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The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The BEAL & BRODIE ERA


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Just now, BRAVEONAWARPATH said:

I don't see why it has to be an either or situation.

 

The Wiz brass believes Rui is as a much a SF (or will eventually be) as he is a PF.

 

My concern with Rui in a line up with Bertans at the other forward spot is that neither of them would be able to stay in front of their man.  Rui has a fighting chance if he's checking a PF type.  but I don't see Bertans as being able to guard anyone in the NBA really.  He's a pure offensive player.

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Just now, stevemcqueen1 said:

 

My concern with Rui in a line up with Bertans at the other forward spot is that neither of them would be able to stay in front of their man.  Rui has a fighting chance if he's checking a PF type.  but I don't see Bertans as being able to guard anyone in the NBA really.  He's a pure offensive player.

No, I understand but I think you can pick and choose when those two are on the floor together.

 

Basically, I think you can minimize their weaknesses.

 

But what I don't think you can minimize in the current NBA is lack of firepower.

 

Either you have it (Bertans) or you don't.

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2 hours ago, BRAVEONAWARPATH said:

No, I understand but I think you can pick and choose when those two are on the floor together.

 

Basically, I think you can minimize their weaknesses.

 

But what I don't think you can minimize in the current NBA is lack of firepower.

 

Either you have it (Bertans) or you don't.

 

To me, the lack of defense and rebounding is a far bigger issue.  The Lakers were a very poor shooting team, but they won the championship with two offensive guys and a dominant defense and rebounding group.  The Heat got to the Finals basically with one big time offensive player, a bunch of complimentary scorers, and a dominant defense. 

 

I don't think you can make a run with a bad defense, and I don't think you can play good defense with any version of Rui, Bertans, and Bryant where two of them are on the court at the same time.  And I don't think you can easily scheme up minutes for a front court where Rui, Bertans, Bryant, Troy Brown and then two defensive specialists to where the first three aren't sharing the court.  Plus Bonga and Wagner figure in there somewhere too.  When you put that group on the court with Beal and Robinson--not capable stoppers--and a John Wall who hasn't taken an interest on D in a long time... they're going to play awful defense.

 

We need to consolidate our young assets and add defensive rotation pieces, and to me, not overpaying for Bertans and making sure the rotation players we add from here on out are high quality defenders is essential to doing that.

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Mike Schmitz just gave some draft insight on Sportscenter.  Says the Wizards have the best value pick at 9 and will grab Okongwu.  Says he is the best big in the draft, better than Wiseman.  Defensive versatility, protects the rim, can step away and guard pick and roll.  Seems like the perfect guy for a team that has been horrible defensively forever.  

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10 hours ago, stevemcqueen1 said:

I'll be bummed if he goes before 9 too, but it kind of feels like he obviously should.  Why wouldn't Cleveland puck him?

I think Bam’s playoff performance has more eyes on Okungwu.  Suddenly 6’9 long armed centers are a thing.  Not good news if that’s who the wizards had their eye on. 

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3 hours ago, Destino said:

I think Bam’s playoff performance has more eyes on Okungwu.  Suddenly 6’9 long armed centers are a thing.  Not good news if that’s who the wizards had their eye on. 

 

Maybe we should trade up for him?  I think a lot of people might try and trade out of the first round.

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43 minutes ago, stevemcqueen1 said:

 

Maybe we should trade up for him?  I think a lot of people might try and trade out of the first round.

I don’t see the wizards trading away assets for a while.  they’ll just have to hope he drops to them.  Wizards still have got to get away from bad contracts and build a deeper team.  Ernie left a thin roster and that takes years to build up through quality draft picks and player development.  

What I’d also like to see is more evidence the wizards are improving as an organization.  I don’t like Scott Brooks still being here. 

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11 minutes ago, Destino said:

I don’t see the wizards trading away assets for a while.  they’ll just have to hope he drops to them.  Wizards still have got to get away from bad contracts and build a deeper team.  Ernie left a thin roster and that takes years to build up through quality draft picks and player development.  

What I’d also like to see is more evidence the wizards are improving as an organization.  I don’t like Scott Brooks still being here. 

Personally, I'm fine with Brooks for this kind of team.

 

Brooks's strength is actually developing young players.

 

Once/if this team becomes a contender, that's when you might have to make a move.

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10 hours ago, Destino said:

I don’t see the wizards trading away assets for a while.  they’ll just have to hope he drops to them.  Wizards still have got to get away from bad contracts and build a deeper team.  Ernie left a thin roster and that takes years to build up through quality draft picks and player development.  

