The Washington Wizards have a new point guard in John Wall, who signed a maximum contract last summer. The Wizards also have Bradley Beal, who signed a max deal this off-season. The two All-Stars have been teammates in recent seasons and formed a formidable backcourt tandem in Washington. However, Wall is taking over the leadership role in the Wizards locker room and Beal has developed into one of the top two-way wings in the league. Beal is also arguably the best player on the Wizards.
It’s been a busy winter for the Washington Wizards. On the same day the team acquired veteran big man Dwight Howard from the Houston Rockets, they traded for Bradley Beal and re-signed him to a five-year, $127.2 million contract.
What did the NBA’s best and worst teams do this offseason? We’ve already checked out the Eastern Conference, but let’s take a look at the other side of the aisle and see what the worst and best teams did this summer.
This summer, the Washington Wizards underwent a substantial, if not complete, makeover. Russell Westbrook was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA’s greatest summer blockbuster, and the Wiz got numerous players in exchange. Washington was also engaged in a number of other transactions, including the acquisition of Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, a first-round selection. While Westbrook said his goodbyes to franchise standout Bradley Beal, the Wizards’ underappreciated offseason may be enough to keep him stay and assist the club to successive postseason appearances.
Beal is one of the most coveted trade names, but he has so far declined to demand anything from Washington. Perhaps the franchise has provided him with a few more reasons to stick around.
Although Westbrook is no longer with the Wizards, they have surrounded Beal with a fresh group of supporting players.
The Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura celebrate after a play against the Indiana Pacers. | Getty Images/Will Newton
On the train out of Washington, D.C., Westbrook was joined by Troy Brown Jr. and Moe Wagner. Last season, Beal and Westbrook led the team to the playoffs, but the Philadelphia 76ers knocked them out in the first round. The club also dismissed head coach Scott Brooks and replaced him with Wes Unseld Jr. as the bench boss.
Washington retained the rest of last year’s youthful group while also adding to it. On a deeper roster with a mix of young players and seasoned veterans, there will be competition for rotation places.
The company didn’t make many adjustments around Beal, but the ones it did make were important.
In 2021-22, Bradley Beal will be accompanied by a stronger roster.
In a rather unexpected trade, the Wizards acquired Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell in exchange for Westbrook. Caldwell-Pope is a 3-and-D guard who can play with or without Beal, Kuzma is an offensive threat with playoff experience, and Harrell is a pure-hustle rebounder and defender who was previously named Sixth Man of the Year.
In two separate trades, Washington added Spencer Dinwiddie and Aaron Holiday to the point guard position. Dinwiddie was having a breakthrough season in 2019-20 when his ACL was torn. As a starter for Brooklyn that year, the Colorado product averaged more over 20 points and almost 7 assists per game.
Holiday is a fourth-year guard who has mostly come off the bench but is a career 37.2 percent 3-point shooter who follows a system and takes care of the ball.
Kispert was drafted 15th overall in the 2021 Draft as a sharpshooter. At Gonzaga, the 6-foot-7 wing hit 44 percent from three-point range. Rui Hachimura, a third-year forward, Davis Bertans, a stretch big, and Deni Avdija, a first-round lottery selection last year, are still on the roster.
6-foot-10 power forward Thomas Bryant tore his ACL last season towards the conclusion of the season, but he is expected to return this year. Bryant was averaging 14.3 points per game before to his injury, with a career-high 42.9 percent three-point shooting.
Although Westbrook is gone, Beal’s supporting cast seems to have grown by subtraction.
Beal will still be the show’s headliner, but he’ll have more to work with this season than he had last.
Last season, Westbrook had the most minutes per game on the club. Beal will now get more minutes.
Raul Neto (21.9 minutes per game) and Ish Smith (21.0 minutes per game) were behind Westbrook and will now be replaced by Dinwiddie and Holiday. Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, and Harrell will offer valuable minutes that were previously absorbed by guys like Bertans, Avidja, and Jerome Robinson. Kispert is a better three-point shooter than anybody in the rotation from last season.
Around Beal, there have been considerable improvements.
The 28-year-old Florida guard has said repeatedly that he intends to remain in Washington for the foreseeable future. Perhaps offseason roster upgrades and a postseason push will maintain it that way.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided transaction information.
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