Fans of the Washington Wizards will need to be patient Thursday night as they wait for 19th pick to come up when the team drafts in round one. However, they will need even more patience as they wait out their biggest off-season ever in 2016. That’s when the ‘KDtoDC campaign results will be in.
This off-season will be more about “plugging holes.” Perhaps the biggest one will be figuring out what to do with the exit of Paul Pierce, who could be heading west for a reunion with Doc Rivers in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Clippers.
Don’t look for them to make a blockbuster deal to reunite DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall here in DC. You could probably get better odds on winning the next Powerball jackpot. The Wizards cannot afford to hurt their cap situation for next off-season.
That does not mean they won’t be able to help their roster. They have the 19th and 49th pick, which means they could add at least two young players to a roster that is older outside of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter.
There could be some interesting players at that spot – among them: UVA’s Justin Anderson, Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant, Bobby Portisof Arkansas, or Kevon Looneyof UCLA. None of them will be stars immediately, or even starters, but all of them have the potential to become rotation players in their rookie year.
If Pierce leaves, the Wizards will also have full mid-level to go grab a veteran – perhaps a Tayshaun Prince or Al-Farouq Aminu. Their only real potential for a making a big splash would be dealing Nene and his expiring contract of $13,000 for 2015/16. However, the Wizards need to keep that space for next summer because of the ‘KD2DC’ campaign. So they could only really afford to deal Nene for another expiring contract.
More than anything, this summer is about the team’s core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter and Nene getting better and growing together. The same goes for the role that players under contract will play. Kris Humphries could have a much bigger role with Kevin Seraphin and Drew Gooden hitting free agency. Also, there is the idea that Nene will no longer be a starter, which could help Humphries if he can develop consistent range from beyond the 3 point line.
Although I don’t expect anything jaw-dropping from the Wizards, that doesn’t mean they can’t be a contender in the East again this upcoming season. A full season of a healthy backcourt with Wall and Beal would go a long way in helping the Wizards getting a higher seed. Add a confident and improved Porter, and perhaps a stretch four next to Gortat and you might have a better formula than a year ago, even without Pierce in the mix. And if that doesn’t comfort you, maybe this will: Kevin Durant’s new signature shoes have the Wizards red in them and no Oklahoma City Thunder colors.
No matter what happens this off-season, remember: it is all about ‘KD2DC’16’.