The Wizards enter the 2022 offseason with a list of several overarching needs like defense and 3-point shooting, but one obvious hole in their lineup at starting point guard. After things didn't work out with Spencer Dinwiddie, they are back to the drawing board, hoping to find a long-term solution.
In an ideal scenario, the Wizards would find a point guard who can defend and shoot from long range, checking off multiple boxes at once. Team president Tommy Sheppard and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. have also indicated they would like someone adept at setting others up.
As the Wizards begin their point guard search, here is a look at each possible path and the likelihood that's the route they go...
It seems unlikely the Wizards will find their 2022-23 starting point guard in the June 23 draft for a variety of reasons. One of them is that this year's draft class isn't particularly deep at the position, at least in the lottery where the Wizards will be selecting. Another reason is that draft picks often arrive in the NBA very young and years away from reaching their prime. Even if the Wizards did select a point guard in the first round, it might make sense to start them out on the bench.
Whether the Wizards get their point guard in the draft, however, could depend on the lottery. If they were to find some luck and move up into the top-4 (13.9% chance), they could be in position to draft Jaden Ivey of Purdue. While he is more of a combo guard and, in another situation, may begin at the two, the Wizards expect to have that spot filled with Bradley Beal, if he re-signs. Ivey could start alongside Beal and give the Wizards a dynamic offensive duo.
If the Wizards stay around the 10th pick, they could still find that the best player on the board is a point guard. In that range, it would likely be TyTy Washington of Kentucky. If the Wizards did draft Washington, maybe re-signing Tomas Satoransky as a bridge starter would make sense while Washington develops initially in the second unit.
Like most years, there aren't going to be a ton of great options for the Wizards to explore in free agency with the limited resources they can spend. They could choose from a group that may include Collin Sexton, Ricky Rubio (coming off ACL surgery), Dennis Schroder, Delon Wright, Tyus Jones and Jalen Brunson. While there are some talented players on that list, no one stands out as a perfect fit. Sexton, for instance, is more of a scorer than a pass-first floor general.
Rubio would be a solid fit if it weren't for him rehabbing a major injury. Schroder has in the past shown the ability to defend and shoot from three, the Wizards' two biggest needs, but he's been inconsistent throughout his career. Brunson is also more of a scorer than they seem to covet. Jones could make sense if the Wizards think he can be a full-time starter. Regardless, free agency isn't going to offer a lot of ideal choices.
Now, what could make things interesting in free agency is if some former Wizards point guards are bought out. John Wall has one year left on his contract in Houston and Russell Westbrook is in the same boat with the Lakers. Both players are in situations that could be best suited by a split. If one or the other became available, the Wizards could potentially get an accomplished point guard with prior success playing alongside Beal for cheap.
Given the points made above, you could argue a trade is the most viable path for the Wizards to land a starting point guard. There could be several enticing options based on fit. It would just be a matter of can they can put together a strong enough package and justify what they would need to part with. Some options on the trade market could include Malcolm Brogdon of the Pacers and Mike Conley Jr. of the Jazz. Brogdon is reportedly available via trade, while Conley Jr.'s availability is more speculative based on possible changes looming in Utah.
Both players defend and shoot threes. Both of them are also making roughly $22.6 million next season, so it wouldn't be easy to fit them under the salary cap with Beal making a potential supermax and Kristaps Porzingis earning a max contract. There are other potential downsides to consider, like Conley Jr.'s age (34) and Brogdon's injury history (he has averaged 51.6 games over the last five years). It may also take a decent package to get either of them.
Still, whether it is Brogdon or Conley Jr., or someone else, the trade route seems to be a logical one for the Wizards as they aim to find a starting point guard. But who knows? Maybe the starting point guard on opening night will be a rookie like Ivey or Washington, or maybe even a former All-Star who returns to D.C.