What I’d also like to see is more evidence the wizards are improving as an organization.  I don’t like Scott Brooks still being here. 

 

I think the team is approaching a point where they are going to have to consolidate assets to get better.  They already have too many young role players with overlapping flaws to develop IMO: Bonga, Bryant, Rui, Brown Jr, Wagner, plus an incoming lottery pick and the bird rights on Bertans.  Seven assets that need to become a coherent and balanced rotation of like four or five since you already have a huge amount of salary in Wall and Beal.  That makes Wall and Beal our offensive foundation no matter what so long as they're here.

 

My thinking is we have too many offensive specialists and too few defensive foundation places, and by too few I mean no one on this team plays defense really.  Even if we get Okongwu, he won't be enough to turn around the D.  But if you start swapping out low hanging fruit from the rotation like Wagner and Bryant and Bertans and maybe even Rui with good defenders, then you can see a world where Wall and Bonga and Troy Brown play good D and we start winning games.

 

I'm bad at projecting growth in basketball players, but if I were in Tommy's chair, I would put all of our young guys (except for Rui probably) plus Bertans's rights on the table to get Okongwu, with the hope that I'd keep Bonga and Brown Jr as well.  I would deal 9 and Bryant for Okongwu pretty happily.  But I would also happily work out some kind of trade of Bertans and Bryant and Bonga for the pick to get Okongwu outright, so that I'd keep 9 and be able to spend it on a two way wing like Okoro or a five position switch defender like Achiuwa.  Give me Okongwu and one of those two and let me keep Rui and Brown Jr along with Beal and Wall and I think I've got the start of a balanced rotation.  Especially if I've kept Bonga too.

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My trade ideas might be lousy as I might be lowballing Bryant.  Fred Katz points out that he became an elite shot maker at the position by having a top five FG % in the restricted area and a high 3 pt FG %.

 

But my general point is that Bertans, Bryant, and Wagner all play the same role and have the same killer flaw in the total lack of rebounding and defense they provide.  We don't need three stretch bigs, just maybe one.  But other teams would want Bryant and Bertans, and maybe even want Wagner.  So this is where we should be consolidating, and then you trust your ability to develop young players and expect Hachimura to develop good three point range to give you floor spacing in the front court.

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Reading Hollinger's mock:

 

- He has us getting Okongwu at 9.  Cleveland is apparently locked in on Avdija or Toppin at 5, Atlanta probably doesn't take him at 6 since they have Capella, he thinks Patrick Williams might have a promise from Detroit, and pretty much everyone has been mocking a guard of some sort to the Knicks.  Everyone on Earth views us at 9 as Okongwu's floor, and that's clearly the outcome we're hoping for and it's one of the best value/fit picks in this years draft.  So our fear is that someone else who loves Okongwu leap frogs us in the lottery via trade.

 

- He thinks Atlanta is shopping the sixth pick, looking to move down.  I think this is probably the place for us to trade up to get Okongwu if we want to cut off the possibility of someone else leap drifting us for him.  The other team he thinks might trade down is the Knicks at 8 which is where I think other teams trying to get Okongwu would jump us.

 

- Hollinger thinks we'll pick Okoro at 9 if Okongwu is gone, based on his defensive quality and his bounciness and NBA ready frame.  But he doesn't think Okoro is a good offensive player.  This is a much less ideal outcome for us obviously.

 

- The other option Hollinger posits if Okongwu is gone is that we trade down with Boston for their three firsts, 14, 26, and 30.

 

- Even if we do get Okongwu, I'd still be interested in trading back into the first round for Precious Achiuwa.  One potential spot would be Minnesota at 17, which is where Hollinger mocked Achiuwa getting picked.  But he thinks they're trying to trade that pick, and that Achiuwa doesn't fit with their three point shooting roster they are trying to build.  Hollinger has Achiuwa ranked #20 on his overall board, but he thinks that Achiuwa is in a group of smallish five men who might have first round grades but only like two or three of them might end up going in the first because their type is too common and the value is depressed.

 

- He didn't seem high on Achiuwa's offensive potential in his big board article.  He thought he was wild and had terrible shot selection and that he can't dribble and doesn't know how to pass.  His value purely comes from his rebounding ability and his defense.  My thought is Montrezl Harrell became a shockingly respectable and high usage player on offense given where he was his first two years in Houston.  Sometimes guys grow a ton in their early 20s and change their games so much they become unrecognizable.  Someone smarter than me is going to have to sort out whether he'll be the next Harrell or the next Chris Singleton.  All I know is I see a five position switch defender who is also a great rebounder and I'm interested in that for this team in particular.

