The Washington Wizards got All-Star Bradley Beal to sign a long-term contract extension. But the Wizards may have once again found themselves in NBA purgatory with a roster construction that confounds basketball analysts about what direction the team is headed.
“I just don’t know where they’re going from here,” The Ringer’s Zach Lowe said of the Wizards on the July 12 edition of “The Lowe Post” podcast.
“I would say their starting five next year is Monte Morris, Badley Beal, Kyle Kazuma, I’ll guess Deni Avdija, and then [Kristaps] Porzingis. With a bench unit of Delon Wright, Corey Kispert, Rui Hachimura, Will Barton, and Daniel Gafford,” Lowe said. “And they’re capped out going forward, they owe a 1st-round pick, they owe Bradley Beal a gazillion dollars on a no-trade clause.”
And on Beal, he added that the Wizards “missed the boat on trading him when his value was at an all-time high in 2019 and 2020” and “now his trade value is, probably, frankly, at an all-time low on this contract.”
“[Beal] is not the best player on a great team, the jury has already returned its verdict on that. I think he can be the second-best player on a great team,” he said. “But he can’t be the best player on a great team.”
Having said all that, Lowe added he doesn’t know what the Wizards are supposed to do now or where the team is going?
“The future here is they’re almost like the Knicks in that they have all these young players that nobody quite knows what to make of,” he said. “And their only move, if they keep Beal, is to somehow compile some of those players and whatever picks they can trade into… a Damian Lillard or somebody who can help their team, a superstar x. I just don’t know if they can win the bidding for that player even against the Knicks, who have way more draft equity.”
ESPN’s NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks added this insight on the decision to include a no-trade clause in Beal’s contract: “The no-trade clause sent a tremor through the NBA last week” and with Beal now in control of his future, the Wizards need one of their young players to blossom. Unfortunately for Washington, “there’s no blue chip prospects on their roster.”
On Avdija, Lowe said he has “a good feel for the game” and a “good rebounder for a small forward,” but “16% usage rate, probably profiles as a good role player.”
On Hachimura, who only played just 42 games in his third NBA season, Lowe said he shoots "45% from 3" but he's a "terrible passer, terrible rebounder, terrible defender, takes too many long 2s. I think he’s gonna become an OK to good player… nobody knows what to make of him."
Lowe said Kispert “can shoot, but nobody knows what to make of him beyond that.” Marks added Johnny Davis, who the Wizards selected with the No. 10 overall pick of this year’s draft, he has not shined in a few appearances at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and said he “struggled.”
Marks added that everything has to line up right for the Wizards to be a six or seven seed in the Eastern Conference.
“I just don’t know how they build a good defense with this roster," Lowe said.
The only way to “bail out” is to trade Beal down the line, Lowe added, except “they just sort of voluntarily sabotaged his trade value, which I just don’t know what the next move is for them.”
Listen to the full episode of "The Lowe Post" here.