For a team that last made a serious playoff run several years ago, the Washington Wizards have been having trouble building a formidable and sustainable team over the past seasons. Bradley Beal has been the only constant in the squad as one of the key cogs, but he has numerous options for his future this offseason. Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma have been incredible individually as possible building blocks for Tommy Sheppard and the front office.
Beal is eligible for a contract extension, or he could exercise his player option for one more season. Porzingis and Kuzma are still under contract, but the Wizards have several free agents, namely Thomas Bryant, Raul Neto, and Tomas Satoransky. With a plethora of holes on the Wizards roster, they would welcome any addition who would fit well into their culture.
3 early targets for Wizards in 2022 NBA free agency
3. Robert Covington – Forward
For a squad that has several scorers and offensive-minded folks already, Covington would fit the billing as the four-man in the first unit of the Wizards. Wes Unseld Jr. is known as a defensive mind who is continually trying to impart the defensive principles he was known for in his previous assistant coaching tenures.
Covington has been one of the best defenders in the league over the last few seasons, tallying steals, blocks, and deflections. His numbers are not eye-popping like Rudy Gobert or Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Covington will get the job done as the third fiddle alongside Porzingis and Kuzma in the Wizards frontcourt. Moreover, the Clippers are over the luxury tax and may have a tough job of convincing him to stay for a lower salary.
2. Jalen Brunson – Guard
By trading Porzingis before the trade deadline, Brunson will likely sign a long-term extension as the partner of Luka Doncic in the Dallas Mavericks backcourt. However, the Wizards, who have a gaping hole at the PG position, must offer Brunson a maximum deal to fill the void. Brunson is a pure scorer who could also be a superb floor general alongside Beal.
Brunson is not just a phenomenal scorer and playmaker, he is also an above-average defender who could aid Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Deni Avdija on that end of the court. The past point guards of the WIzards have not been as successful in containing some of the best guards in the NBA, but Brunson would definitely be an upgrade from the likes of Neto, Satoransky, and Ish Smith.
1. Malik Monk – Guard
A lethal scorer who surprisingly decided to sign a minimum contract this season, Monk would likely receive a huge bag this offseason. He proved his worth and value in a huge market and organization like the Los Angeles Lakers, so teams that have cap space like the Wizards will need a reliable scorer off the bench. A weakness of the squad has been the lack of players stepping up when adversity strikes, like injuries or COVID-19 cases.
Monk would definitely be more than willing to have an increased usage rate and shot attempts when Beal or Kuzma are forced to miss a few games. As Monk has continually been adjusting and blossoming as an off-the-ball player as well, that has been a massive step in his maturity and development as a vital guy on catch-and-shoot opportunities and simple back cuts when the defense is caught napping. For his weaknesses on defense, Unseld would be perfect to mentor him on being an adequate defender at the very least.
The Wizards have many issues to address in the offseason but starting with chasing these three phenomenal talents would be a stepping stone for them to be a legitimate playoff contender once again. The usual big names who are enticing in free agency are not available this offseason, so the front office must find underrated or unheralded assets.
The foundation is terrific with Beal, Porzingis, and Kuzma, but the surrounding pieces remain to be a mystery and a challenge for the Wizards.