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I thought this was a pretty cool article from Seth Davis at the Athletic about the American NBA prospects in this year's class:  https://theathletic.com/2196998/2020/11/16/nba-draft-scout-lamelo-ball-obi-toppin-anthony-edwards-james-wiseman/

 

He interviewed scouts and gave an amalgam of their takes for 50 of the prospects.  These are the ones concerning the players we've discussed in here:

 

James Wiseman, 7-1 freshman center, Memphis. “He’s a physical specimen, but who does he want to be? Does he want to be a skilled guy or someone who helps you win? He needs to rim-run, rebound and protect the rim. He has always run from competition. He quit on his team this year. He reminds me of Kwame Brown. He’s really gifted, really talented. How much does he love to play? If he pops he could be Sam Perkins or Chris Bosh. The question is, does he love it enough? Does he compete at a high level? Who’s in his inner circle? What happens when things aren’t going well? He’s not a bad kid, very smart, very well-spoken. The biggest question is whether he’s tough enough.”

 

Kwame Brown?  😬😬😬😬

 

Obi Toppin, 6-9 sophomore forward, Dayton. “Elite athlete. A pogo stick. Can finish with the best of them. The only question is defensively. He’s got those high hips. Can he move his feet? His toughness is a question too. He backed away from bigger, stronger guys. I don’t think he wants to mix it up. He’s not interested on defense. He doesn’t rebound at all. I love guys who were under-recruited. He can get a rebound and lead the break. He’ll be the best player in this draft at least for next year. He’s a winner.”

 

Jalen Smith, 6-10 sophomore center, Maryland. “I’m a Jalen Smith guy. He’s a modern-day center. He’s going to continue to improve as a shooter. If you run him off the line he can straight-line finish. He had a great second half of the year. He has some holes in his game, but he’s an unbelievable kid who’s going to be a really, really good shooter. His first step is elite. He has very thin legs and a very weak base. He can be Bambi-ish at times running around. He’ll get pushed around inside. I think he’s a first-round pick in the 20 to 25 range.”

 

Isaac Okoro, 6-6 freshman guard, Auburn. “He could be the best perimeter defender in this draft. Big-time intangible guy. It was pretty telling that he played at Auburn with five seniors, and they couldn’t win a game without him. The big question is the jumper. It’s not broken, but it needs a lot of work. He shot 60 percent from 2 so this dude can finish, and he gets to the foul line a lot. A special athlete. Really thick and strong. Wants to do all the blue-collar stuff. Years away from being a good shooter. I think he’s in the top six or seven of this draft. Everything checks out background-wise. Might have the most upside of anybody.”

 

Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9 freshman center, USC. “I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about him. Elite defensively. Can move his feet, blocks shots. A little undersized at the five, but he’s big and strong enough. The concern is at the other end. Can he develop a 15-foot jump shot? He shoots it well from the foul line, so that’s encouraging. His interview was off the charts. He shot 72 percent from the foul line, which is encouraging. I could see him extending his range. He’s not a prototypical rim protector, but he’s quick enough to make up for that and block shots. If USC had a point guard, they would have been one of the best teams in the country because of him.”

 

Precious Achiuwa, 6-9 freshman forward, Memphis. “Has all the physical tools to be a high-level NBA player but tries to be someone he isn’t. Does he want to be a small-ball five or a two-guard? I know his people think he’s Pascal Siakam, but he needs to watch Siakam because that guy played his ass off, and then the skill caught up. He’s going to have to be that hard-nosed, blue-collar rebounder. Started the season trying to be a finesse player, but in the second half of the season he started to figure out, I’m gonna be a rebounder, defend my ass off, get easy baskets. So he helped himself.”

 

Also here is Saddiq Bey, who we haven't discussed, but is getting projected near our range:

 

Saddiq Bey, 6-8 sophomore forward, Villanova. “Typical Villanova player. He’s one of the most ready guys. He can make a shot, he can guard, he’s got good size, he’s a winner. A safe pick. He’s a good athlete but he’s not elite. He makes a good team better, but I’m not convinced he makes a bad team good. He’ll get drafted 11 to 15 and play for a long time. My biggest concern is, how much more is there than what you see?”

