With free agency and the NBA Draft now behind us, the Washington Wizards have definitely had an eventful week of the new league year.
I previously wrote about 3 moves to help the Washington Wizards, and they made a few moves. Some surprised me, but a lot made sense as well.
1. Re-signing Davis Bertans: This was a no brainier. The Wizards essentially stole Davis Bertans from the Spurs, so they needed to bring him back. He got a five year/$80M deal, with a player option for year five. Bertans provides a viable third scoring option, and his shooting ability helps spread the floor for John Wall and Bradley Beal. He probably won’t start many games next year after starting in just 4 last season, but Bertans is a solid bench player who can play in the clutch.
2. Drafting/signing a small forward: Deni Avdija was Washington’s first round pick, taken 9th overall. Washington thought they had no chance at the Israeli forward, but he fell right to them, and I could not be happier.
Avdija stands 6’9″ and is one of the best talents to come out of Europe. I know nothing about the kid, but a lot of scouts have high praise for him, calling Deni a draft steal. He “wowed” the Golden State Warriors in his workout with them, and many experts had him going in the top 5, but he fell all the way to the Wizards.
You might be asking yourself “if he’s so good, why did he fall outside the top 5, and almost out the top 10?” Apparently, he only worked out for a selected few teams, and Washington was one of the few he worked out for, as GM Tommy Shepard has been keeping an eye on Avdija since he was 16 years old.
3. I wanted them to get better at protecting the rim, and they responded by signing Robin Lopez away from the Milwaukee Bucks. Is he the best rim protector in the NBA? No. I think he’s a good veteran presence in the locker room to help teach the young guys how to be better on the defensive end. GM Tommy Shepard said that Thomas Bryant is their big man for the future, which I think is the correct way to go about this.
He just turned 23 this past July so he still has plenty of room to develop as a big man in the NBA, he’s making only $17M over the next two seasons, and he has very good offensive skills for a big man. Averaging 13-7 in limited action, and finished averaged 18.5-9 in the bubble when the NBA restarted the season. He also shot 53% from the field, while also shooting 40% from three (while making about two threes per game). I haven’t even mentioned his defensive stats, averaging two blocks and 1.5 steals per game in the bubble. Can you attribute his to there being no John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Davis Bertans? Probably, but he’s still very young and talented, so having him as the big man for the future is the way to go.