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Summer review | The Wizards no longer care about Beal

While there are now not many people left on the free agent market and the workforce, except for upheaval via the expected trades of Damian Lillard and James Harden, is almost complete, it is time to take stock summer for all 30 NBA franchises.

And after Detroit, Houston, San Antonio, Charlotte, Portland and Orlando, it’s the Wizards’ turn to go under the microscope. A franchise that began a process of reconstruction following the arrival of Michael Winger.

SEASON 2022/23

35 wins – 47 losses (23rd)
22nd attack: 113.7 points scored on 100 possessions
21st defense: 114.9 points conceded on 100 possessions

ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES

Arrivals : Mike Muscala, Danilo Gallinari, Tyus Jones, Landry Shamet, Bilal Coulibaly, Tristan Vukcevic, Ryan Rollins, Jordan Poole and Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Departures : Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Monte Morris, Julian Phillips, Isaiah Todd, Jordan Goodwin

WORKFORCE 2023/24

Leaders : Tyus Jones, Delon Wright
Full-backs/wingers : Jordan Poole, Landry Shamet, Bilal Coulibaly, Ryan Rollins, Johnny Davis, Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert, Xavier Cooks, Patrick Baldwin Jr
Interiors : Kyle Kuzma, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Gill, Daniel Gafford, Mike Muscala

THE LIKELY MAJOR FIVE

Tyus Jones – Jordan Poole – Deni Avdija – Kyle Kuzma – Daniel Gafford

THE OBJECTIVE

Start from a blank page. Like the previous ones, the new leaders drew up a report of failure at the end of a new season finished in 12th place. Beyond the physical glitches of the Beal-Kuzma-Porzingis trio who could only start 35 games together, which slowed down the progression of the group, we could also note an imbalance in the offensive forces, with in particular Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, two interiors with a similar offensive profile who have rarely run at full throttle at the same time.

The need for change has been felt more than ever, and the team put in place by Michael Winger, former right-hand man of Lawrence Frank at the Clippers, has been on the lookout for opportunities that have presented themselves to put the bases of a new project and start from an almost blank page.

The decision was therefore made to part ways with Bradley Beal, just one year after his big contract extension, and Kristaps Porzingis. To compensate, Washington made two interesting moves. By first recovering a very good point guard with Tyus Jones, who is coming off his best career exercise and had become one of the strong points of the Memphis bench in recent years, and by welcoming Jordan Poole, who seemed to represent the future of the Warriors before Draymond Green’s punch completely changed the dynamic in the Bay…

Inside, the Wizards have bet on the future and stability by extending Kyle Kuzma at the expense of Kristaps Porzingis. The former Laker will serve as the basic element of the painting alongside the Gafford-Muscala tandem or even Danilo Gallinari, depending on the progress of the Italian’s recovery.

The set still seems a little fragile to get closer to the Top 8 in the East, especially at posts 3, where the Avdija-Kispert doublet is still light, and at post 5. But there is enough to launch a project of future around the Poole-Kuzma axis, whose mission will be to take this team as high as possible.

QUESTIONS

– What life without Bradley Beal?

It’s been eleven years that Wizards fans have been accustomed to following the exploits of Bradley Beal. And if he had established himself as one of the best backs in the league in the capital (when he managed to avoid the infirmary…) with in particular three selections for the All-Star Game, the various transplants added to his side over the years have not really had the expected success, between his association with John Wall in his early days, with Russell Westbrook more recently or with the Kuzma-Porzingis pair.

The hour of change had come for both parties, Bradley Beal not being the “franchise player” capable of pulling a franchise up and Washington not managing to find the right formula at his side. It was therefore time to turn the page, and it is Jordan Poole (24) and Kyle Kuzma (28) who must write the next one.

A duo that has what it takes to make sparks on the offensive level, but whose respective defensive weaknesses raise logical questions. Just like their motivation, the back of the Warriors can annoy by his sometimes dilettante behavior and his risk-taking detrimental to the team. Concerns that we also find inside, and which could be increased tenfold now that he has obtained the big contract he was waiting for.

What promise some (new) headaches for Wes Unseld Jr. and Washington fans?

– What integration for Bilal Coulibaly?

The French rear, drafted in 7th position by Indiana before being sent to Washington, has everything to be the little extra for the Wizards next season. This is also a bet on the future even if the 18-year-old player already has good references after only one pro season with Boulogne-Levallois, finalist of Betclic Elite.

An explosive player with great physical and athletic skills, Bilal Coulibaly will have his defense as his strong point to encourage Wes Unseld Jr. to put him on the field, also with good finishing qualities. In any case, he will have to give the maximum and manage to adapt as well as possible to this new basketball to find a place behind Jordan Poole and Landry Shamet on position 2.

One can possibly imagine an association with two backs as the Warriors have sometimes done. With defense likely to be a problem in Washington next season, he certainly has something to play for.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE WIZARDS NEXT SEASON?

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