Wizards

Wizards

Weeks before the NBA Draft, I outlined the Wizards' biggest needs as they evaluated players for their first- and second-round picks. I wrote that wing depth was arguably atop the list, given the void behind Bradley Beal at shooting guard and the help needed behind Otto Porter, Jr. and Kelly Oubre, Jr. at small forward.

The Wizards appear to have filled that void by taking Troy Brown, Jr. with the 15th overall pick. He can play both wing positions and gives the Wizards extra insurance where they needed it.

The Wizards weren't able to address all of their needs in the draft and will now aim to do so in free agency. The problem is that they will have few resources to work with given their cap situation.

They can sign a player with the taxpayer mid-level exception, an allotment of about $5.3 million. Players can sign under that provision for up to three years. There is also the minimum salary exception, of which a player can be signed to two years.

The Wizards signed Jodie Meeks using their mid-level exception last summer and Mike Scott to a veteran minimum salary. Those signings are good comps for what the Wizards will be able to do in this year's free agency. Basically, not a whole lot unless they orchestrate some trades.

They have to do something, however. Brown will represent the 11th player under contract on their roster and NBA teams have to hold at least 13. That means they need to add two players one way or another, either through free agency or trades.

 

With that in mind, here is a look at the biggest needs the Wizards could address in free agency on bargain deals...

Frontcourt depth

The trade of Marcin Gortat has certainly changed some things. The Wizards now have an obvious hole in their frontcourt with only Ian Mahinmi, Markieff Morris and Jason Smith under contract at either the power forward or center position.

Washington needs to find a starter to replace Gortat or at the very least backups for Mahinmi and Morris. Ideally, they would find someone to help either stretch the floor or protect the rim.

Some free agent center options that won't cost a lot are Nerlens Noel, Zaza Pachulia, Jahlil Okafor and Salah Mejri. Possibly cheap power forwards would include Dante Cunningham, Quincy Acy and Noah VonlehDwight Howard could be considered a wild card.

Backup point guard

The Wizards ended the season with five point guards on their roster, but three of them - Ty Lawson, Ramon Sessions and Tim Frazier - are no longer under contract. The Wizards will need a third point guard, whether it's one of those guys or someone from outside the organization.

They have some insurance there with the acquisition of Austin Rivers, as he can play some point. But they may still want to carry another guy at the position.

Though Frazier is the only one with Bird rights, meaning the Wizards can exceed the cap to re-sign him, it seems unlikely he will be back given how he was out of the rotation come playoff time. The latter could be said about Sessions, who also lost his role to Lawson.

Lawson may be a decent option for the Wizards, as he will most certainly come at a bargain price. He appeared in six playoff games with the Wizards, but before that was in China. He is trying to restart his NBA career and could pay off much like Scott did this past season if given the right opportunity.

Some cheap free agents at point guard would include Mario Chalmers, Raymond Felton and Shane Larkin.

Bench scoring

The Wizards could use more offense from their bench in a general sense. Scott was arguably their best bench scorer last year and he may very well not be back. Rivers should help, but they can always use more.

The Wizards could address bench scoring in combination with either of the previously mentioned needs. They could find a backup big man whose strength is scoring, for example.

The Wizards may be able to fill this void in part from within. If Oubre takes another step offensively, that would certainly change some things. If Meeks can shoot at a higher percentage, that would be nice. He was brought in simply to score off the bench and, in theory, could do that in 2018-19.

 

Add it all up and the Wizards still have plenty of needs to address. We'll see what they can get done in free agency.

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