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Examining the Wizards' evolving depth chart


Examining the Wizards' evolving depth chart

The idea and partial execution of looking directly at the Wizards depth chart occurred shortly before the Washington Wizards' latest move, signing shooting guard Gary Neal. Before another transaction occurs, let's look at where the roster stands on Day 3 of NBA free agency. Projected starters are in italics. Note that signings and trades are not official until July 9:

As a reminder, entering the offseason, the Wizards' four biggest needs included a stretch-4, wing depth, a reserve center and doing all of this without jeopardizing salary cap space for a run at free agent Kevin Durant in 2016.

Power forward: Nene, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair

Small forwardOtto Porter, Jared Dudley, Kelly Oubre Jr.

CenterMarcin Gortat

Off guardBradley Beal, Gary Neal, Martell Webster

Point guardJohn Wall, Ramon Sessions, Garrett Temple

That's 13 players with two spots open. 

  • Trading for the 6-foot-7 Dudley gives the Wizards a perimeter shooting forward capable of playing the 4-spot. New Clipper Paul Pierce and free agent Drew Gooden filled that role last season.

  • Oubre, Washington's first round pick, is the obvious headliner addition, but even the team acknowledges the athletic forward is a long-term project. Neal provides the roster with another wing shooter. The former Towson product is a career 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc. As a streaky offensive option, Neal can carry the second unit here and there (streaky goes both ways, of course, but the team won't be overly dependent on him game to game.) The Wizards can mix and match in the backcourt with Sessions, Neal and Garrett Temple. Webster's health and perimeter prowess makes him a total wild card in the equation.

  • Dudley and Neal join Washington with one-year contracts, meaning 2016 cap space remains unchanged.

As for the remaining two spots:

  • The backup center remains uncertain unless the team is insistent Nene plays the bulk of his minutes there. Regardless, the Wizards could use another big body to replace free agent Kevin Seraphin, especially considering Nene's injury history. Free agent forward David West isn't rim protector, but reports persist that Washington is aiming for the 34-year power forward. Gooden played center on occasion last season and would provide the offense with another deep shooting threat, but remains far from a true banger inside.

  • Last season the Wizards left the 15th spot open until training camp, in case a rookie or free agent (Rasual Butler) proved worthy of rostering. Expect a similar plan this year unless a can't-pass option presents itself soon. Maryland guard and undrafted rookie Dez Wells, part of the Wizards summer league squad, is thought to have a strong shot at making the roster. Swingman Damion James, point guard Toure' Murry and second round draft pick Aaron White are also players to monitor during summer league. Pre-season injuries could swing the direction of the final roster spot.
  • As we saw during the playoffs, rotations can change and they certainly do tighten. Depth gets you through the 82-game grind and maintains production when injuries occur. Here's a likely eight-man playoff rotation:

Starting five - Nene, Porter, Gortat, Beal, Wall

Next three - Dudley, Humphries/new big man, Sessions/ or Neal/Webster/Temple

For all the roster talk, just remember that the Wizards will go as far as Wall, Beal and good fortune take them. 


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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ian Mahinmi

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ian Mahinmi

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Ian Mahinmi's season...

Player: Ian Mahinmi

Position: Center

Age: 31

2017-18 salary: $15.9 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.9 mpg, 4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 55.6 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 70.3 FT%, 55.6 eFG%, 107 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/12 vs. Magic - 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, steal, assist, 7-for-8 FG, 3-for-4 FT

Season review: After missing 51 games in the 2016-17 season, the first of his four-year contract with the Wizards, center Ian Mahinmi managed to stay healthy for the entirety of 2017-18. He appeared in 77 games and gave the Wizards a good look at the player they signed to a $64 million deal in free agency.

Mahinmi was a mainstay in the Wizards' rotation as their backup center. While Marcin Gortat started all 82 games at center, Mahinmi at times got the nod late in games as head coach Scott Brooks favored his defense.

Though Mahinmi was available all season, he still fell short of the numbers he put up in his last year in Indiana, in 2015-16. Mahinmi's minutes per game were his fewest since 2010-11, and his points and rebounds were his fewest since 2013-14. 

Mahinmi's numbers were affected by his low minutes, as he could never quite crack the top six or seven spots in Brooks' rotation. His numbers per 36 minutes, however, were on par with how he played in Indiana before the Wizards signed him to a big contract.

2015-16 per 36: 13.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.3 spg

2017-18 per 36: 11.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.2 spg

That, of course, only means so much. Mahinmi may have been relatively efficient with his minutes, but the consistency wasn't there to convince Brooks and the coaching staff to increase his role.

It will be interesting to see what the team plans for Mahinmi next season, as this summer could bring changes to their frontcourt. Both of their starting big men - Gortat and Markieff Morris - have one year left on their contracts. If Gortat in particular is dealt, that could open the door for Mahinmi to earn more playing time.

The Wizards could also add to their frontcourt through the draft. If they get a rim-protecting big man in the first round, that could be bad news for Mahinmi's playing time. Like several Wizards players, Mahinmi's role is up in the air entering this summer.

Potential to improve: Finishing around rim, consistency, limiting fouls

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

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