Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards at a crossroads as trade deadline looms

brooks-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards at a crossroads as trade deadline looms

The Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline isn’t some all-or-nothing moment for the Washington Wizards.

The final 38 games of the regular season won’t define the franchise.

However, there’s a connection between the two markers. Three weeks from now, we’ll have a better sense of the organization’s on-court direction this season and beyond.

While the Wizards look ready to at least compete for a playoff run after the past week of impressive games against the top teams in the East, the team has more than just this season to think about.

Financial projections show Washington already careening into 2019-20 salary cap concerns with only five players under contract.

That is unless moves are forthcoming. The first sell opportunity, one with perhaps three-quarters of the league playing the role of buyer, comes over the next three weeks.

Two of the five players with contracts beyond this season, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., typically take a perception back seat to Wall, the five-time All-Star. It’s understandable why. Wall arrived first and with red carpet hoopla as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. With help, a turnaround eventually followed.

Watching the Wizards over the last two seasons with and without their point guard has some believing it’s time for a change. The alterations could occur in multiple ways: Moving one or more of the top three players, changing their roles or finding more suitable pieces to put around them.

Should Beal, who has taken his game to elite levels, and Porter will Washington into the playoffs with a pass-heavy approach that also saved the prior season from potential collapse, style changes are on the table.

At least they should be. There’s a universe where, if their talents are maximized, a Wall, Beal, Porter triumvirate lifts the Wizards to the Eastern Conference finals, a level the organization hasn’t reached since advancing to the 1979 NBA Finals.

Reaching such lofty heights seemed inevitable following a 49-win 2016-17 campaign. At least to those not burdened with the knowledge of Bullets/Wizards history from the prior four decades.

The possible fixes are tricky but exist.

“The number one thing you can do if you're the Wizards is pick a point in time where you think you can be elite and don't mess anything up for that,” a former league executive told NBC Sports Washington. “You're not elite now. This isn't binary. It's not win or tank. You don't have incredible trade assets. Put yourself in the best position you can in small steps.”

Does a recent surge put more emphasis on a fifth playoff appearance in six seasons? Should Washington regroup for a larger goal once Wall returns next season? Decide the current mix needs an overhaul?

By the early February trade deadline, we may have a window into those evaluations and priorities.

Cutting bait seems prudent. Trade the expiring contracts of Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green, and Markieff Morris, and regroup for a Wall return with more assets. Consider bigger changes.

In the coming weeks, we’ll see what the Wizards decide.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

Quick Links

If the players controlled All-Star voting, Bradley Beal would start in the All-Star Game

If the players controlled All-Star voting, Bradley Beal would start in the All-Star Game

On Thursday, the NBA announced it’s All-Star starters and based on the early fan voting returns, it was no surprise that Bradley Beal was snubbed from the list. 

Among Eastern Conference guards Beal was ranked ninth by fans and second by players.  

The starters are determined by voting amongst three groups. Fan votes make up 50 percent, current NBA players make up 25 percent and the media makeup is the remaining 25 percent. 

Beal sat down with Chris Haynes on Yahoo! Sports Posted Up and when asked about fan voting, Beal voiced his frustration, “Fan voting is absolutely horrendous man.” 

  

Beal went on to explain why he believes that fans should have a smaller percentage of the overall vote. 

 

“We respect fans and we love our fans you know but we also know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t know the game, we also know that there’s people who just have favorite players and don’t watch everybody else and we all know that there’s people who they’re going vote one guy because that’s their favorite guy, their favorite everything so I don’t have that. For me it’s an unfair in-advantage.”  

“Honestly, it should be on players and coaches,” Beal continued.

Although Beal missed out as a starter he still has a chance to be selected by coaches as a reserve. The reserves will be announced Thursday, January 30th. 

If we’re keeping it real the NBA should really reconsider the voting breakdown. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Bradley Beal misses out as All-Star starter, but can still make it as a reserve

Bradley Beal misses out as All-Star starter, but can still make it as a reserve

If Bradley Beal is going to make his third straight All-Star team, it won't be as a starter. The NBA announced the five starters from each conference on Thursday night and Beal was not one of them.

The starting guards from the East are Kemba Walker of the Celtics and Trae Young of the Hawks. They are joined by Pascal Siakam of the Raptors, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Joel Embiid of the Sixers.

The West starters are James Harden of the Rockets, Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Luka Doncic of the Mavs and both LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers. Antetokounmpo and James will be the team captains for the All-Star draft on Feb. 6.  

 

All-Star starters are determined by a voting system that includes input from fans, media and fellow players. Coaches then choose the reserves, which will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 30 next week.

That means Beal still has a path towards becoming an All-Star and there is a solid chance that happens given his numbers. He is averaging 27.5 points, 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. His points are third in the East and his assists are 10th.

Beal will have to emerge from a group of Eastern Conference guards that includes Ben Simmons of the Sixers, Malcolm Brogdon of the Pacers, Zach LaVine of the Bulls, Kyle Lowry of the Raptors and Kyrie Irving of the Nets. The fact Beal has already been a two-time All-Star should help his cause.

If Beal gets in, he will become the ninth player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make at least three All-Star teams. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: