Which players on the Wizards roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Delon Wright
SG Bradley Beal
SF Deni Avdija
PF Kyle Kuzma
C Kristaps Porzingis
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
There are several different ways the Wizards can go at point guard. Wright makes the most sense to pair with Beal because of his size and defensive abilities. Morris has flourished in a backup role before so it makes sense to bring him off the bench. The wildcard is the rookie Davis, who is not a true point guard but the best version of him has skills that the others don’t. At some point, the Wizards are going to have to devote minutes to the Beal/Davis backcourt and see if they have anything there.
Deni Avdija will likely get the first shot to cement himself at small forward, based on his length and defensive acumen. Avdija needs to become more consistent on the offensive end, particularly with his jumper. The veteran option is Will Barton, although he will be undersized in certain matchups. Kuzma can also slide to small forward when Rui Hachimura plays power forward, but Hachimura would need to produce more consistently for that to be a viable long-term solution. Corey Kispert is the best shooting option, but he may not make as much sense in the starting lineup that already has so many guys focused on scoring. That said, if he could blossom into at least a passable defender, the way Kyle Korver did, he could carve himself out a spot in the rotation and maybe even get an opportunity to start.
If the Wizards start Morris and Barton with Beal, I’d view that as a clear indicator that they are confused regarding the direction they should be headed. They should be evaluating their young talent to determine who meshes with Beal and Porzingis to what degree they can be counted on to perform consistently, and what strengths they have and mismatches they create. Those veterans are known quantities who will provide stability but the team is going to have to take some risks and suffer some growing pains with the young guys they’ve recently drafted like Hachimura, Avdija, Kispert, Todd, and Davis.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Wizards do have size issues and Porzingis has a lengthy injury history. There may be opportunities for young big men Vernon Carey and Isaiah Todd to show what they can do. Todd is raw, but has size, athleticism, and a decent shooting stroke. Carey is an old school center who has been very efficiently offensively but can sometimes be hunted at the other end.
It’s a make-or-break year for Hachimura. He regressed last year on the court and in general did not seem focused on basketball or in a positive mental state. If he doesn’t at least establish himself as the 6th man this year, his time with the Wizards could run out sooner rather than later.
Davis had a terrible summer league. However, historically there’s been little correlation between summer league play and actual NBA production. But he will have eyeballs on him. If he struggles coming out of the gate, the conversation about him being another Wizards draft bust will start early. To rush to such a judgment would be unfair, so we can only hope that the team is patient with Davis and nurtures his development. It’s important to the team’s future that he becomes either a building block or a coveted trade asset. David has an immense amount of skill and talent; will it translate to the NBA game and what kind of players will fit best around him?