The Washington Wizards all season was one of the better teams in a weak Eastern Conference. They finished as the five seed in the East at a record of 46-36 sitting 14 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the best record in the East. The Wizards had a fantastic starting five this season. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene Hilario, and Marcin Gortat all scored over 10 points per game. John Wall added 10 assists per game so when the starting five was on the floor the Wizards excelled. But the starting five can’t play the entire game, especially Paul Pierce. The bench for the Wizards was atrocious. Kris Humphries led all bench players with 8 points per game and the rotational shooters struggled. With the East as weak as it was, they were still able to have a successful season. The Wizards were able to reach the Eastern Conference semi-finals but Paul Pierce was .2 seconds late off his game tying three point shot. Upon exit, Paul Pierce opted out of his current deal with the Wizards. The Wizards just lost experience, leadership, and clutch scoring. Along with a bench, the Wizards will need to address those vacancies. Lets see who could be in our nations capital next season.
PF Kevon Looney, UCLA
The Washington Wizards are going to need to think of their future at the power forward position because Nene’s contract expires at the end of the 2015-2016 NBA season. Could Kevon Looney be the answer? Looney is an aggressive rebounder who attacks the offensive glass for second chance points. He is a long defender who makes it difficult for opposing players to shoot over him. He has a consistent mid-range jumper but needs a three point shot. If Looney adds some upper body strength he will be a valuable NBA starter.
SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a quiet player on a stacked Arizona roster. Hollis-Jefferson is a defensive minded player with NBA ready size. He stands 6’7″ and can cover multiple positions. He averaged over a block per game and is willing to make sacrifices for his team. Offensively he can run the floor smoothly which would help the Wizards star John Wall. The Wizards need a small forward and a way to tighten up their defense. If Hollis-Jefferson is on the board then the Wizards are on the clock, I can’t see them passing on him.
SF Justin Anderson, Virginia
Justin Anderson would have a higher draft stock if he didn’t get injured in the middle of the season. He is a brick wall standing 6’6″ weighing 230 pounds. Anderson’s shooting ability improved every season at Virginia. His field goal percentage was 47% and his three point percentage was 45% which was both career highs. Those numbers will need to consistently improve if Anderson wants to be a valuable role player for an NBA roster. His defense will keep him in the league.
Marcin Gortat is currently the only center on the Wizards roster. With Gortat and Nene getting older, they need to find a valuable big man off of the bench. Marreese Speights was fantastic off of the bench for the Warriors this season. He averaged 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Hid offensive game consists of mud range jumpers which he developed consistency throughout the season. He improved his free throw shooting to 84% which is a career high. Speights will attract many NBA organizations this offseason.
I think it has come to the point where Otto Porter is officially a bust. He is currently the starting small forward for the Wizards since Paul Pierce left. Wesley Matthews can play both the two and the three. He dropped 15.9 points per game with a 39% three point shooting percentage over 60 games before tearing his achilles. He stretches the floor and opens up other players from behind the arc. Bradley Beal and Wesley Matthews would be a scary shooting duo. Wesley Matthews would keep the Wizards a top 4 team in the East.
Louis Williams was the NBA 6th man of the year award winner last season and will attract multiple organizations come July. Every team could use a bench shooter/rotational three point shooter and that is what Williams brings to the table. The Wizards bench is awful. Rasual Butler, Otto Porter, and Martell Webster all averaged less then 8 points per game. Louis Williams would take the pressure off of John Wall and Bradley Beal to score. Williams would help the Wizards immensely.
The Wizards have the roster to stay one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. John Wall and Bradley Beal are proven stars in the NBA but they can’t do it themselves. The teams that play the best in the playoffs have the best role players in the NBA. The Wizards need to improve their bench to make it farther in the playoffs. John Wall needs to be the leader of the team and keep everyone calm when times get tense. The Wizards have their work cut out for them this offseason.