The Washington Wizards are in NBA purgatory as a team good enough to extend their season to the playoffs but without enough talent to ensure that they do.
Until the Wizards solidify their status as a playoff team, the idea of reaching the NBA Finals is merely a pipe dream. That's even if All-Star guard Bradley Beal continues to demonstrate a rare loyalty to the franchise and fan base, sticking with the Wizards through his prime no matter how well — or poorly — the team plays.
Of course, not every move a team makes is going to be a home run. Some player acquisitions are simply safer bets than others, and that could pay off in the long run. However, there's at least one trade that the Wizards can attempt that will improve the future prospects of the team beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Especially if the Wizards were to trade the No. 8 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft in order to make their dreams a reality.
3 best trades for Wizards using No. 8 pick in 2023 NBA Draft
Los Angeles Lakers
Wizards receive: LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Lakers receive: No. 8 pick, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis, Deni Avdija, Monte Morris, future first-round picks
This is a pipe dream perhaps but shooting for the stars never hurt any team. Well, perhaps the Brooklyn Nets, who have a tendency to add aging stars in order to accelerate their timeline.
However, in this case, the aging star that the Washington Wizards are receiving is arguably the best player of all-time in LeBron James. 38-years-old, LeBron still has kept a measure of distance between himself and Father Time but its increasingly clear that James is nearing or on his last stretch. Which is what will entice the Lakers to move LeBron, and essentially for the No. 8 pick, Kyle Kuzma, Deni Avdija and a future first-round pick.
They Wizards also get Anthony Davis, who might only be in L.A. as long as LeBron is due to his inconsistency and injury history. In return, the Lakers get Kristaps Porzingis, Monte Morris and a future first-round pick.
A fair trade for both sides considering that the Wizards will finally have a true Big 3 with LeBron, AD and Bradley Beal after this, while managing to keep a couple of core rotation players.
The Lakers get to replace LeBron and Davis with players in the prime of their careers and could use the lottery pick to acquire another franchise cornerstone.
New York Knicks
Wizards receive: Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin
Raptors receive: No. 8 pick, Monte Morris
A simple trade that allows the Washington Wizards to address a major position of need (point guard), adding New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley to their backcourt gives the Wizards a player with two-way upside.
In some ways, it would be like the Wizards managing to combine Monte Morris — an excellent scorer — and Delon Wright — and excellent defender — in one player. What's more, Quickley is already a proven commodity, unlike the player that they may have chosen at No. 8.
In order to balance out the trade, the Wizards should go after Obi Toppin, a relatively inconsistent forward with untapped potential. At the very least, Toppin will allow Washington to be a bigger threat in transition, while also adding a vertical dimension that they currently lack in the frontcourt.
With both Quickley and Toppin entering the final seasons of their contract, the Knicks could look to move on from both in order to identify more affordable alternatives. To that point, Quickley and Toppin are also stuck behind players that cap their potential productivity, increasing the likelihood that New York looks to move on from one or both of them.
Wizards receive: Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, No. 16 pick
Jazz receive: Kristaps Porzingis, No. 8 pick
Replacing the dynamic skillset of big man Kristaps Porzingis with the two-way intensity of Collin Sexton and 3-and-D potential of Ochai Agbaji allows the Wizards to address their primary backcourt needs. It also opens up playing time for an ever-growing assortment of forwards that includes Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija, Xavier Cooks and Anthony Gill.
Essentially, so long as Sexton (who has a career-high scoring average of 24.3 points per game) manages to put up points at a high rate, then the Wizards may not feel as if they're missing much from Porzingis' absence, if anything.
That said, sending the No. 8 pick to the Jazz- could allow Utah to get their point guard of the future, which may or may not have been the role destined for Sexton or a revitalized Kris Dunn. Taking the No. 16 pick in return allows Washington to grab a frontcourt piece that complements their group of stretch big men, perhaps even a playmaking big man like Indiana Hoosiers star Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Either way, an underrated aspect of this deal could be the chemistry between Sexton and Bradley Beal, two players who care about winning and improving as much as anyone. If Sexton and Beal were to learn how to play off of each other like Beal and John Wall once did, then D.C. will be electrified by the backcourt.