There is an alternative second unit that can play small ball by incorporating a few of the 3rd string players:
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Ryan Rollins
SF: Patrick Baldwin Jr
PF: Bilal Coulibaly
C: Deni Avdjia
This lineup would present mismatches all over the place and should be speedy up and down the floor.
Ryan Rollins as backup SG should give the Wizards more defensive ability
It’s hard to prove off of a small Summer League sample, but Rollins may be an excellent perimeter defender. Having Rollins on the court would balance out the defense quite nicely. Plus, between Ryan Rollins and Johnny Davis, Rollins is more ready to contribute. Rollins was the better perimeter defender in summer league play and it makes sense to reward him with a crack in a rotation like this.
Coulibaly can more easily play goalie from the PF position. His speed and agility should create some positive mismatches with other power forwards.
Avdija will be overmatched on the defensive end as a center in this rotation. If you think it’s bad watching Gafford getting pushed around, imagine seeing Deni trying to hold his own against a center with size. On the flip side, he would be able to beat his man on offense. Avdija is also a really strong defensive rebounder and Coulibaly should be as well.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. will have an opportunity to showcase his shooting touch
Baldwin Jr. was a near-40% shooter in limited action last season. Playing time with the reserves should give him a great chance to showcase his developing skill set. And once again, Jones’ leadership would be needed with this unit more than ever.
This lineup is clearly a speed-based small ball lineup that would be used to create mismatches in transition and get easy buckets. It could work if Coulibaly and Avdija can protect the paint and rebound. The evidence points to them both being able to do so.
In terms of positions, this would move Avdija to the PF/C position from the SF/PF position. That may not be a natural fit for him, but it’s what the Wizards have given the roster limitations. These lineup choices would put Coulibaly into a SF/PF position, which could fit nicely.
Danilo Gallinari’s health and availability remain uncertain
The one missing piece on this list is Danillo Gallinari. I view Gallinari and Muscala as interchangeable, with Gallinari preferred over Muscala assuming he’s healthy and ready to play. It’s unclear whether Gallinari will be ready on those ACL-rehabbed 35-year-old knees.
With this reserve unit and the starting lineup, a win total of 32 is reasonable. That is three fewer than last season. However, trades will happen. Delon Wright, Danilo Gallinari, and Mike Muscala will likely get moved before the trade deadline.
Tyus Jones will probably start. Some major pieces might fall out of favor, including Avdija, Kispert, or even Jones. Anyone could be fair game to be traded before the deadline. The Wizards will probably feature known duds just to see if there’s anything there for trades. Johnny Davis will presumably see plenty of playing time, to either excel or work his way out of the league.
Because of the mess associated with trying to figure out just what assets the Wizards have that others may want, on top of the marketing job to get teams to bid higher for certain players, a win total of about 25 or fewer seems right.