Mike Williams

Wizards Notes: Bertans, Avdija, New Additions, M. Williams

Despite the Wizards‘ rather substantial logjam at the power forward spot, Davis Bertans is unlikely to be traded anytime soon, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic in today’s mailbag.

Katz cautions Wizards fans that between Bertans’ contract – which has four years and $65MM remaining (final year partially guaranteed) – and the team’s 2023 pick being owned by the Thunder and protected to 2026, the avenues for moving the sweet-shooting Latvian would be incredibly limited.

However, there’s reason for optimism regarding Bertans, Katz writes. The 28-year-old started last season behind the eight-ball from a health standpoint and never fully got up to speed, which could be one reason for his up-and-down year. A more egalitarian offense, spearheaded by the Spencer Dinwiddie/Bradley Beal backcourt and masterminded by new coach Wes Unseld Jr. should also allow Bertans more freedom to get loose for the types of shots that earned him his five-year extension during the 2019/20 season.

We have more news from around the Wizards:

  • In the same piece, Katz writes that though last year’s number nine pick Deni Avdija may be set to play fewer minutes this season, he should be used more as a play-maker, as most of the players on the bench are either catch-and-shoot specialists (Corey Kispert/Bertans), finishers (Montrezl Harrell), or are more comfortable off the ball (Raul Neto/Aaron Holiday). How Unseld will divide the minutes between the forwards remains unclear, but Avdija brings a unique skillset to the frontcourt rotation.
  • The Wizards will be Beal’s team like never before, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Luckily, Hughes writes, the team has rebuilt itself in a way that should complement its star well. Hughes examines how the team’s additions will booster its once-anemic defense while adding depth and shooting on the offensive end. But for it to work, Hughes says that guys like Dinwiddie, Rui Hachimura and Kyle Kuzma will have to emerge as consistent scorers who can create offense for themselves when called upon.
  • Mike Williams has been named head coach of the Wizards G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, per a team press release. Williams, who spent last season as a development coach for the Wizards and the director of player development for the Go-Go, expressed his excitement at the new role. “I look forward to leading our development and instilling the new philosophies of Coach Unseld into the Go-Go as we return playing in front of our great fans at the Entertainment and Sports Arena this season,” Williams said.

Wizards Notes: G League, Bell, Beal, Center

Having agreed to share some of the Erie BayHawks’ operating costs with the Pelicans this season, the Wizards will also get the opportunity to embed one of their coaches with the G League squad, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who tweets that player development assistant Mike Williams will be part of Erie’s staff.

Additionally, four preseason Exhibit 10 contract recipients who would have become the Wizards’ affiliate players if the Capital City Go-Go had been part of the revamped G League season will now join the BayHawks instead. As Ava Wallace of The Washington Post tweets, those four players are Jordan Bell, Yoeli Childs, Caleb Homesley, and Marlon Taylor.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated makes a case for why the Wizards should seriously consider trading Bradley Beal sooner rather than later. Pina wrote his column before James Harden was moved, but that deal should only make Beal a more attractive trade target for the teams that missed out on Harden.
  • Could the Wizards turn to free agency in an effort to fortify their center position following Thomas Bryant‘s season-ending ACL tear? Frank Urbina of HoopsHype identifies six available players the team should consider if it wants to sign a big man.
  • The Wizards’ 3-8 record puts them near the very bottom of the NBA standings, but the unusual nature of this season makes it too early to rush to judgement, argues Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.
  • In case you missed it, five Wizards players have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, potentially jeopardizing the team’s Sunday and Monday games against Cleveland. The Wizards have already had two games (Wednesday’s and Friday’s) postponed this week due to the coronavirus.