 

From the sound of things in this article, we need to get either Okongwu or Okoro to get the best value out of #9.  So that's the outcome I'll root for on Wednesday.  If we get Toppin, then we're going to have to rework our roster.  Those Wiseman takes were brutal,  but sometimes you have to take a chance on people growing up and figuring out how to be pros.  Kind of reminds me of the situation with Andre Drummond when he came out, so he could be good value at 9.  BTW, their takes on Lamelo Ball and Anthony Edwards were even more harsh, to the point where it feels like a top three pick is going to get some GM fired this year.

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The stuff I read about Isaac Okoro makes me think he's a jump shot away from being the best all around player in the class.  Everything people want from Anthony Edwards in terms of style and intangibles are what Okoro actually has.  He just doesn't have the refined shooting skills of an elite wing.  Shooting is something that many prospects dramatically improve, and it's not unreasonable to think that three years from now, he could be a good shooter.

 

Sam Vecenie has Okoro ranked 5th on his Big Board, and his breakdown is glowing:

 

"STRENGTHS: The place to start is he just makes teams better through his sheer presence on the court. The consummate team player who does everything. It’s not an accident that Auburn lost to SEC basement dwellers Georgia and Missouri in two of the three games Okoro missed because of a sprained ankle. Overall Auburn was 15 points better than its opposition per 100 possessions when Okoro was on the floor and was just about even with its opponents when he left the floor"

 

Here is his breakdown of Okoro's defensive ability:

 

"He just does a lot of things well and does so while being an elite athlete. He’s 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10-ish wingspan and has great quickness, speed and leaping ability. He also is a fluid athlete despite a well-built 225-pound frame that allows him to play physically. More than anything though, it starts with his basketball IQ. His feel for the game is off the charts. The place where that is most noticeable is on defense. Okoro is terrific in all capacities. He is so smart and solid as an off-ball, team defender. He’s always in the right position rotationally. His closeouts are low with his arms up and it’s tough to drive him and get past him. As a weak-side defender, you’ll occasionally see him rotate over for a weak-side block. He’s great in scramble situations at causing havoc. He’s disruptive in exchanges and fights through screens. Not really a gambler, hence the low steal total, but don’t mistake that for defensive inaction. On the ball, he’s well-schooled in defensive slides and can drop his hips well. He is a menace in recovery, too, if he has to back into actions. And most importantly, he’s switchable 1 through 4 in the NBA and can take on tough wing assignments because of his strength. Okoro profiles as a potential borderline All-Defense team member on the wing if he keeps improving. But at the very least, he should be a part of good defenses in his career. NBA coaches should feel confident putting him out there from Day One and know that he’ll do his job."

 

His weakness is his jumper.  From Vecenie:

 

"The jump shot is kind of a mess. It’s inconsistent in terms of mechanics, particularly off the catch. Doesn’t have good shot prep and doesn’t involve his legs much. It’s a two-motion jumper there that often has a bit of a pause at the top, then a release that doesn’t come off the hand with good rotation or cleanly. His elbow flares regularly. Has a ball dip that he uses to get momentum to go up. His shoulders kind of hunch at times and then other times he fades away unnecessarily. It’s all over the place."

 

This is the summary section:

 

"Ultimately, everything hinges on the shot. If he shoots it at even a reasonable level, he’s a monstrous role player who helps you win as a secondary player. He does a lot of similar things to Andre Iguodala entering the NBA out of Arizona. His feel is off the charts, his intersection of strength and athleticism is superb and he defends multiple positions at a high level. He could be even more than that, though, if the jumper breaks right. There is also some real star upside here if he can keep improving off the dribble. I don’t think he gets to this level, but there are some Jimmy Butler shades here because of the way he sees the game and gets downhill. But if the jumper never comes along enough, we’re probably looking at a skill package similar to what Justise Winslow has brought to the table and that’s shown to be useful but limited. The marginal gains on an improved jumper could shoot him into a stratosphere and the diminishing returns on the jumper never getting there could significantly hinder him to the point that he’s more of a solid role player who starts as opposed to a difference-maker. The upside of the former is real and could allow him to become a star. Even if he ends up hitting his floor, he’s still a guy who helps you win games, albeit as a role player. To me, the intersection of his floor and ceiling both being relatively high push him to No. 5. The more likely outcome is that he ends up closer to the middle or floor of that projection, but even if that happens I’m comfortable with him being on my roster because of his professional demeanor, winner’s mentality and elite feel for the game."

 

Iguodala and Jimmy Butler comparisons have me sold.  He also sounds like a bigger, more athletic and more level-headed version of Marcus Smart, which would be highly valuable.  This guy is who we need.  He's a good culture fit and he's an elite team defender as well as on-ball stopper.  We offer the right kind of role and situation for him too because we've got scorers and shooters at all of our other spots on the floor.

