The Washington Wizards have already been struggling on the court to start the season. Now, they have to deal with injuries to key players.
According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, the Wizards have listed Deni Avdija, Daniel Gafford, and Corey Kispert as questionable to play against the Sixers in Philadelphia on Monday night.
This will make things even more challenging for the Washington Wizards as they take on a red-hot Sixers team that has won four in a row and just got its entire team back following the James Harden trade. However, it also presents an opportunity for young players to show what they are capable of.
A silver lining to the Wizards’ disastrous start to the season has been the extra playing time the deep bench players regularly get. Washington has been blown out in all of their losses, so the young players in third-string roles have gotten plenty of opportunities in the garbage time. And, they have consistently performed well and cut the leads to more respectable margins. Now, they will likely play extended minutes to see if they can secure a regular rotation role.
Eugene Omoruyi and Ryan Rollins should be one of the main beneficiaries of these injury absences. Both players have made a difference with their on-ball defense and energy every time they got on the court this season. It may be time to see what they can do when they play next to the starters.
Johnny Davis and Bilal Coulibaly will also presumably see an uptick in playing time. Davis has looked good in his minutes against the Miami Heat, and Coulibaly has consistently been solid defensively since the start of the season. This will be an excellent opportunity to build their confidence offensively as well.
This will be especially important if Avdija and Kispert are both unavailable to play. Avdija has arguably been the best all-around Wizards player this season, shooting the ball well and playing aggressively. Kispert is easily the best shooter on the team. Washington will lose a lot of their offensive firepower in their absence.
Gafford, on the other hand, plays a crucial role defensively. As the only rim-protecting center with size on the roster, he is the defensive anchor of this team. The Wizards have struggled immensely in the two games he has missed so far, and they will be hopeless once again if Gafford misses time as they don’t have an adequate replacement for him.
Injuries are always a bummer. These will almost certainly hurt the Washington Wizards. However, every injury presents an opportunity for others to shine. Let’s hope the young Wizards make the most of this opportunity.