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John Wall says Wizards need more athletic big men

John Wall, Marcin Gortat

After bowing out to the Toronto Raptors in the first round (their worst playoff finish in four of the last five years), the Washington Wizards are back to the drawing board. With the front office consulting backcourt mate Bradley Beal on some offseason targets, it is clear that the team would be moving forward with at least the dynamic duo in tow.

Which players the team has on their radar and how they expect to obtain said players are a question mark at this point, although if you ask John Wall he already has plenty in mind. During the Wizards exit interview, the 2010 first overall pick outlined what the team should be looking for. Although he felt that the team is in need of serious depth, Wall felt like there should be an emphasis on athleticism in their frontline.

“Just got to add some pieces. A lot, to be honest. There’s a lot that we can use … I think it’s pretty obvious. I don’t need to point it out. I think the way the league is going, you need athletic bigs, you need scoring off the bench, you need all of those types of things. We don’t really have an athletic big. I mean, Ian [Mahinmi] is older. [Marcin Gortat] is older. They’re not athletic guys, but they do the little things that permit their game to help as much as possible.”

Although the Wizards didn’t lose to the Raptors due to the opposing team’s frontcourt (the averages of their bigs’ were solid but unspectacular), gone are the days of Gortat and Mahinmi who are mostly rim protectors that score exclusively inside. The direction of the NBA is trending towards centers that play a lot smaller – they have to be more mobile and athletic to contest in space or defend switches, and they need to be able to stretch the floor on offense. And the Wizards would certainly need those if they hope to go deeper next time around or perhaps even make it to the postseason in the vastly improving Association.