1 Not-so-obvious reason Jonas Valanciunas signing is perfect for Wizards

The Washington Wizards signed Jonas Valanciunas in free agency, and while the move may seem weird, it's perfect for one not-so-obvious reason.
Washington Wizards, Jonas Valanciunas, Alex Sarr, NBA Free Agency
Washington Wizards, Jonas Valanciunas, Alex Sarr, NBA Free Agency / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The Washington Wizards made a bit of a splash on the first night of free agency. They inked veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas to a three-year, $30 million contract to bring him on board.

The move was out of nowhere, as the Wizards are in the midst of a rebuild, and Valanciunas is 32 years old and entering the final years of his NBA career. At first glance, the move doesn’t make sense for either side.

However, a deeper look at the decision reveals a not-so-obvious reason why signing Valanciunas is a perfect move for the Wizards and, more importantly, the future of their franchise.

Washington drafted French big man Alex Sarr with the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Sarr is slated to be a focal point of the Wizards’ rebuild, but it comes with a slight catch.

Leading up to the NBA Draft, there were rumblings that Sarr was trying to force himself to the Wizards and trying to avoid getting picked by the Atlanta Hawks first overall.

One of the potential reasons that was speculated for this rumor was the fact that Sarr may want to play the power forward position. If that is true, then adding Valanciunas is great.

Valanciunas is a big-bodied center who will take a ton of pressure off of Sarr on the defensive side of the ball, allowing him to play a roaming style of defense that should suit him well.

Sarr’s incredible length will allow him to duck into the paint on opponents’ drives, sending their shots packing. All the while, Valanciunas can absorb the brunt of the contact down low from guys like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.

Having a veteran center in the mix also just generally takes pressure off of Sarr in general, as the Wizards will have someone to lead the way and show him the ropes a little bit.

Sarr will obviously be the focal point of what Washington wants to do moving forward, but Valanciunas’ presence could end up making him an impact defender from the moment he touches the court at the start of his rookie year.

Bringing in a big guy like Valanciunas to eat the bulk of the big-man minutes will be a huge help to Sarr, and it’s definitely one of the biggest reasons why the Wizards made this move.