WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was told by team president Tommy Sheppard earlier in the week of the NBA Trade Deadline that the Wizards were interested in trading for Kristaps Porzingis. But Beal didn't know it was a serious possibility until he woke up from his left wrist surgery on Feb. 10 to the news it had been completed. The timing was "crazy," as Beal put it and he's now happy to have the former All-Star on his team moving forward.
Beal didn't have much of a prior relationship with Porzingis, but has always appreciated his game as an opponent and is intrigued by what the 7-foot-3 big man will bring to the roster.
"Just imagine him and [Daniel Gafford] out there. That is going to be sick. Then you’ve got [Kyle Kuzma] who’s 6-9, 6-10. We’ve got great size and we’ve never had that," Beal said.
Beal marveled at how Porzingis is about a foot taller than him, as at 6-foot-4 Beal isn't short by everyday standards. Porzingis is one of the tallest players in the NBA and five inches taller than anyone else on the Wizards.
The Wizards can now roll out mega lineups with Porzingis in the middle. They also have a 6-foot-7 point guard in Tomas Satoransky and a host of tall wings including Corey Kispert (6-7), Rui Hachimura (6-8) and Deni Avdija (6-9).
While the NBA has increasingly featured more mobile and sometimes shorter big men, size is always an advantage in the game of basketball. Porzingis plays some on the perimeter and attempts quite a few threes, but is also able to use his size around the basket.
"His skill set, his touch, his ability to shoot the ball [stands out]. Then, when I talked to him he said he likes playing in the post," Beal said.
Porzingis currently averages more post-up plays per game (4.1) this season than the Wizards do as a team (3.7).He should add a new element to their offense and also help on the backend of their defense, as he averages 1.7 blocks per game this season, more than anyone else on the roster.
"I think he can be really exceptional for us... He can be special," Beal said.
Porzingis has yet to make his debut for Washington, having missed 13 straight games going back to his time with the Mavericks due to a bone bruise in his right knee. The Wizards have 21 games left on their schedule.
When he is ready to play, Porzingis will join a Wizards team that is without Beal for the rest of the season due to his wrist injury. Beal, though, is interested to see how Porzingis fits in while he's out, as it will offer a glimpse at the future of the roster.