Wizards Notes: Sheppard, Centers, Wall, Draft

The Wizards will focus on improving their defense, especially on the interior, during the upcoming offseason, general manager Tommy Sheppard tells Fred Katz of The Athletic. Washington ranked last in the league in opponents’ points per possession, although the numbers were better over the last month of the season. They allowed teams to shoot 66% from the restricted area, which ranks third from the bottom.

“We’re gonna improve defensively, and a lot of that is by repetition and continuity,” Sheppard said. “We certainly look inside. Maybe we can get some more physicality there and get some more help out on the wings. There’s a lot of need that comes, but sometimes those needs get met by just staying patient (with your) players.”

Sheppard also talked about the need to find a rim protector, which the Wizards didn’t have with the center spot being manned by Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner, along with Ian Mahinmi, who is headed for free agency. Katz suggests Wagner could be effective as a power forward if the team can find a shot blocker for him to play alongside.

Although Washington will be over the salary cap when the offseason arrives, the team will have its full mid-level and biannual exceptions available, along with a lottery pick, to pursue a defensive-minded center.

There’s more Wizards news, all courtesy of Katz:

  • Sheppard is counting on some of the defensive improvement to come from the return of John Wall, who didn’t play at all this season while recovering from a torn Achilles. Washington was ineffective defensively with Isaiah Thomas at point guard before he was traded in February. “When you get John back, that guy was on the All-Defensive Team a few years ago,” Sheppard said. “John can contain the dribble, and that takes a lot of pressure off the defense, too.”
  • The Wizards, who occupy the ninth spot in our Reverse Standings, are planning a “best player available” strategy for the draft, Sheppard added. “You’re talking eight players 23 and younger (on the current roster),” he said. “Throw Jerome (Robinson) in that mix, this kinda gives us a little better opportunity to, ‘Hey, let’s look at the best player available.’ … It just gives you a little bit more options. You wanna draft for your need if it’s possible. But if it’s not possible, you don’t just grab somebody to grab them. You do, ‘Hey, is there somebody else that can add value to your roster?’ And maybe that person is very interesting to some other team — whatever. But I don’t think we can say today, ‘Hey, this is exactly who we need,’ because that player is just not gonna be in college or free agency.”
  • If the NBA season does resume, coach Scott Brooks cautioned that players will need adequate preparation time before games can begin. “NBA players, they can miss six or seven weeks with an injury and have three or four practices and all of a sudden come out and get you 19 points and nine rebounds,” Brooks said. “But I don’t know the answer. We definitely need some time. … I would imagine a week to 10 days is probably the best that we would get. And hopefully we get that.”
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9 thoughts on “Wizards Notes: Sheppard, Centers, Wall, Draft

      • x%sure

        I assume a time crunch, and the only problem should be players’ individual fitness, which personally I would like to see the effect of being included in the equation.

  1. Simmons>Russ

    Washington should trade cheaply for Dennis Smith Jr. Bet they could get him for a couple second rounders
    have him learn off John Wall who is kinda similar in play style and he’s just another guy young they could potentially develop.

    • El Don

      Don’t see the similarity… not to mention that Wall is one of the best guards of the last decade & DSJ one of the biggest disappointments of the last few drafts!
      Wall is a great scorer & decent shooter, DSJ can’t do any of those, but above all Wall is one of the best passers of the ball in the history of the league, I mean over 9 APG average for his career is absolutely outrageous, meanwhile DSJ seems unable to pass the ball at all.
      Really don’t see DSJ sticking in the NBA unless he gets a lot better real fast, the guy just isn’t good enough, specially if you wanna compare him to an all time great like Optimus Dime!

  2. jump shot

    DSJ is similar to Dion Waiters in that they have a chippy disposition about themselves. A simple look at one of those guys by a teammate as if to say, “I was open… you missed me”, is subject to bring a sucker punch instead of a “my bad” from either of those guys. Now you got guys that don’t want to play with them and coaches that don’t even want to “coach” them… they will sulk and fk up a whole practice with their toxicity.

    To his credit, Waiters (finally) realized he’s down to his last “suspended without pay card”.
    Will DSJ ever figure out he needs the league more than it needs him, too?

  3. Appalachian_Outlaw

    Devin Vassell should be the Wizard’s pick, if he’s available. He’s good defensively, and he’d be a nice fit.

    They could make a play in FA for an affordable center. It’s hard to see them making any type of serious jump though without seeing what Wall is, coming off the injury.

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    DSJ has talent. Be better of learning from Wall. I do it for 2 second rds picks. He can’t handle NYC. A lottery pick is a good player. This draft may be short on future stars. It has starters and rotation players plenty. The 9th pick will have a nice 4. Carey Jr from Duke will probably be there. IMO this guy is going to be a solid pro. People are too in love with stretch 4s. He can play 4 or 5. Great low post player. Wash has a high pick, Wall coming back. I love Rui n Beal. Definitely a playoff team next yr.

  5. No way to get around it, our defense is atrocious. I couldn’t even watch the games this year.

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