Persistence allowed the Washington Wizards to change the culture of the franchise this year and now would be a good time for them to find a few more pieces that can help this squad become a Eastern Conference superpower in the future.
New Dynamic Duo of the NBA
The emergence of John Wall and Bradley Beal is something that cannot be praised enough. The maturation process was extremely evident as both players stepped up big in their first playoff experience. These two guards really hopped into stardom with no hesitation. Wall went from an injury-prone athlete with great potential to a legitimate star point guard and Bradley Beal has become one of the brightest shooting guards in the NBA in just his second year.
Look at the numbers from the dynamic duo of Wall and Beal this season. Wall averaged a career-high in assists(8.8), free-throw percentage(80.5%) and three-point percentage(35.1%), while scoring 19.3 points a game in the regular season. Beal averaged 13.9 points in his rookie year but upped that average by scoring 17.1 points a game this year. Honestly, there are not too many guard combos that are as lethal as Wall and Beal. On top of that, Wall is only 23 and Beal is a baby by NBA standards at just 20 years old! Oh yeah,this will definitely be a scary duo next year and hopefully they can grow together in the distant future.
Superheroes Need Sidekicks
The Wizards will have to throw eight guys into the free agency pool this summer. However, this gives them the chance to revamp their roster and possibly bring in a nice draft pick.
Wall and Beal cannot take the Wizards back to the playoffs alone next year. The Wizards will still have the Brazilian warrior Nenê down low but there is some speculation going around about the Wizards’ possible decision to not re-sign center Marcin Gortat. Gortat played well this season and had a monster performance of 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Pacers in game 5 of the second round. Rumors circulating around the NBA say that the Wizards could sign Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe. Monroe is a solid big man, who is probably a bit more skilled than Gortat. Nonetheless, the Wizards need another big man to round out the starting five. Either Monroe or Gortat will do. Who knows? Maybe somebody will take the backseat out of the two and the Wizards can have a monster big man rotation.
On top of Gortat becoming a free agent, the Wizards have seven other players to make decisions on. Of those seven players, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Al Harrington and Drew Gooden are the players that the Wizards should keep. Ariza is a utility player that brings a nice dosage of offense and defense to the table. Harrington and Gooden are two basketball savvy veterans who can be very valuable, especially in the postseason and that Booker kid is an absolute hustler. The Wizards should consider keeping these four players because they do the dirty work and are always ready when their numbers are called.
Chris Singleton, Garrett Temple and Kevin Seraphin are the other free agents. Unfortunately, these guys have to go! Clear up some roster space. Get a couple of draft picks or something. The Wizards are a threat now and in order to keep the good times going, they have no room to carry dead weight.
The Wizards have to keep their momentum going. As of now, Wall, Beal and Nenê are the returning starters for the Wizards next year. Will Ariza and Gortat re-sign with the Wizards this summer? Or will the Wizards make some new deals with other talents around the league like Monroe? Maybe the Wizards can re-sign Ariza and Gortat and snag a couple of new players via free agency. This should be interesting to watch as the off-season unfolds and the Wizards try to protect their reputation. Wow! The Wizards have a reputation to protect… times are really changing.
Free agency info: www.detroitbadboys.com