Seeing as there isn't much happening in terms of actual news these days, most NBA articles anywhere involve some form of reflection on the offseason or previewing what's to come. J. Michael and I are no exception, whether examining moves made by the Wizards or those by their competitors. If I had to sum up our collective sense of the Wizards' offseason it would be something along the lines of they addressed specific needs (3-point shooting, wing depth) without, for better or worse, making any dramatic moves. Additional roster flexibility should help the cause during the regular season while any significant improvement comes from personal growth from the young trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. Maybe it's because I covered the Citi Open last week, but the tennis term "held serve" comes to mind. Based on last year's finish and the big summer of 2016 storyline, that's a reasonable approach.
As for what others think, NBA.com's David Aldridge ranked all 30 NBA teams based on their offseason. He slotted the Wizards 13th, just behind the Celtics and Nets while ahead of the Pacers and Raptors. The explanation:
The Wizards basically reshuffled their cards waiting for the 2016 Kevin Durant Unlimited Hold 'Em Tournament to begin. All of their 2015 acquisitions have 2016 expiration dates, but will allow them to play in 2015-16 the way they ended last season -- downsized. Washington passed on the likes Jerian Grant and Bobby Portis to take a chance on Oubre's promise in a Draft night deal with the Hawks. That hasn't worked out for the Wizards in recent years (the words "Jan Vesely" still cause upset stomachs for Wizards fans), but if Oubre could ultimately be an answer at the four spot, Washington would be able to keep playing small for a long time. For now, Dudley will play a whole lot of stretch four just as he did for the Bucks last season. The Wizards will still use Nene, just less at power forward and more at backup center -- a move that will allow them to play small more and keep him fresher for the playoffs.
Couple of things here. The Vesely comparison is an apt one and one some of us made immediately after draft night. This isn't a dig or to indicate Oubre will be playing in Turkey by 2018. Many around the league loved the potential with Vesely the prospect because of his impressive athleticism for a 6-foot-11 forward. The focus was indeed on potential because there wasn't much there there in terms of realized offensive skill. Same could be said for JaVale McGee. For better or worse, Oubre is similar at this point. His showing during the Las Vegas Summer League hinted at his future with length, defensive prowess and 3-point shooting potential, but also exhibited a raw quality with his overall understanding of the offense. There is a reason why even the team stated Oubre will need time to develop. Washington covered itself by adding numerous other wing options for the short-term including Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson.
As for Oubre's future position, Aldridge suggests he could be a future stretch-4. Perhaps the 19-year-old adds an inch or two to his 6-foot-7 height. Surely he'll bulk up some. He's currently listed at 205 pounds or 20 less than Dudley, Washington's primary stretch-4 option this season. Oubre at the four would allow the Wizards to use him and Otto Porter together at some point in the future, in theory. Drafting Portis, a more traditional big man with range, would have made such a configuration clearer from the start, but both provide far different styles.
Of course, if the potential of KD2DC becomes realized, the Wizards will have their stretch-4 spot locked up.