Would the Wizards have handled the trade deadline differently if the season hadn't gone awry?
When Washington's president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard traded Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to the Mavericks for Kristaps Porzingis, the Wizards had taken a 10-3 start and turned it into a 25-29 record entering the trade deadline. Bradley Beal had been lost for the season as well, so Sheppard took a swing on the polarizing former All-Star.
However, even if the Wizards hadn't tailed off following a strong start, Sheppard still would have made the move to trade for Porzingis. For him, it was all about talent acquisition.
"If that team were rolling along this year and we had the opportunity to acquire Porzingis, you still do it because you have to get the best talent and I think we did that there," Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "The fact that we were able to save money and acquire draft capital in that deal made it that much better. But Porzingis in my opinion was the best player in that [trade] and I think he makes us better for the future."
Not only was the Porzingis trade a chance for Sheppard to acquire what he believed to be a talent upgrade, but it was also an opportunity to cash out on a few missteps in Dinwiddie and Bertans. Whether it was due to the fit on and off the court or a bit of bad injury luck, those contracts represented two of Sheppard's more regrettable transactions since taking over the front office.
When it comes to cleaning up past mistakes, Sheppard likes to point back to some advice former Pistons player and executive Joe Dumars gave him.
"The biggest mistake is not fixing your mistake," Sheppard said. "I wouldn't call anyone [a mistake], but there are times where you say, 'Right player, wrong fit. Right player, wrong time.' To sit there and try to say, 'I'm right, everybody else is wrong,' that's pretty idiotic."
Would it have been smart to break up a Wizards team that was actually vying for the postseason just to get Porzingis in the building? We'll never truly know the answer to that hypothetical, but as of now, Sheppard and the Wizards feel better about the future with Porzingis in the fold.