With training camp starting later this month, we at NBC Sports are previewing the season for each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we look at three players who may spend a lot of time in the G-League: Devin Robinson, Thomas Bryant and Jordan McRae.
Player: SF Devin Robinson
2018-19 salary: Two-way contract
2017-18 stats: 1 G, 13.0 mpg, 2.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 33.3FG%, 00.0 3P%, 00.0 FT%, 33.3 eFG%, 103 ORtg, 102 DRtg
2018-19 storyline: Devin Robinson was part of the very first year of NBA two-way contracts, as the Wizards signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Florida last summer. Now he enters year two hoping to make more of an impact than he did as a rookie. Robinson appeared in just one game last season for the Wizards.
In the Las Vegas Summer League this July, Robinson shined and displayed development in all parts of his game. He flashed some polish to go along with his obvious and rare athletic traits. The question now is whether he is ready to get a more extended look at the NBA level, or if he will have to get used to leading the Capital City Go-Go each and every night.
Wizards executives and coaches will acknowledge that Robinson was impressive in Summer League, but they only put so much stock into performances in Las Vegas. Though he may have raised his stock significantly among fans, that’s not going to be the basis of their evaluation. They want to see him gain muscle, develop more as a ball-handler and continue to adapt to his new shooting mechanics, which they installed this past season to raise his release point.
If the Wizards’ roster was constructed more like it was last year, Robinson would have a clearer path to getting minutes. But this year, they have added depth in their frontcourt and it’s hard to see Robinson passing rookie Troy Brown, Jr. at small forward, where the Wizards are deeper than at any other position.
The safest expectation for Robinson this season is to make a lot of noise for the G-League team and be promoted as their star player.
Potential to improve: Gain weight, ball-handling, rebounding
Player: C Thomas Bryant
2018-19 salary: $1.4 million
2017-18 stats: 15 G, 4.8 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.1 bpg, 38.1 FG%, 10.0 3P%, 55.6 FT%, 40.5 eFG%, 100 ORtg, 108 DRtg
2018-19 storyline: Amid all the hype for their trade for Austin Rivers and their signing of Dwight Howard and Jeff Green, the Wizards made a minor move on the second day of free agency by claiming Thomas Bryant off waivers from the L.A. Lakers. He was a second round pick just last summer out of Indiana University, where he attended as a highly prized recruit.
Bryant’s career at Indiana didn’t live up to expectations and he only played 15 games for the Lakers, but the long-term potential is enticing. The Wizards basically acquired a project who could convey as a diamond in the rough someday down the road.
Bryant did have some success last year in the G-League, as he was named first-team all-league and to the rookie team. He averaged 19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot 36.4 percent from three for the South Bay Lakers. That latter is a particularly good sign for a guy who measures in at 6-foot-10.
Like Robinson, Bryant will probably spend much of his time in the G-League once Go-Go training camp begins. He is a raw talent on the outside of the rotation looking in. The Wizards have Howard and Ian Mahinmi set at center with Jason Smith behind them. They can also opt to go small and use guys like Markieff Morris at the five spot.
Bryant should thrive at the G-League level and could set himself up for a more important role the following season. There is also the potential for an opportunity to come from injury. If either Howard or Mahinmi goes down, Bryant could get the call-up.
Regardless, the fact the Wizards can afford someone like Bryant the playing time to continue developing at the G-League level is a huge bonus. The Wizards believe they can get their young players to log at least 1,000 to 1,400 minutes this season between the two leagues. Bryant can hit that mark if he stays healthy, strictly by being a key cog for the Go-Go.
Potential to improve: Rim protection, rebounding, finishing at rim
Player: SG Jordan McRae
2018-19 salary: Two-way contract
2017-18 stats: (didn’t play in NBA)
2018-19 storyline: The toughest guy to set expectations for on the Wizards’ 2018-19 roster has to be Jordan McRae and the answer could be to not expect much at all when it comes to the NBA level. He will likely be with the team until G-League training camp starts, as the two-way contract clock doesn’t begin until then. But the path to playing time for McRae does not appear to be there as of now.
McRae is a shooting guard and the Wizards are pretty set at the position. They have an All-Star in Bradley Beal and an unusually capable backup in Rivers. Plus, Brown can play some at the two and then there’s Jodie Meeks, who will certainly be motivated to bounce back this year with free agency on the horizon.
That said, McRae is a bit older than the typical two-way player, so he’s not a long-term project. And he also had two years of NBA experience to draw from, including time with the NBA champion 2016 Cavaliers.
Beyond those facts, helping McRae’s cause are two things. One is that he has shot well from three in the NBA with a 38.4 career percentage. The other is that he has a 7-foot-1 wingspan despite standing 6-foot-6. If injuries pave the way and the Wizards are looking for length and athleticism, he could fit the bill.
The most likely scenario for McRae is a lot of time with the Go-Go. He was a G-League All-Star for the 2015-16 season and is the type of veteran who could help usher along the Wizards’ young prospects.
Potential to improve: Forcing turnovers, field goal percentage, rebounding
2018-19 WIZARDS ROSTER OUTLOOK: