May 20, 2019, 12:00 am
The Wizards had eyes on moving beyond last season’s first-round ouster, but everything went off the rails. Our Post-Mortem series continues with a look at the past year while Washington prepares to sort out their short and long-term future.
2018-19 record: 32-50
2017-18 record: 43-39
The Washington Wizards are at a crossroads. Unfortunately, they’re there whether they like it or not.
They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16. What happened? We can blame John Wall’s knees and his other busted-ass body parts all we want, but it’s not all just about him. Well, it’s mostly him… Largely, because of him. Recently, at least.
Over the last several seasons the team had a clear-cut plan. Pair together John Wall and Bradley Beal, a promising young and talented backcourt duo, build around them with the right role-players — and maybe another star — then contend for the Eastern Conference, if not the NBA title.
Ambitious? Yes. But at least, they had a vision. Direction.
Much to the chagrin of their fans, however, the stars that sparkled in the night sky formed the constellations that would outline the injuries that befell their two guards.
Bradley Beal was drafted in 2012 but from 2012 to 2016 he averaged just 61.6 games played per season. John Wall averaged almost 72 games during that same span.
Beal eventually shed his injury-prone tag and managed to log 77 games in 2016-17. Wall went on to play in 78 games that season and the Wizards finished fourth in the East with a 49-33 record, their best over the last half-decade and change.
Sadly, things simply went downhill after that. Wall played 41 games in 2017-18 and just 32 games in 2018-19, while Beal suddenly became one of the league’s pillars of stability, playing in all 82 games in the last two seasons.
Despite major setbacks this season in the form of John Wall’s 32-game season, taking on Dwight Howard and his awful contract, the departure of Otto Porter Jr., the addition of Jabari Parker, coach Scott Brooks made the most with what he had at his disposal. The signs pointing to the Wizards being at a crossroads were never more evident than at the trade deadline when they decided to part ways with Porter and acquire forwards Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, plus a protected 2023 second-round draft pick. Many can consider this move as a pivot towards a rebuild.
The question now is, is Bradley Beal part of the Wizards’ future plans?
He was the one true silver lining for loyal Wizards fans this season. He came into his own and in a big way, emerging as a true superstar in the league. The show had to go on, as they say, and he broke a leg, but in a John-Wall-slip-and-fell-and-ruptured-his-Achilles kind of way. You know, the good kind. Like they really mean when they wish luck to people who are about to go on stage.
Here are some advanced stats from 2018-19 to snack on for a bit. It’s a quick way to see how they truly stacked up against the rest of the league.
NETRTG: -2.7 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 110.1 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 112.8 (27th)
Pace: 102.29 (9th)
REB%: 47.7 (29th)
AST%: 62.3 (10th)
EFG%: 53.1 (9th)
The fact that the team lost 11 more games in 2018-19 than they did in the previous season might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces them to take an Uber just like everyone else. It was a valiant, albeit clunky season for the Wizards – one that ushered in a cacophonous clamoring for some true roster-changing wizardry. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
It appears that Scott Brooks’ job is already secure for 2019-20 and he will stay on for the fourth year of his 5-year contract with the team. Now whether or not that that decision by the management is a good thing or not, let’s just say the proof will be in the upcoming season’s pudding. Then again, should it?
Yes, the team was off to a rocky start, winning just three of their first 12 games and just one for the entire month of October. During this time, Beal and Wall were taking turns notching team-highs in scoring per game, save for an aberrant 28-point explosion from Markieff Morris who helped the Wizards edge out the Blazers in quadruple overtime. Ironically, that was the only game they managed to win early on. Things were just not clicking. Their dynamic guard duo was not getting it done, at least not well enough to get wins on the board.
Eventually, Wall and his nagging sore heel would see him on the sidelines. Scott Brooks did what any coach in his position would do and leaned on Bradley Beal for even more production. To Brooks’ credit, he was able to draw out greatness from Beal and helped him embrace and own the superstar he is.
