November 27, 2015

Washington Wizards: WAY too early predictions for 2015-16 Season

(Photo by: Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

(Photo by: Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

We are a day away from the return of the NBA where the Wizards will be in the Magic Kingdom to take on a young Orlando squad. Before we take a nose dive into the start of the season, lets look out somethings that we could expect when we reflect back after the season is over (hopefully in late June).

Based on the offensive performance we saw during the preseason when the Washington Wizards flashed their new look small ball lineup, I am feeling really confident about their potential a year before Kevin Durant potentially returns home to DC. The following are five way too early (and optimistic) predictions for the Wizards this season, barring any major injuries like John Wall having multiple non-displaced fractures in his wrist during the playoffs.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards: Roster Finalized After Five Training Camp Invites Waived

The Washington Wizards went into training camp with 15 guaranteed contracts and brought in another five talented players to fill out the allowed 20 man squad. Today when the team was forced to trim their roster down to the max 15 man rotation ahead of the season opener on Wednesday, all five of the training camp invites, center Josh Harrellson, guard Jaron Johnson, guard Toure Murry, center Jaleel Roberts, and guard Ish Smith, were waived.

Washington had real talent in the five players they brought in and are going to hate letting them go back in the market without the lure of a developmental league team.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Centers

(Photo by Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports)

Although the idea of a small ball offense often relies on four shooters across the perimeter, there is a big role for the long post presence to take advantage of the extra space he has to work in down low. For the Washington Wizards, they will lean on the Polish Machine Marcin Gortat as the starting center. In a major change from last year, it looks like the big Brazilian Nene will come off the bench and play primarily in a backup center role that Kevin Seraphin has vacated. Though Wittman has preached not to read too much into preseason line ups, it seems all but inevitable that the Wizards will avoid having two prototypical big men on the court at the same time.

For Marcin Gortat, who hopes to become more consistent throughout the length season, he loves the idea that he will have more space to work in the post. Gortat knows that he will adjust his game to move more without the ball and even be more of a distributor to one of the four perimeter shooters. In his two seasons in DC, Gortat has been an iron man for the Wizards by missing just two games and provides a consistent 12.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. The hope is that Gortat will be able to pass out of double teams to open shooters and/or increase his 55.4 percent shooting from the field because of the additional space he has to work with to beat his man.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Power Forward

The Wizards’ power forward position may be the most talked-about position on the team (and perhaps around the league) this offseason. It also may be the biggest mystery. The Wizards experienced success vs. the Raptors and the Hawks in the postseason by utilizing Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, and Otto Porter as a “stretch 4” alongside Marcin Gortat, rather than putting Nene at the 4 for a more slow, powerful offense.

With the emergence of Porter during the playoffs, the emphasis Kris Humphries has made on shooting 3-pointers, and the acquisition of veteran Jared Dudley, Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman are obviously going for a more modern, stretch 4 design. This Golden State Warriors-esque strategy showed so much success with players like Draymond Green, a guy who could body up in the paint and defend, but also step back and hit from 25 feet. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Small Forward

With the loss of “The Truth” Paul Pierce, many people think the Washington Wizards are going to take a step back this season, but anyone who carefully watched how Otto Porter performed in the playoffs knows the team will be just fine. Along with Porter, the Wizards smartly moved up in the draft to select Kelly Oubre Jr., used their mid-level exception to sign Alan Anderson, and still have a now healthy Martell Webster on the roster. For the discussion in this article, we will not consider Gary Neal or Jared Dudley as small forwards although they probably will find themselves playing the wing position during the season.

In the playoffs, Otto Porter, the former 3rd overall pick out of hometown Georgetown, turned into the player Washington expected out of him two years ago. His development was hindered for much of his rookie season because of an early hip injury; however under the mentorship of future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, Porter grew up quickly.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Shooting Guards

The shooting guard position for the Washington Wizards inevitably begins and ends on the performance of fourth-year man Bradley Beal. Beal is one of the most talented young athletes in the NBA, and has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famers like Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. He has a sweet shooting stroke and has shown more aggressiveness on defense and off the dribble, especially in last year’s playoffs.

Unfortunately, a couple of factors have led to the former University of Florida star to still be known as an “up-and-comer” rather than a full-fledged star like his backcourt counterpart, John Wall. First, nagging injuries have cut into each of his first three seasons. Beal has missed 54 out of 246 games since 2013, and as it normally goes in the NBA, injuries can be killer to a player’s stat line. Beal has been relegated to minute limits and coming off the bench at times, and his career points average of 15.6 could be much higher if he were in the lineup on a more consistent basis. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Point Guards

It is common knowledge now; John Wall is one of the best point guards in basketball right now, arguably in the same tier as the elite Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul. With the proneness to injury of Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, to me there is no question that the Washington Wizards boast the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

Although Wall is a solid scorer and even better distributor with of the basketball, he cannot play 48 minutes a game during an 82 game season; it is physically impossible. That is where eight-year veteran Ramon Sessions, 29, comes into play. Sessions told me during Wizards Media Day, that he feels great about knowing what system he is going to be playing in the following season during the offseason.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards 2015 Media Day Need to Know: Using Small Ball to get to Eastern Conference Finals

Below you will find everything you need to know from all of the Washington Wizards players, organized by position. The major theme from all parties, which was presumed by the free agent acquisitions, was that the goal is to get past the second round of the playoffs and the team will follow the trend set out by the Golden State Warriors of going small to spread the floor.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards Resign Veteran Drew Gooden as Roster becomes Complete


Drew Gooden, 33, has been a big part of the Wizards playoff run the past two seasons. As a result, not only did Washington resign the Kansas graduate to a veterans minimum ($1.5 million), but they signed him to a one year deal worth $3.3 million.

