The Washington Wizards are in the midst of a disastrous start to the 2023-24 NBA season. Standing at 1-3, the Wizards have looked hopeless in each of their three losses, with their defense looking abysmal. One of the main factors in their awful performance is the lack of center depth.
Washington already had questionable frontcourt depth with Daniel Gafford and Mike Muscala being the only true centers on the roster. Muscala being a weak defender and in and out of the rotation put a lot of burden on Gafford to be the defensive anchor. So, when he missed the last two games with injury, the Wizards completely fell apart.
The perimeter defense for Washington is already poor. Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole as the backcourt offer very little resistance due to their lack of size and strength. Since they give up so much penetration, the Wizards need a strong interior presence to try to wall off the rim at least a little bit. The small-ball center options of Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, and Danilo Gallinari can’t provide that.
Hence, the Wizards rank last in defensive efficiency. When your defense is so porous, you are not going to be competitive in the NBA. This resulted in three deflating losses.
In order to give themselves a chance, the Wizards need to beef up their center rotation. They need to have more size, athleticism, and defense inside to get their defense to a more respectable level. That way, they can stay in the games and play more close games. Competitive games mean clutch situations. For young players to develop, they need to play in high-pressure moments. The Wizards owe it to themselves and their young players to give them the best chance possible to compete against the best.
Fortunately for the Wizards, there are still available free agents who can help them on this front. They are not going to change the fate of the franchise this season, but they can certainly help them look more like a real NBA team.