Wizards

Quick Links

Best unrestricted free-agent point guards to help Wizards back up John Wall

Best unrestricted free-agent point guards to help Wizards back up John Wall

John Wall and Bradley Beal were uniform in their message about where the Wizards were lacking in 2016-17, and it was the backups in a 49-win season. 

In a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Wizards relied on Beal for 45 minutes and Wall, who shot 0-for-11 in tthe second half, for 44. 

Specifically, let's focus on point guards. Trey Burke couldn't do the the job early in the season and coach Scott Brooks had to find ways to take the ball out of his hands to keep him on the floor. Then the Wizards signed Brandon Jennings as a free agent, who had better moments but remained a low-efficiency shooter and defensive liability. 

They represented a major step down from Ramon Sessions, who spent the previous two seasons behind Wall. Sessions, however, was a shoot-first point guard who lacked three-point range and wasn't strong on pick-and-roll coverages.

The Wizards don't have a lot of cap room so whoever they bring in has to be relatively affordable and willing to accept a backup role. If they require starters' minutes or money, they're not an option with Wall firmly in place.

5. Ty Lawson (Kings): The 5-11 point guard had a bit of a bounce back season. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 assists. Lawson doesn't stretch the floor as well as others on this list, shooting a career-low 28.8% from three-point range in 69 appearances. His issues with alcohol has made him a risky proposition for most teams but he was formerly a quality starter who probably can be had for a reasonable price. He earned the vet minimum $1.3 million.

[RELATED: NBA Draft: Targets for Wizards In Round Two]

4. Deron Williams (Mavs/Cavs): A 6-3 point guard, he accepted a reduced role to compete for a championship with 11.0 points, 5.6 assists and 36.3% three-point shooting. His final year of his deal netted him $14.8 million but that'll plummet signficantly if he hopes to continue playing for contenders. On the downside, he'll be 33 and can be injury-prone.

3. Darren Collison (Kings): Also a 6-foot point guard, Collison averaged 13.2 points, 4.6 assists and a career-high 41.7% from three-point range. He also started 64 games in earning $5.2 million. He has been a backup most of his career. 

2. Shaun Livingston (Warriors): The biggest point guard on this list, the Wizard had the 6-7 Livingston as he tried to rebuild his career after a catastrophic knee injury but he was cut by Randy Wittnan during the 2012-13 season. He's averaging just 5.1 points off the bench for Golden State and isn't a three-point shooter but he can get his own shot. He shot 54.7% from the field overall in earning $5.7 million. 

1. Patty Mills (Spurs): A 6-foot point guard, he averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 assists and shot 41.3% from three-point range in his sixth season in San Antonio. Mills earned $3.2 million in 22 minutes per game off the bench. He can handle the ball, run the offense, stretch the floor and has developed into a good perimeter defender. Mills has never started more than eight games in his eight-year career.

(Langston Galloway might've made this list but he has a player option with the Kings. He could hit the unrestricted free agent market, too.)

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast - Breaking down a possible Wall extension]

Quick Links

Bobby Portis replacing Thomas Bryant in starting lineup, Scott Brooks announces

bobby-portis-thomas-bryant-wizards-usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Bobby Portis replacing Thomas Bryant in starting lineup, Scott Brooks announces

The Wizards' starting five is gonna look a little different Saturday night. 

Bobby Portis will replace Thomas Bryant as Washington's starting center against the Pacers, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters before the game. 

Per Brooks, the Wizards want to "see what we have" in Portis, who will be a restriced free agent this summer. 

With his team having lost eight of their last 11, this tweak signals Brooks will be looking to switch it up as the Wizards' playoff hopes begin to dim. Washington sits four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Portis, who came over from the Bulls in the Otto Porter trade, has averaged 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in five contests since joining the Wizards. He's been particularly lethal from beyond the arc, knocking down 50 percent of his three-point attempts.

Bryant has filled in admirably as the starting center this season with Dwight Howard dealing with a back injury. In 49 games (43 starts), he's averaged 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. 

For the Pacers, center Myles Turner has been officially ruled out of Saturday's game with a hip injury. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Reeling Wizards hope to shift momentum in playoff race as they host red-hot Pacers

Reeling Wizards hope to shift momentum in playoff race as they host red-hot Pacers

The Wizards' playoff hopes just keep taking hits. Washington fell on Friday night in their first game back from the All-Star break, making that eight losses in 11 games. Meanwhile, the eighth-seed Pistons won, pushing the Wizards to four games back from a playoff spot.

With 23 games remaining in their season, the odds are increasingly stacked against the Wizards making the playoffs, a goal they maintain despite the injuries that have plagued them so far. 

Basketball-Reference.com handicaps postseason chances and the Wizards currently hold a higher likelihood of winning the draft lottery (7%) than they did making the playoffs (4.8%). 

If teams maintain their current course for the remainder of the regular season, the threshold to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference should fall somewhere close to 39 wins. The Pistons are on pace for 38.8 wins as they sit in the final spot.

At 24-35, the Wizards need to go 15-8 from here on out to get to 39. That's a .652 win percentage. Basically, the Wizards would have to play at a 53-win pace for more than a quarter of a season.

For a team that has shown no signs recently of going on an extended run, that seems highly unlikely. For it to happen, they would need a sudden defensive overhaul.

Their offense, even in this 11-game skid, has been fine. During this stretch, they have been third in the NBA in points per game (118.8), second in field goal percentage (49) and eighth in offensive rating (114).

The defense has been an unmitigated disaster. They have surrendered more points than any team (123.4) and the highest field goal percentage (49.5) and three-point percentage (42). 

The Wizards found salary cap relief in their deals before the trade deadline, but didn't add much in the way of a defensive upgrade. 

Jabari Parker is known for his scoring and made headlines earlier this year about how teams don't pay players for defense. Bobby Portis, though a capable rebounder, doesn't block a good deal of shots. 

Looking at their current roster, it's hard to see where the defensive upgrade will come from. Guys like Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza can't stop teams on their own.

The Wizards did not get off to a good start after the All-Star break with their loss to the Hornets, but will get another chance quickly as they host the Indiana Pacers for a 7 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Washington.

The Pacers, who hold the No. 3 seed in the East at the moment, charge in having won seven of their last eight games. Technically, it represents an opportunity for the Wizards to punch back against a playoff team, though they will take a win against anyone at this point.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: