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Wizards Midway Miracle?

With the midway point of the season approaching in the NBA, the Washington Wizards have had nothing positive to talk about as they are looking up from the bottom of the Eastern Conference currently holding the 12th spot in the East. With such an abysmal start and a conference just waiting for someone to challenge the number one team and clear front runner the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokumpo in the long run, questions start to surface if changes should be made? The answer to this question is yes. However, it is almost impossible to make a move that will inevitably be a valuable upgrade to the Wizards as a superstar is required to make this positive change happen.

With the team only having mid-tier players to shop around the trade block before the trade deadline, it is sad to say that nothing will seem to differ after the trade deadline ends on Feb. 6. The main attraction, the Wizards, have been receiving in terms of trades that is has been in regards to 6’10 small forward David Bertans. He has been having a career-high season averaging 15.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. He has slowly emerged as one of the best catch and shoot players in the NBA. This attention has brought in various teams around the league, yet the teams of interest aren’t compelling enough to have a General Manager let go of a player with the caliber of talent that can make an immediate impact on the Wizards.

Now looking at Bertans and the limited moves that could be made with him, and diving deeper into the Wizards roster we start scoping out the young talent and all-stars. With the newest additions of young talent being Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura, and Thomas Bryant they have all looked promising. Hachimura has lived up to his draft pick expectations and had a solid rookie season. But with the time they have had to produce and what they have brought to the table hasn’t enticed any prosperous offers yet. In saying this, they should hold on to these pieces and let them build value until a sweet offer comes along the way, and with no hesitation, take it.

Making a mental note of ensuring all possible aspects are covered with possible trades, there is curiosity out there surrounding if Isaiah Thomas still has value? This is a hard thing to concretely determine considering that Thomas’s durability isn’t the most reliable and how liable he becomes on the defensive side of the ball. Thomas is still nonetheless capable of producing a beneficial output on offense averaging a solid 12.8 points a game. Not at all saying that makes up for the cons of signing a player of Thomas’s caliber but it still is worth examining. In reality, though I don’t see the Wizards making a move for Thomas unless it would be for the purpose of getting rid of him. Which is not too bad of an idea considering how overcrowded Washington is at the guard position. If this move was made, this would open the door for players like Troy Brown Jr. and Gary Payton II to show what they could do with the right amount of playing time. I do really want to see what Payton can do seeing how Washington decided to keep him on the roster not expecting much, but no matter what the intrigue is still there.

As far as the all-stars are concerned, John Wall and probable this year’s all-star Bradley Beal, we will have to wait and see. It feels like it has been long overdue for one of the stars in this backcourt to be shopped around the trade block. If they decide to pull the trigger on one of these two players then the rebuild of the Wizards would be official. They are the only pieces remaining from the playoff runs they had a couple of years ago excluding Ian Mahinmi.

Wall has been out all of this season and last so it is impossible for them to make a move for him without giving other teams something to observe after being removed from his injury. Nobody knows what Wall’s return will look like, and it remains to be seen if the Achilles injury he suffered will affect how he plays once he has returned. Beal, on the other hand, has a contract that is up after this season so he cannot be moved until this season has commenced and not before the trade deadline of Feb. 6th. No possibilities yet, but once this season is over rest assure Beal will be the biggest interest on the Washington team. It is on the GM’s shoulders to make the proper decision, take the right offer and neglect the bad ones.

As far as developmental purposes are concerned, it only brings skepticism when discussing Ernie Grunfeld and his trade decisions. With his track record of bringing in useful talent but letting them go too early as wherever Wahington sends a player they usually blossom on their newfound team. Grunfeld had let go of plenty of skill previously like Kelly Oubre who I hated to see go. I felt he was just coming into his own in the league and went to the Pheonix Suns. This gave them a burst of energy and he became a valuable asset to their team. Also, remembering when the Wizards had Bogdon Bojanavic and traded him to the Indiana Pacers and how that helped the Indiana team catapult to the number 3 seed in the playoffs last season as a three-point specialist.

Dwight Howard was also part of this Washington ball club. Last season he was coming off an injury and of course was not playing to his full capabilities. So in return what did Grunfeld do? Ship him off to the Los Angelas Lakers where he since has returned to full health and solidified himself as a focal point in the paint. Becoming their defensive anchor and helping them stay at that number one spot in the Western Conference and seem poised to take the championship. Now that Ernie is gone and Tommy Sheppard is in the position of power hopefully his gauge of talent is more proficient than Grunfeld.

Optimism is high in Washington so hopefully the Wizards current general manager Tommy Sheppard could get it right!

John Starcks

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