The loss of Wall due to his injury, the shake-up of the roster due to the OPJ trade at the deadline and the return of 3-and-D specialist Trevor Ariza were all rough challenges that Brooks had to juggle and balance, not much unlike a circus balancing act with knives, an apple, a bowling ball and a bowl of Jell-O. You just had to shut your eyes, cringe and hope that everything turned out fine in the end and that no one lost any appendages in the process.
From a glass-half-full point of view, all of the injuries and travesty gave Brooks the opportunity to harness other players. Tomas Satoransky blossomed into a top-100 player as he stepped up for the injured Wall. Thomas Bryant came through with a breakout season of his own. He was a bit up-and-down but ended up being an eye-opener, nonetheless. Heck, Brooks even unleashed the Bobby Portis cult fans have been hoping to see for several seasons now. And no, Portis did not punch any of his new teammates in the face during practice.
Brooks was able to harness the strengths of the players he had at his disposal. He directed his team to push the pace, go for high-percentage shots thanks to intelligent ball movement and extra passes to find the open man.
He’s been with the team for their low point. He’s also currently in the best position to help the team transition into whatever they want to be and what direction they want to take in 2019-20.
ADP: 30/23 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 8/10 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 13/14 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 82
2018-19 averages: 82 G | 36.9 MP | 25.6 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 5.0 REB | 5.5 AST | 1.5 STL | 0.7 BLK | 2.7 TOV | .475 FG% | .808 FT%
Bradley Beal is one special player. That’s an understatement and it’s not even really doing him justice, especially after his impressive 2018-19 campaign. Through the tumultuous storm we attribute to John Wall’s
demiseinjury, Beal stepped up and was that little steamship that could. He rose to the occasion and did his darnedest to carry the Wizards.
They may have been too much of a burden on his shoulders but his effort was enough to elevate his averages to new heights across the board. The Wizards offense flowed through Beal and his one-man show was a sweet spectacle to enjoy, both in real-life and fantasy.
More importantly and noteworthy, 2018-19 marks the second straight season where he’s managed to play in all 82 games.
There really isn’t anything to criticize about Beal’s season. It was wonderful. There will be no John Wall next year, so it’s not a stretch to expect more of the same from Beal in 2019-20. Expect this performance, an impressive top-15 finish in fantasy, to boost his draft hype.
ADP: 18/24 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 198/233 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 31/73 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 32
2018-19 averages: 32 G | 34.5 MP | 20.7 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 3.6 REB | 8.7 AST | 1.5 STL | 0.9 BLK | 3.8 TOV | .445 FG% | .697 FT%
John Wall’s narrative this season was sadder than The Notebook, but without any of the Rachel McAdams-Ryan Gosling on-screen rapport.
It started off poorly, with him still wonky from off-season knee procedures and his free throw shooting falling to uncharted depths.
It then went from bad to worse with his nagging heel injury sidelining him indefinitely. Additionally, to add even more injury to the insult that was his already-disappointing season, Wall slipped and fell, rupturing his left Achilles tendon while still recovering from season-ending surgery he underwent to repair a Haglund’s deformity in his left heel.
He’s expected to miss between 11 to 15 months of action post-surgical repair of his torn Achilles.
The absolute soonest we could see hide or hair of Wall on an NBA court would be after the 2020 NBA All-Star game. Rule him out of your 2019-20 fantasy drafts. Frankly, the Wizards wouldn’t be to blame if they ruled him out of their future plans altogether.
ADP: 140/112(ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 111/97 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 124/98 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 72
2018-19 averages: 72 G | 20.8 MP | 10.5 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 6.3 REB | 1.3 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.9 BLK | 11.5 TOV | .399 FG% | .793 FT%
Ariza, who turns 34 this June, saw his NBA and fantasy career come full circle as he reunited with the Wizards this season via a trade with the Phoenix Suns. He got his big breakout campaign as a reliable 3-and-D specialist in 2013-14. He may have been a step or two slower this season, but Ariza still brought some of that energy to his former team.
Prior to 2018-19 Ariza was an underrated mid-round special in the fantasy game. Declines in his 3s and steals averages saw him fall out of the top-100. He’s been one of the league’s best role-players and it’s time to recognize that his impressive and yet still understated career is winding down.
