Wizards point guard search heating up ahead of NBA Draft
Could Washington be unlikely team to trade up for Purdue's Jaden Ivey?
The highest priority on Washington’s offseason checklist at the moment is what to do with the tenth overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. Yes, Bradley Beal’s impending contract decision does carry the most magnitude inside of Capital One Arena, but I’d imagine a respectable amount of what goes down in just a week from now in Brooklyn, New York will factor into what the 11-year vet ultimately decides to do in free agency.
Washington needs a point guard. It’s that simple. The only problem is this is one of the toughest offseasons to acquire a game changing floor general. Jalen Brunson headlines the unrestricted free agent point guard market, and Washington simply can’t afford him. Next up is, checks notes, Ricky Rubio who tore his ACL in December. After that, it’s Delon Wright. Exactly.
"I can’t say this enough: you can’t be afraid to take big swings when you get an opportunity in the summer with free agency, when you get an opportunity with trades and especially at the trade deadline," Wizards team president, Tommy Sheppard said back in February. "Some things present themselves to you. Jerry West told me when I got this job ‘don’t ever be afraid to take a big swing.’ There’s only going to be so many opportunities to get talent and to get talent, you have to give up talent."
Those comments came after the team traded away Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to Dallas for Kristaps Porzingis and a second round pick. A pretty big swing. And from the looks of it, Sheppard may be swinging for the fences once again on draft night.
Washington’s front office is really high on 6-foot-4 guard, Jaden Ivey out of Purdue. They've spent a significant amount of time discussing possible trade packages to acquire the number four overall pick from Sacramento, Ivey’s assumed draft position, sources tell me. Ivey, 20, regularly pulls comparisons to explosive combo guards Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook.
Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 3.1 assists, and 4.9 rebounds during his sophomore season with the Boilermakers. He shot 46 percent from the field, 35.8 percent from behind the arc, and 74.4 percent from the charity stripe.
In an April interview with Team 980 hosts Chris Russell and Pete Medhurst (one of my favorite weekly radio hits for BetMGM), Sheppard said “I don’t see a rookie starting at point guard for us next season. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see that. I think free agency or trade is probably the right route to go.”
As we all know, plans can certainly change. Since that interview, Sheppard and his staff have been working around the clock to gather information about prospects. They’ve sat in on private workouts, talked to guys face-to-face, made calls around the league about the possibility of moving up or down, and adjusted their outlook on June 23rd accordingly.
But, sticking to the theme of Sheppard’s comments from April, Washington has also cast a wide net in hopes of pairing a more established floor general beside Beal. League sources say they’ve checked in with Oklahoma City regarding Shai Gilgeous Alexander, San Antonio regarding Dejounte Murray, and Indiana regarding Malcom Brogdon. Beal is believed to welcome the acquisition of any of the three, I’m told.
Truthfully, I’m not sure Washington has the assets necessary to pry Murray or SGA away from their respective teams. Unless, of course, a good mixture of future first round picks is in the equation (paging Sam Presti). Murray is coming off his first All-Star campaign and is viewed around the league as San Antonio’s cornerstone guard. While there may be a tad bit more optimism when it comes to SGA’s availability, I’d imagine it still costing Washington a haul. Also, it’s not like Washington has a ton of assets teams around the league are fawning over. Brogdon is the most likely move to be made. After Indiana traded away a two-time All-Star in Domantas Sabonis prior to the deadline, it’s clear that they want to remodel their roster around Tyrese Haliburton. Just earlier this week Jake Fischer of B/R reported Indiana being open to trading both Brogdon and Myles Turner.
Brogdon, 29, averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists last season but he only played 36 games due to right Achilles issues. He’s played more than 60 games just twice in his six year career.
Regardless of what road Washington elects to travel down in hopes of addressing the point guard position this offseason, one thing that’s certain is they’re leaving no stone unturned.