Wizards Notes: Point Guard, Avdija, Beal, KP, Defense

After evaluating which point guards had the most success and fit in best this season with the Wizards, general manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that he has a good sense of what sort of player the team will be targeting this offseason to fortify the position, according to Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com.

“I think we need somebody that is a pass-first point guard; somebody that will be able to contain the dribble on the defensive end and help us keep people out of the paint,” Sheppard said. “Those are some of the prerequisites we are going to be looking for.”

It remains to be seen whether the Wizards’ optimal path for acquiring a starting-caliber point guard will come via free agency, the trade market, or even the draft. Sheppard left the door open to all three possibilities, noting that one of the biggest keys of the offseason will be exercising patience and waiting for various markets to develop.

“There is going to be buyer frenzy once you get to the draft,” the GM said, per Filyo. “There is so little money this summer in the marketplace for free agents. There are going to be a lot of teams that want to shuffle. There are going to be some teams that do a little bit on the side and there are going to be teams that do complete restructuring. To know ahead of time what our needs are going to be, where we can fill those needs and then being patient to get the best possible deal – that’s not a challenge like I am worried about, that’s just something we embrace.”

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In his end-of-season press conference, Sheppard expressed enthusiasm about the idea of Deni Avdija playing for Israel in EuroBasket this offseason, referring to those contests as “high-level” games. “I believe he will get more out of that,” Sheppard said. “Being one of the key players for Israel will give him the kind of pressure we want him to have that probably doesn’t exist in Summer League.”
  • Sheppard also expressed confidence that Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, who have yet to play together, will complement each other well. “One of the easiest problems I have to solve is talent playing with talent,” Sheppard said, according to Filyo. “That works itself out. I think Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis will be great in the two-man game. I think both of them are creative with the ball. Both of them know how to score, both of them have great court vision. “
  • The Wizards showed improvement on defense near the end of the 2020/21 season and at the start of ’21/22, but ultimately ended up with only the NBA’s 25th-best defensive rating this season. Personnel changes and strategy tweaks could help upgrade the club’s performance on that side of the ball in ’22/23, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, noting that Sheppard referred to the defense as something that will be a “focus” this offseason.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at why the Wizards couldn’t maintain their momentum after getting off to a 10-3 start and what’s next for the club.
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