He’s one of the players we may recommend to fade in 2019-20 re-draft leagues so you can divert attention to young and up-and-coming stars. Ariza will still have a place in standard leagues, at least.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 90/100 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 138/138 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 80
2018-19 averages: 80 G | 27.0 MP | 8.9 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 3.5 REB | 5.0 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .484 FG% | .819 FT%
In the wake of John Wall’s injury, Tomas Satoransky emerged as one of the hottest free agent pickups this season. His lack of 3-point shooting may have put a damper on his efficient line, but Satoransky’s low turnover rate and above average field goal shooting percentage were enough to catapult him into the top-100. Given that John Wall is not expected back next season, Satoranksy will make for an intriguing late-round point guard pick in many drafts.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 198/233 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 31/73 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 32
2018-19 averages: 32 G | 34.5 MP | 20.7 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 3.6 REB | 8.7 AST | 1.5 STL | 0.9 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .614 FG% | .781 FT%
When Dwight Howard’s chronic back problems eventually kept him off the court indefinitely, Bryant was thrust into a spot where he was a given a wide-open window to shine. The 21-year-old Indiana product slowly but surely found his groove as he embraced being the team’s go-to and starting center. The Wizards went with small-ball lineups in multiple occasions, often deploying Jeff Green as a stretch five.
Overall, you can give him two thumbs up for his sophomore season. A quick look at his per-36 minute averages of 18.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game provide a shining ray of promise that pierces through the dark clouds hovering over the Wizards right now. The Wizards eventually acquired Bobby Portis mid-season and he took over the starting center role and just ran with it. Bryant returned to the bench and saw his minutes fall. Portis is a restricted free agent and might be wearing a different jersey next season, so those Thomas Bryant fan club meetings should not be erased off your calendars just yet.
Howard, who is expected to pick up his player option for 2019-20, may return and slow down Bryant’s growth. That said, the Wizards may shift gears and go for a youth-oriented rebuild and focus on Bryant’s development. He’s established a firm floor this season with his 0.8 turnovers and .781 shooting clip from the line.
If things fall into place for him, Bryant could be an intriguing sleeper pick in 2019-20. Shhhh!
ADP: 138/136 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 186/184 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 114/113 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 50
2018-19 averages: 50 G | 26.0 MP | 14.2 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 8.0 REB | 1.4 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .444 FG% | .794 FT%
Free at last! Free at last! Bobby Portis was freed at last! Well, at least when he was traded to the Wizards at the trade deadline.
Let’s focus on his numbers as a Wizard which were in the neighborhood of 14.3 PTS, 8.6 REB and 1.7 3PM. While those were a treat to see coming from Portis, he fell short in the consistency department every so often. The important takeaway of the season is that Portis established a clear value ceiling when given the minutes. He becomes a restricted free agent in 2019-20 and will be looking to set up for a big payday in a season from now.
Portis has a game that’s congruent with the modern trends of the league and while he’s not the hottest ticket in the FA market, his particular skill set could be something contending teams would be interested in. Let’s see where he lands and hope his 2018-19 breakout has more longevity than a Milli Vanilli one-hit wonder from the 80s.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 103/106(8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 135/126 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 77
2018-19 averages: 77 G | 27.2 MP | 12.3 PTS | 1.4 3PM | 4.0 REB | 1.8 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .475 FG% | .888 FT%
Jeff Green was clearly a shade less than an afterthought coming into the 2018-19 draft but the plethora of injuries that the Wizards had to endure forced him into a position of prominence in their rotation.
Given Green’s 27-plus minutes per game, his roto-friendly stat set might have been boring to watch but it served its purpose, allowing him to finish in fantasy’s top-150.
Don’t expect more of the same from Green in 2019-20 as the 32-year-old forward enters his 12th season in the league.
ADP: 94/110 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 137/166 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 120/160 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 64
2018-19 averages: 64 G | 26.9 MP | 14.5 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 6.6 REB | 2.4 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 2.4 TOV | .493 FG% | .712 FT%
Jabari Parker has been often criticized for the one-dimensionality of his game. His move to the Wizards did not pull the needle in the right direction but what it did was allow him to shine in some moments. His score-first attitude and seeming aversion to do anything useful on the defensive end of the floor have slammed down a hard cap on his perceived upside.
