The Washington Wizards had a terrible start to the 2020-21 NBA season. They began with a 3-12 record after losing Thomas Bryant to a season-ending injury. Westbrook also had a shaky start with niggling injury troubles. Their second star, Bradley Beal, was a dominant scoring force throughout much of the season. It took a spirited second-half revival from the Wizards to send them to the play-in tournament and eventually the playoffs.
After getting dominated by the Philadelphia 76ers in round 1 of the playoffs, the Wizards will need to bring in comprehensive changes in order to make a better run next season.
2021 NBA Playoffs: 3 offseason needs for the Washington Wizards after their elimination
The Washington Wizards have a number of players who will be free agents at the end of the season. It seems unlikely that they will fall below the luxury tax threshold and have access to the full $9.5 million mid-level exception. Washington Wizards GM Tony Sheppherd recently suggested that they plan to pay the luxury tax this year. He asserted that they are not afraid to make wholesale changes to the roster, although that seems unnecessary. Regardless, the Wizards will need to move on from some of their players, and should also be looking to dip into the free agency market in the offseason.
Without further ado, we look at the three offseason needs that the Washington Wizards need to fulfill:
#1 Keeping hold of stars and re-signing important role players
Bradley Beal in particular is expected to attract a lot of interest from other NBA teams in the offseason. However, the Washington Wizards will be looking to keep their two stars together and re-sign some key role players in the offseason.
The likes of Raul Neto, Alex Len and Garrison Mathews are all hitting free agency in the offseason and the Wizards will be keen to re-sign at least two of them. All three of them can also be viewed as trading pieces that the Wizards re-sign just to move on to bring in reinforcements.
Coach Scott Brooks has suggested that he trusts his young players with the likes of Rui Hachimura and Daniel Gafford impressing in the second half of the season. Additionally, Thomas Bryant is also expected to return next season. That leaves the Washington Wizards in need of perimeter defenders and possibly a back-up guard to potentially contend for the title. The front office has suggested that they will be open to acquiring another superstar, although that will result in multiple players going the other way.
#2 Adding depth and size to the roster
The Washington Wizards were dominated by the Philadelphia 76ers for large parts of the playoff series. The difference in size between the two teams allowed the 76ers’ offense to take charge of proceedings. Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid were the biggest beneficiaries and produced big performances.
The Wizards will be looking to add perimeter defenders and have in Davis Bertans an under-performing player who is earning over $15 million a year. Additionally, Chandler Hutchinson hasn’t had a big impact and might also be seen as an asset that they can use to bring in reinforcements. Depending on how many free agents the Washington Wizards end up re-signing, they should be looking to add size and depth to their roster. That should be in addition to a back-up guard, especially if Raul Neto ends up leaving.
#3 "3 and D" players
The Washington Wizards are also short on "3 and D" players, and shirking Davis Bertans’ contract might help them go further into the market than potential superstars or multiple reinforcements. However, neither Dani Advija nor Chandler Hutchinson have had a huge impact and Bertans’ future is up in the air despite impressing with his shooting in spurts.
The free agency market provides another option for the Washington Wizards to acquire another weak area on the roster. Multiple players, including Reggie Bullock, Duncan Robinson and Tony Snell, are all potential free agents who will be an upgrade for the Washington Wizards.