Wizards

Wizards

Do the Wizards take on more reclamation projects than other NBA teams? Maybe, maybe not. But it does seem like they are more willing to give a players second (or third) chances after their careers have gotten away from them, hoping Washington becomes the place they recapture what they once had.

Especially in the past several years, as the Wizards have sought cheap, high-upside players for their bench, they have brought in a series of players whose careers or reputations had recently taken a hit. The latest is point guard Isaiah Thomas, who signed a one-year free agent contract in July. 

Thomas, now 30, is only two years removed from being an All-NBA player. But a nagging right hip injury has disrupted his career, limiting him to just 44 games the past two seasons, including only 12 last year. 

The Wizards are banking on Thomas having better health with them than he did in Cleveland, L.A. and Denver. If he can stay on the court and return to something close to what he was with the Celtics, the Wizards will look very smart. 

But, as they well know, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. In many cases, the player you acquire remains the player you heard about before he arrived. 

Here is a look at some of the Wizards' most recent reclamation projects and whether they worked out in Washington.

Markieff Morris

With Wizards: 2015-19
Did it work out?: Yes
Why: Morris came to Washington in a February 2015 trade with his reputation in shambles due to some serious off-court troubles and an altercation with a Phoenix Suns assistant coach. Still, the Wizards had to give up two players and a first-round pick to get him, so this wasn't as low-risk as some of the others on this list.

 

But Morris became mostly a model citizen with the Wizards. He beat his court case and improved his numbers across the board, averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in parts of four seasons in D.C. His production, however, dropped off towards the end of his tenure, largely due to injuries, and they didn't get much for Morris when they shipped him out in February.

Trey Burke

With Wizards: 2016-17
Did it work out?: No
Why: Burke was a reclamation project because he was a failed first-round pick traded away from the Utah Jazz for a second-rounder that was, at the time of the deal, five years in the future. The Wizards banked on him still having the talent that made him a lottery pick and, maybe, a new situation would unlock his potential.

Burke never found his niche in his one season with the Wizards. They played him too much at point guard when he really probably should have been off the ball, perhaps with Tomas Satoransky running the offense. Burke floundered with the Wizards, but has found new life since leaving, most notably with the New York Knicks.

Brandon Jennings

With Wizards: 2017
Did it work out?: Sort of
Why: Jennings signed with the Wizards as a free agent in March 2017 as the team was gearing up for the playoffs and needed a back-up for John Wall. Jennings had been out of work after getting cut loose by the Knicks months earlier. He was two years removed from tearing his Achilles and still hadn't returned to form.

Jennings served a purpose for the Wizards and made some big shots in the playoffs. So, for that, his signing worked out. But after leaving the Wizards, he played just 14 more NBA games before he was out of the league. 

Jodie Meeks

With Wizards: 2017-18
Did it work out?: No
Why: Meeks had played 39 total games the previous two years due to injuries when he signed with the Wizards in the summer of 2017. They needed a back-up shooting guard behind Bradley Beal, and Meeks had the potential to fit the bill. It was a low-risk, potentially high-reward move.

But it just didn't work out. Meeks stayed healthy during the 2017-18 season but couldn't make shots. And then, the day before the first round of the playoffs began, he received a 25-game suspension due to a failed drug test. It set the course for his exit, which came that October in a trade with the Bucks. Meeks didn't work out in Washington, but he did catch on with the Raptors and won a championship ring this past June.

 

Mike Scott

With Wizards: 2017-18
Did it work out?: Yes
Why: Scott signed a one-year free agent deal with the Wizards in the summer of 2017 as his NBA career sat on the edge of being over. He had played just 18 games the previous year due to injuries and was fresh off beating a very serious drug charge in the state of Georgia.

The Wizards hoped he could a capable back-up to Morris, but he ended up providing much more than that. He was arguably their best bench player in a year they made the playoffs, while enjoying the most efficient season of his career. Scott then left in free agency to get a hefty raise and has since landed in Philly, where he has become a super fan favorite. His career is in excellent shape now, and much of it is because he hit the reset button in Washington.

Dwight Howard

With Wizards: 2018-19
Did it work out?: No
Why: Howard came to the Wizards as a bargain after being cast off by two teams. The Hornets traded him to the Nets, who promptly bought out his hefty salary. At the time, it wasn't about injuries. It was about his perceived effect on locker room chemistry.

The Wizards had no issues with him in that regard because he wasn't around for basically the entire season he spent in D.C. That's because he came to training camp with what later proved to be a significant back injury. He needed surgery in late November that ultimately ended his season. And he had to take a non-guaranteed contract from the Lakers this summer just to stay in the league. If he could have stayed healthy, perhaps it would have worked out for the Wizards. It just didn't go nearly as planned.

Jabari Parker

With Wizards: 2019
Did it work out?: Sort of
Why: Parker had major injuries in his past, including two famous ACL tears, but he was damaged goods when he came to Washington, mostly because of how poorly things went in Chicago. He didn't play well, became unhappy and had a public spat with his head coach

Parker's time with the Wizards was too brief to be hailed as a success. And the fact he left in free agency (like Bobby Portis) after the Wizards gave up Otto Porter Jr. to get him does not reflect well on the trade. Parker, though, played better with the Wizards than he did with the Bulls, so it wasn't a complete failure either.

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