With the trade acquisition of Jared Dudley, which became official today once the moratorium was lifted, the Wizards have a stretch four. However, Dudley is not the greatest of rebounders, averaging just over 5 boards in a 36 minute period in his career. With the Wizards only having two big men that Randy Wittman trusts to play during the playoffs: Marcin Gortat and Nene, it made sense for Washington to add another big man.

Gooden has a natural drive and energy he brings to the team. At 6′ 10”, the veteran stretch four always seemed to be soaring into the Verizon Center rafters to corral loose balls against the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs. Gooden might only be credited with 3.1 win shares for the Wizards over the past two regular seasons, but his 46.2 percent (12/26) shooting from beyond the arc last postseason to go along with his 5.5 rebounds per game in limited playing time was key. His performance in high leverage situations as well as his likability in the locker room made this a no-brainer. Gooden is clearly happy to be back.

Other teammates likes Wizards leader John Wall also is joyful about the move.

The Wizards now have the maximum of 15 players currently under contract meaning there is little likelihood, at the moment, of signing an additional player off of the summer league team besides first round pick Kelly Oubre. Unless the Wizards are able to offload the contracts of Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, and even last year’s starting power forward Nene, who currently do not fit into the way the Wizards are shaping their team, rookies like Dez Wells might have to look for work elsewhere.

UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Alan Anderson, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

The Wizards are now fully committed to the small ball mentality that the NBA’s best teams are transitioning to with their free agency acquisitions of Jared Dudley, Gary NealAlan Anderson, and now Drew Gooden.

For the latest on the rest of the Washington Wizards offseason building up to the start of the regular season, come back and visit District Sports Page regularly.

Washington Wizards sign Alan Anderson to use Mid-Level Exception as Free Agency Winds Down


The Washington Wizards have lost Paul Pierce, acquired Jared Dudley, signed Gary Neal, and now added Alan Anderson as another piece of the puzzle heading into the 2015-2016 season. With these three acquisitions Washington has used up their larger trade, bi-annual, and most of the mid-level exceptions hinting towards the possible end of major transactions during the free agency festivities. Anderson declined a player option with the Brooklyn Nets that would have paid out a mere $1.3 million.

After losing out on veteran PF David West talents to the Spurs, Ernie Grunfeld wasted little time to use up the MLE on what many considered the best wing option still available in Anderson. Anderson will only receive part of the Wizards mid-level exception ($5.5 million) meaning that the team could use the remaining $1.5 million to sign another player. Such an amount might not be much to some, but it would be similar to the veterans minimum that David West settled for. The remaining portion can be used to sign another player. The signing will not be official until the NBA moratorium is lifted on July 9, similar to Jared Dudley’s situation.

Alan Anderson, 32, is a 6′ 6” wing defender out of Michigan State and has plenty of experience both in the NBA and overseas. Anderson is another shooter for the Wizards as he is 34.6 percent from beyond the arc for his career including 252 made threes over the past three years. Anderson was also big in the playoffs last year for the Nets as a bench player by averaging 11 points in 24 minutes a game. Like The Truth, Anderson heated up in the postseason with a ridiculous 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) shooting from three. Possibly even more importantly for Anderson was his versatility and ability to effectively defend against the rest of the league’s premier wing players like LeBron James, similarly to Jared Dudley.

With the additions of Anderson, Neal, and Dudley, the Wizards have deepened their team at the 2, 3, and 4 positions. Anderson will be the most comfortable at the SF position and by backing up rising star Otto Porter , the Wizards can ease Kelly Oubre’s development with limited playing time. The move also allows Dudley to play primarily at the PF position, though possibly in a non-starter role. Washington has obtained versatility, wing depth, and shooting without forfeiting any future cap space for next year’s run at Kevin Durant.

UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Alan Anderson, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

Washington currently has 14 players under contract and have limited big bodies to rebound the ball at the moment. Although the Wizards have previously opted to leave a roster spot open for a strong Summer League performer such as Rasual Butler last year or Dez Wells this year,  there is a strong possibility that the Wizards will take the $1.5 million left of their mid-level exception and re-sign Drew Gooden. Gooden has preformed well for the Wizards the past two years, especially in the playoffs, and excels in rebounding because of his energy.

Unprobable at the moment, the Wizards may try to move the likes of Martell Webster of DeJuan Blair because of their near certainty of no playing time, as projected by the late stages of last season. Such would bode well for former Terp Dez Wells or another young standout in the upcoming Summer League. To make sure you are aware of the latest Wizards developments, check back on District Sports Page frequently.

%d bloggers like this: