Wizards

Wizards

With Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans out of the picture now, the Washington Wizards' roster in the NBA's Disney World restart will look very similar to the one they had in the Las Vegas Summer League last July. That's not taking a shot, it is stating a fact.

The majority of their rotation will have been in Vegas. The Summer League roster had Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr., Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield and Anzejs Pasecniks. Sprinkle in some Ish Smith, Shabazz Napier, Jerome Robinson and Thomas Bryant, and you basically have the Wizards' new-look team in Orlando.

This time, though, it will be obvious who is missing, as both Beal and Bertans are not participating to preserve their health for the future. And that leaves a massive hole of production the Wizards need to fill, likely with young and inexperienced players.

"I'm sad for Brad's injury and it sucks that he's not here with us," Brown said. "Brad is a big part of us. But it's one of those things where we have a lot of guys from the age of 20 to 23, so there's a lot of opportunity here."

In fact, with Beal alone the Wizards will have to replace the league's second-leading scorer. His 30.5 points per game are tops in the Eastern Conference and second only to James Harden's 34.4.

Beal is also the highest volume shooter in the NBA. He leads the league in field goal attempts per game this season, coming in at a whopping 22.9, which is the most for a Wizards/Bullets player since 1991.

 

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Another way to look at it is this: Beal has the fifth-highest usage rate in the league. By that metric, only four players in the league have a larger role in their team's offense than Beal: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Harden and Trae Young.

Add Bertans' numbers into Beal's and you can see just how much will be missing from the Wizards. They combine to average 45.9 points per game on 34.2 shots.

The two of them combine to take 37.6 percent of the team's total field goal attempts on average. And that number jumps in the fourth quarter, where Beal and Bertans take 44.4 percent of the Wizards' field goal attempts.

Beal and Bertans take 9.5 of the Wizards' 21.4 attempts in the fourth on average. And Beal's 6.0 shots in the fourth are second-most in the NBA.

Rui Hachimura now remains as the Wizards' leader in total shot attempts with 11.1 per game. That ranks 105th in the NBA among qualifying players.

Hachimura, though, feels like he's prepared for a larger role because of his experience as a star in college and on Team Japan in international play.

"Not only Gonzaga, but the national team, I had to be the guy. So for right now, I have more opportunity to score and to playmake. It's going to be great for me and as a team, a young team, we have a great opportunity. I'm so excited about it," he said.

Between Hachimura and the other remaining Wizards players, shots will have to be taken. The most likely result is that players like him, Brown and others will have no choice but to be more aggressive. They won't have the option to defer to veteran teammates who they are used to taking on an outsized scoring role. As former Wizards guard Jordan Crawford famously said, "who else gonna shoot?"

Napier says it will need to be a collective effort where everyone takes on a little more responsibility, not just a few stepping up.

"We have to understand that one person is not going to be able to do what they were able to do. We have to utilize everybody from the first person to the last person off the bench and understand that everybody in this league is capable of making a big-time shot or having a big-time game," he said.

"You don't have a star player like Bradley and a great player in D.B. [Normally,] you focus on them, even as players you focus on just trying to get them the ball. Your game doesn't show the way you would want to show it at times, or what you can possibly do. So, this is a great opportunity for a lot of guys to show who they are."

Head coach Scott Brooks mentioned Hachimura in particular when it comes to filling in for Bertans. For Beal, he pointed to Brown, Robinson, Bonga and the potential to play two point guards together.

 

He now has some time to figure it out before their first game on July 31 against the Suns.

"It's open. It's wide open. The next three weeks, guys are going to be fighting for minutes," Brooks said.

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