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2 hours ago, philibusters said:

Appreciate all the good stuff.  It sounds like Okongwu is maybe our best choice and Okoro the second best choice for us.   Would Okoro would play the 3 or 2 for us?

 

I think it would depend on who else was in the line up.  He wouldn't be taking Beal's job.  So presumably he'd play around Beal and Rui and Troy Brown Jr.  The nice thing is he demonstrated the strength to guard 1-4.  He's apparently a tank.

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1 hour ago, stevemcqueen1 said:

 

I think it would depend on who else was in the line up.  He wouldn't be taking Beal's job.  So presumably he'd play around Beal and Rui and Troy Brown Jr.  The nice thing is he demonstrated the strength to guard 1-4.  He's apparently a tank.

 

Yeah it sounds like Okongwu and Okoro would both be good picks, but in terms of working them into the current rotation, Okongwu would be an easier fit.

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2 hours ago, philibusters said:

Yeah it sounds like Okongwu and Okoro would both be good picks, but in terms of working them into the current rotation, Okongwu would be an easier fit.

 

That sounds right to me.  Okoro has better potential, but Okongwu is a better fit.  Whether to go BPA or get the player that fills a really huge need is a good question.  We're not at the beginning of a rebuild.  We've got an established team architecture and could experience a quick turnaround if we fill certain roles with good players.  But you also have to question the ceiling of this team given Wall's age and injury history and salary plus Beal's defensive limitations and lack of long term team control.  So picking Okongwu because he's a better fit could blow up in our faces if Beal leaves and Wall is done.

 

But at the end of the day, if you pick Okongwu and he turns into Adebayo, you still feel alright about that pick even if you pass on Okoro and he turns into Jimmy Butler.

 

There are pretty good reasons to think that Okoro won't reach Butler's level and Okongwu won't reach Adebayo's level apparently.  From Vecenie's scouting report, Okoro's handle isn't very tight and he had an even assist to turnover ratio suggesting that he's not the creative passer that Butler is.  He could cap out as a secondary or tertiary ball handler for an offense.  (But Okoro played full time as a freshman whereas Butler didn't, and Butler came out as a junior and still took four years in the NBA to get really good).

 

And Vecenie says that the Adebayo comparison starts to fall apart with Okongwu when you look at his handle and passing ability.  Okongwu just doesn't have that in his game like Adebayo does.  Thus they are probably the poor man's versions of Butler and Adebayo.

 

But I think it's also worth pointing out that players do beat the projections of their ceilings and Adebayo and Butler were fairly low picks that the scouts didn't expect to end up being as good as they became.

 

At any rate, I am horrible at projecting growth in basketball players.  I'm glad I don't have to make our draft picks, because my record on who I'd have picked over the last ten years is terrible.  I have a decent amount of trust in this front office and feel they will generally do well in the late lottery, so I'll hold off a harsh reaction to whatever they decide on Wednesday.  But I'm really rooting for us to get either Okongqu or Okoro now, and it'll be disappointing if we either pass on them or they get picked before 9.

 

One more thing, I still like Precious Achiuwa too even thought the he has zero offensive skill and he was old for a freshman.  If there is even a remote chance that he could grow into a Pascal Siakam type then I want us to get him.  I feel like we could move around in the first, get him and stash him in the G League for his first year while we try and build up a workable offensive game for him.  He has the motor and defensive ability to be a worthy of the the work it will take to develop him.  He didn't start playing basketball until the 8th grade, so there might be more upside with him than people expect given he's already 21.

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here’s what I don’t want.  I do not want a defensive wing with no offensive game.  Those players play for on average 600 different teams throughout their careers unless they surprise everyone and learn to shoot at an all star level.

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1 hour ago, Destino said:

here’s what I don’t want.  I do not want a defensive wing with no offensive game.  Those players play for on average 600 different teams throughout their careers unless they surprise everyone and learn to shoot at an all star level.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as one example...

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2 hours ago, BRAVEONAWARPATH said:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as one example...

Exactly.  Id also add that a good draft pick has to be good with the team that drafts them for a long time.  It doesn’t count if they’re good somewhere else.

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3 hours ago, Destino said:

here’s what I don’t want.  I do not want a defensive wing with no offensive game.  Those players play for on average 600 different teams throughout their careers unless they surprise everyone and learn to shoot at an all star level.


anytime a player is still a jump shot away from being a good all-round player after playing basketball for a long time, just say no

Edited by Hersh
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  • Destino changed the title to The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The BEAL & BRODIE ERA

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