Did The Washington Wizards Do Enough At The Trade Deadline To Keep Up?
The Washington Wizards made a move before the NBA trade deadline. But was it enough to keep up with the rest of the Eastern Conference?
The Washington Wizards made a move to upgrade their bench before the NBA trade deadline. They sent Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a first-round draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets for forward Bojan Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic easily becomes the Wizards’ sixth man and in some situations, he can be a starter. The third-year forward is averaging 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game this season despite the Nets 9-47 record.
Elsewhere in the East, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrance Ross and their first-round pick to the Orlando Magic for power forward Serge Ibaka on Feb. 17. Hours before the NBA trade deadline, they traded Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks to the Phoenix Suns for P.J. Tucker.
Ibaka is a big man with size at 6-foot-10, defensive prowess and a jump shot. He is shooting 38.8 percent from three-point range and averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
His defense hasn’t been the greatest this season, but adding him at this juncture isn’t such a bad idea.
Tucker returns to the Raptors since being drafted by them as the 35th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He is a formidable wing defender and competent three-point shooter that gives Toronto a backup for forward DeMarre Carroll.
The Raptors had won just two of their last five games before the All-Star break. With these moves, it gives them a starting power forward and added depth off the bench.
What Does It Mean for the Wizards?
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The Washington Wizards were aggressive in upgrading their bench after the All-Star break and it paid off. With their move to acquire Bojan Bogdanovic, the Wizards did enough to keep up. However, the Raptors are close behind them in their rear view with a 33-24 record.
Adding Bogdanovic to the rotation right away is important. It also helps that center Ian Mahinmi can work into the fold as well. If Mahinmi can come back productive and healthy, it will give the Wizards a solid nine-man rotation to work with before the playoffs.
With the backcourt play of Bradley Beal and John Wall, Washington hasn’t had to worry about much on offense this season. However, their bench currently ranks 29th in the league in points per game (23.4), 30th in rebounds per game (11.1) and 30th in assists per game (4.8).
It hasn’t hurt the Wizards yet.
After all, they are the third-best team in the Eastern Conference. But with a tough schedule of games ahead, the Wizards will need to use their newfound depth to get over the hump–the Cleveland Cavaliers.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 23, 2017
Bogdanovic allows the Wizards to stretch the floor and get stops when they need them. The 6-foot-8, 216-pound forward plays with an aggressive edge and is very unselfish. It may also help he plays on the Croatian National Team.
With head coach Scott Brooks at the helm, he’s in good hands.
Big Moves for Better Outcomes
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Back on Feb. 19, 2016, the team made a similar move, trading away forwards Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair and a first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for forward Markieff Morris, hoping to make a late playoff push.
The Wizards finished last season 41-41 before firing head coach Randy Wittman. Since then, they’ve hired head coach Scott Brooks. Under Brooks’ tutelage, Morris has become one of Washington’s lethal scorers from three at the stretch-4 position.
He’s found his groove again in the frontcourt next to starting center Marcin Gortat.
Another positive is Bogdanovic’s contact expires this offseason. So if things don’t work out, he’ll be a free agent this summer. Trading Nicholson away also washes the Wizards hands of the four-year, $26 million deal he signed this past summer.
Forward Otto Porter will be a restricted free agent this summer; re-signing him is a priority.
With home-and-home matchups coming up against the Raptors in D.C. on March 1 and at Toronto March 3, Washington will have a shot to show what their latest acquisition can do. They lost 113-103 to Toronto back on Nov. 2.