The Washington Wizards were one of the busiest teams of the NBA's offseason. They traded away Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis within days of each other. Soon after, they dished Chris Paul, who they acquired in the trade involving Bradley Beal, to the Golden State Warriors in a package that brought back Jordan Poole and a protected 2030 first-round pick. The Porzingis trade netted them Tyus Jones and a 2023 2nd-round pick that they traded to the Chicago Bulls. Washington was also active during the NBA Draft, where they moved up one spot with the Indiana Pacers to ensure they got their guy and selected Bilal Coulibaly.
That was the offseason. The regular season, where the actual basketball is played, is about to tip off soon. Yet this Wizards roster looks more like a series of names one would find on an immaculate grid than an actual, fully functional basketball team. That begs a lot of questions. Hopefully, the Wizards can answer a couple of those questions sooner than later.
2) How competitive do the Wizards want to be?
The answer to this question would appear to be ‘not really competitive.' When a team trades their two best players, that would appear to be the case. Their starting lineup heading into the season looks something like this: Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, Kyle Kuzma, and Daniel Gafford. Delon Wright, Landry Shamet, and Deni Avdija are intriguing bench options as well as their rookie Coulibaly, but this is not a team that appears to be winning many games this season.
If that's the case, then how much playing time will the younger players on their roster get? They also acquired Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins from the Golden State Warriors in that Chris Paul trade; will they get a lot of run? The Wizards should at least see what they have in those players. The Wizards drafted Johnny Davis tenth overall in the 2022 draft. He only played 420 minutes, though, and did not have a great season in the G League either. The Wizards also drafted Tristan Vukcevic in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft and signed Jared Butler and Eugene Omoruyi to two-way contracts. How much playing time guys like this get will answer how competitive the Wizards want to be. The answer to this question at the moment appears to be that these guys will get some run at some point this season.
1) How will this roster look at the end of the season?
If the Wizards are in a season of transition, which they are, then that would mean they aren't done making moves. Players like Tyus Jones, Delon Wright, and Landry Shamet are established veterans who have proven track records of helping teams win games in important moments. There aren't likely to be many important moments for this Wizards team this season. What's more important for the Wizards is gathering up as many assets as they can to help build a team back up that does have those important moments.
So who are the players the Wizards could look to move? The players mentioned above make a lot of sense. So does Danilo Gallinari, who the Wizards also acquired in the move involving Porzingis. All of these players are on expiring contracts and all have cap numbers below $15 million. That should make it easy for teams to aggregate enough contracts to be able to make the math work, especially important for teams above the second apron.
The Washington Wizards don't appear like they'll be very good this season. If they aren't, they probably will let us know with how their minutes are distributed between the solid vets they have and the crop of young players on their roster as well as what potential tweaks they make to this roster. They might not be very competitive, but the Wizards are still going to be a team monitor during the upcoming NBA season.