Can’t afford to trade: Bilal Coulibaly
One can argue about the expendability or the indispensability of any Wizards player. There can be valid arguments for why Kyle Kuzma should be traded, why Jordan Poole needs to stay, or how Deni Avdija should be dealt while his trade value is high. One inarguable thing, however, is this: Bilal Coulibaly is untouchable.
The Washington Wizards’ no. 7 overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft, Coulibaly has been the best thing about the Wizards so far this season. The 19-year-old has exceeded expectations; making a huge impact on the defensive end, while showing encouraging flashes offensively. His shooting has been a pleasant surprise as the Frenchman hit 43.5% of his threes so far. He seemingly adds to his game from one game to the next. His speed of improvement makes him the most important asset the Wizards have going forward.
Coulibaly is exactly the type of prospect Washington hasn’t had in recent years. He is young, dynamic, and athletic. Over the past decade, the Wizards went for older, high-floor, low-ceiling type of prospects in drafts. This has left them without any high-upside, blue-chip prospects.
The Coulibaly pick is a 180-degree change from this strategy. It is a perfect marker for the start of a new era in Washington: one with a vision and a plan for long-term success rather than short-term gains. Coulibaly represents that vision and plan. He is perhaps the only thing that gives hope and optimism to this fanbase. The front office needs to honor that and hold onto him for as long as they can.