of the risky bet is that the Indiana Pacers juked them into giving up two second-round picks just to move up a spot. Could another team have jumped the Wizards? Perhaps, but in that case, they could have pivoted to Hendricks or even Jarace Walker. They were so hyper-focused on Coulabily that they overpaid to take him higher than anyone expected; that type of move is rarely the right one.

Grade: C