He shot well from the field, rebounded the ball reasonably well and of course, put up some points on the board. His turnovers and poor free throw shooting kept his value down enough to box him out of fantasy’s top-120 in 9-cat. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of player and there’s little room for us to find a silver lining in the remainder of his NBA career.
ADP: 49/68 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 414/418 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 185/214 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 92
2018-19 averages: 9 G | 25.5 MP | 12.8 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 9.2 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.8 TOV | .623 FG% | .604 FT%
To say that Dwight Howard was one of the biggest disappointments in 2018-19 is an understatement of unprecedented proportions. Not that we expected much from the free-throw murdering, oft-injured big man, but his back just could not hold up his already flimsy (at best) fantasy outlook.
Nine games played are a new career-low for Howard, who just can’t seem to find a fit with any team over the last three seasons.
Howard’s back issues are a red flag. His prototypical big-man game is from a time long gone in the NBA’s basketball evolution chart. It’s a rough and ugly downward spiral that his career is going through. The Wizards may want to move on from him, his bloated dead-horse contract notwithstanding.
Troy Brown Jr.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 331/330 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 393/390 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 52
2018-19 averages: 52 G | 14.0 MP | 4.8 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 2.8 REB | 1.5 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .415 FG% | .681 FT%
Troy Brown, despite his uninspiring look on paper, managed to emerge late in the season with a flash of potential. The small forward could be in the mix for that starting role, now that the Wizards have moved on from Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr.
In the month of April, Brown jr. opened some eyes with averages of 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.5 steals per game. He’s still raw, but clearly is an intriguing stash in keeper and dynasty formats. He’s not a lock to break out in 2019-20 just yet but is definitely someone to watch moving forward.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 198/233 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 310/286 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 47
2018-19 averages: 47 G | 16.8 MP | 6.1 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 3.1 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .469 FG% | .609 FT%
As much as we’d like to attribute Sam Dekker’s lack of pop this season to Jeff Green cockblocking his groove, it’s not entirely fair as Dekker had his spots but failed to parlay those into significant and meaningful performances.
He’s going to still stick as a rotational guy moving forward but at this point, he’s set his ceiling and we’d have to warn you not to bump your heads on it as you head out the door.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 349/347 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 321/311 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 34
2018-19 averages: 34 G | 14.6 MP | 4.1 PTS | 0.1 3PM | 3.8 REB | 0.7 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .448 FG% | .689 FT%
In 2018-19 Mahinmi did what he often does every season. He teased us for a game or two or
threebut later wound up crawling back under his rock of fantasy obscurity. He’s a low-end big man option saved for the deepest of fantasy leagues. But considering he was played in just 34 games, it’s hard to trust him even in those rough and tumble arenas. Honestly, there really isn’t much to see here folks, move along now. Move along.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 385/379 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 362/347 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 27
2018-19 averages: 27 G | 12.3 MP | 5.9 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 1.5 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .469 FG% | .800 FT%
Jordan McRae served as a stop-gap measure as the Wizards desperately addressed their need for depth at point guard in the wake of John Wall’s season-ending injury. Very few of his 27 games were meaningful, both in real life and in fantasy – pretty much what you’d expect from a player whose value resided mostly outside of the top-300. To his credit, McRae was able to explode for 20 and 21 points on rare occasions. That said, he was never able to muster enough consistency to warrant an add even in deep leagues.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 327/339 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 376/385 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 49
2018-19 averages: 32 G | 15.2 MP | 5.5 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 1.5 REB | 2.0 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .419 FG% | .694 FT%
Similar to McRae, Chasson Randle was a warm body that the Wizards utilized to spare an overworked Tomas Satoransky. Randle didn’t do much with his time and opportunity, punctuating his fantasy ceiling. His less-than-stellar defense and sub-par free throw shooting keep him from garnering late-round consideration even in ultra-deep leagues. Randle has played for a different team in each of his three seasons in the league and isn’t likely going to be able to carve a larger role in most team rotations.
