Basketball Insiders caught up with Detroit Pistons sophomore Stanley Johnson at the Orlando Summer League, where he discussed his development, rookie season and much more.
Evaluating The Wizards’ Early Moves
Many expected the Washington Wizards to be one of the teams in the hunt for former MVP Kevin Durant in this year’s free agency chase, but the franchise found themselves on the outside looking in at the sweepstakes.
Not resting on the perceived setback, the Wizards have started the free agency period with a flurry of activity. Whether you agree with their moves or not, it’s clear that the Wizards are determined to return to the playoffs next season and put a disappointing 2015-16 campaign in the rear-view mirror.
As of now, here is how the Wizards’ offseason is playing out.
The Wizards have added head coach Scott Brooks, center Ian Mahinmi and forward Andrew Nicholson. The team was also able to retain promising shooting guard Bradley Beal on a reported five-year, $130 million deal. The club has also reportedly obtained guard Trey Burke in a trade from the Utah Jazz.
On the other side, the team has lost forward Jared Dudley and guard Garrett Temple in free agency.
The Wizards still have plenty of players who were on their roster last season still on the market looking for a new deal such as Nene, J.J. Hickson, Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Marcus Thornton.
Brooks comes to the Wizards with a 338-207 career record in seven seasons at the helm in Oklahoma City, which includes a trip to the Finals in 2012. The addition of Mahinmi on a reported four-year, $64 million deal was a bit more puzzling with starting center Marcin Gortat under contract through 2019.
Mahinmi started 71 games for the Indiana Pacers last season, averaging 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds. However, the Indiana Pacers opted to bring in veteran Al Jefferson in free agency – leaving Mahinmi seeking a new home for next season.
There’s no question that Beal has the game worthy of big money, but can the young guard stay healthy long-term and maximize his full potential? Beal has played in at least 73 games just once in his four-year career, missing time due to a plethora of injuries. However, when healthy, he and John Wall are one of the league’s most formidable backcourts.
Nicholson has primarily served as a role player in his four-year career with the Orlando Magic. But the Wizards were looking to add a forward to replace Dudley, who served as a valuable reserve last season for the franchise. Nicholson has career averages of 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds, and he shot a career high 36 percent from three-point range last season.
One of the sneakiest moves the franchise may have pulled off is the reported acquisition of Burke – a former lottery pick – for a 2021 second-round pick. Burke came into the league with high expectations, but the Jazz opted to move in a different direction with the guard facing free agency in 2017.
The Wizards opted to strengthen their depth once they were fully ruled out of the Durant hunt.
Like the moves or not, there’s no question the Wizards are showing the ambition to get out of the Eastern Conference basement and back into the land of relevancy.
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