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One on one: Wizards biggest roster concern is...?


One on one: Wizards biggest roster concern is...?

With the intense NBA offseason cooling down, there is time for reflection on what the Washington Wizards accomplished and a chance to look at the road ahead. For the next couple of weeks, CSNwashington.com Insider J. Michael and Wizards correspondent Ben Standig will examine various issues and answer questions as the Wizards move toward the 2015-16 campaign.

Simple question - What is your biggest concern with the roster at this point? 

J. Michael: Depth at center behind Marcin Gortat. Granted, the NBA is a copycat league and the proliferation of small-ball teams has resulted in the devaluing of bigs on the open market. But you still need two who can play in the low post. 

If Gortat gets injured, the only ones who can fill in behind him are DeJuan Blair, who isn’t starting quality, and Nene who is injury-prone and not thrilled about playing that deep under the basket. 

With the roster as it is, Nene will be the first option. He played at that spot a lot in the playoffs when Gortat was pulled off the floor because he has a better mid-range game and the offense can run better with his reads on and off the ball. 

All it takes over an 82-game season is one injury, to Gortat or Nene, and the Wizards will be in a tough spot. Of course, if their small-ball lineups produce the way they did in last season’s playoffs, maybe it’s not that big of a deal as long as any injury isn’t long-term. Bigs are no longer centerpieces but mostly accents to give rosters versatility.

Ben Standig: Seeing as J. Michael went with Gortat's backup, I'm tempted to go with the point guard options behind John Wall, but the big man scenario is indeed the bigger concern.

Even as teams go with smaller and smaller units, interior forces still have a place in the NBA and a large one at that. In the East this means names like Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Tristan Thompson, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, Hassan Whiteside, Nik Vucevic, Jahlil Okafor, Robin Lopez and others with Tim Duncan, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard lurking on the NBA's other side. It requires brawn to tangle with these large men and the Polish Hammer has the physicality for such occasions. 

Same goes for Nene, but he's apt to miss 10-25 games this season. Gortat is all kinds of durable, but he'll also turn 32 this season.

Anyway, the big Brazilian is the primary backup option in the current scenario. If we know both would play 75-plus games and remain healthy entering the playoffs, the Wizards would be all set. As it stands, they're one injury away from having just one true low post threat on both ends of the court.

Drew Gooden can bang, but he's no rim protector and his best shot location comes from deep. Kris Humphries is a mid-range guy and another non shot blocker. (Yes, you can find highlights of Humphries and Gooden swatting shots, but opponents aren't gong to fear attacking the paint.) DeJuan Blair is strictly an offensive option and one we can overlook for now.

Assuming Jared Dudley is healthy, the Wizards will have a strong stretch-4 and therefore can limit the amount of minutes they use two true bigs together. This is key, but so is recognizing the limited interior options should the need to play old school lineups arises. 

MORE WIZARDS: Ranking offseasons in the East: No. 10, Pacers

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Former Kentucky star Aaron Harrison to join Wizards' Summer League team

USA Today Sports Images

Former Kentucky star Aaron Harrison to join Wizards' Summer League team

The Wizards' 2018 Summer League roster will feature a familiar name, as former Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison is expected to join the team in Las Vegas, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Harrison joins a growing list of players on the Wizards' Summer League roster, including first-round pick Troy Brown, Jr., second-round pick Issuf Sanon and Devin Robinson, who is entering the second year on his two-way contract with the Wizards. 

Carrick Felix, who was on the team's roster briefly last season, will also participate, according to Truth About It. There is also Florida guard Chris Chiozza, who GatorSports.com first reported would be joining the Wizards.

Former Wake Forest center Doral Moore and former Wyoming power forward Alan Herndon will also be on the roster, NBC Sports Washington has learned. Both players worked out for the Wizards in the pre-draft process and Moore had two visits.

The Wizards will be evaluating their Summer League players for potential spots on their upcoming G-League team, the Capital City Go-Go, which gets underway this fall. They also have a second two-way spot to fill.

Harrison, 23, played nine games last season for the Dallas Mavericks after spending the first two years of his career with the Hornets. He was a top-10 recruit coming out of high school, but went undrafted in 2015. A 6-foot-6 guard, Harrison has averaged 2.3 points through 35 NBA games in his career.

Harrison was a big name in college as one of the best players on Kentucky from 2013 through 2015. He played on two Final Four teams and in the national title game in 2014.

Harrison played alongside his twin brother Andrew in college. Andrew currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Aaron will join the Wizards after he's done with Team USA basketball. They are holding a training camp in Houston this week to determine a roster of players to compete in a qualifying tournament for the World Cup.



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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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