It’s a tough and bitter pill to swallow but the doctor recommends that the Wizards need to move on and forward from their
deadunderperforming assets, and by that we’re referring to John Wall and Dwight Howard. While it will be a near-impossibility to get their cumbersome contracts off the books, the Wizards still need to clarify, if not re-align their vision for the future. Bradley Beal is a star worth building a franchise around and that’s been clearly established this season. The question is, how can and should the Wizards build around him?
At the end of the day, they have some promising young assets in Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant, but guys like Jeff Green and Trevor Ariza are winding down in their careers. There will be some cheap veteran free agents on the market whom the Wizards can tap, but they shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that they’ll be a playoff team in the East any time soon. So a fresh start could be in order. Move on from Beal? Trade him for a bag of lesser but younger guys and picks?
Their season was such a mess that a fresh start isn’t too hard for them to imagine. That said, they’ll just have to make a plan, a new vision and stick to their guns. They’re a rebuilding team, whether they like it or not. The timeline with which they design their rebuild is what should guide their moves over the summer.
October 21, 2019, 9:09 pmRodney McGruderSG, Los Angeles Clippers
Rodney McGruder (right ankle sprain) has been listed as out for Tuesday's matchup with the Lakers.
McGruder has been out for a few weeks but might be close to returning based on the fact that he had been questionable for the opener until recently. With Paul George out for a while, McGruder could see regular minutes once he returns.
October 21, 2019, 8:54 pmDevontae CacokPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Devontae Cacok and Demetrius Jackson have been waived by the Lakers.
Cacok had some nice summer league and preseason games, but it'll be tough for him to crack an NBA rotation. Demetrius Jackson has played in just 26 NBA games since being drafted in the second round three years ago.
October 21, 2019, 8:44 pmDerrick Walton Jr.PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Derrick Walton Jr. made the final Clippers' roster and has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal.
Walton has bounced around for quite a while, having played overseas last year. He's unlikely to get many minutes, but he could potentially get a championship ring if he sticks around.
Source: Andrew Greif on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 8:01 pmShamorie PondsPG, Toronto Raptors
Shamorie Ponds will join the Raptors on two-way deal after being waived by the Rockets on Saturday.
The rookie out of St. John's will get a shot with the Raptors, or more likely their G League affiliate. In fantasy, there's no need to keep an eye on Ponds unless the Raptors find themselves in tear-down mode. He had some amazing college numbers, so there's a chance he finds success in the league.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 7:16 pmJoe InglesSF, Utah Jazz
Joe Ingles has signed a one-year extension worth $14 million to remain with the Jazz through 2021-22.
Ingles has thrived as a member of the starting lineup the two last seasons. Last campaign he averaged 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 39 percent on threes. He should have top-90 value going forward.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:56 pmAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis will not have his minutes restricted to begin the season, according to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.
Expect a fluid situation as the season goes along, but the Lakers plan to unleash their big acquisition. Davis should be the top pick in many leagues this season. His production has always been elite, but it will be interesting to see how Davis meshes with new teammates in games that count.
Source: Bill Oram on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:51 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated that LeBron James will not face a minutes restriction to begin the season.
This is good news for LeBron owners, but the situation may change as the season progresses. King James won't even be the first Laker taken in most fantasy drafts, but he is still a worthy pick within the top 10-12 selections.
Source: Bill Oram on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:40 pmWenyen GabrielPF, Sacramento Kings
Wenyen Gabriel has made the roster for the Kings and has been given a regular NBA contract.
Gabriel was on a two-way deal last season but the Kings clearly like his potential. He is unlikely to be fantasy relevant this season.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:31 pmTyler LydonPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have waived Tyler Lydon.
Lydon signed a two-year deal in July, but very little of it was guaranteed. The Syracuse product was drafted in 2017 by the Nuggets but has played very sparingly in the NBA.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
October 21, 2019, 6:21 pmDaquan JeffriesSG, Sacramento Kings
DaQuan Jeffries has signed a two-way contract with the Kings.
Jeffries was recently waived by the Magic. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in his senior year at the University of Tulsa. He is unlikely to have a fantasy impact.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter