Fred Katz and John Hollinger of The Athletic recently chatted about how they see the outlook of the Wizards for next season and beyond and the conversation contained several nuggets worth highlighting.
Hollinger sees Spencer Dinwiddie as a great fit next to Bradley Beal, as both guards bring the one thing every team needs: great shot creation in the backcourt. They are also willing passers, which usually foreshadows positive results.
Hollinger, who previously served in the Grizzlies’ front office, views Dinwiddie as an upgrade over Russell Westbrook defensively, as the former Brooklyn guard brings size and better screen defense than Westbrook. In addition to those intangibles, Dinwiddie brings more of a willingness to compete on defense, as the former MVP had a tendency to run himself out of plays defensively at times.
It’s worth noting that Dinwiddie was willing to transition into a Draymond Green-type of role with the Nets playing next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, as his ability to guard multiple positions with his length and play make for others would’ve allowed him to play that type of role.
What Washington will miss from Westbrook is his burst and explosiveness to create shots at will, but Dinwiddie provides a slight upgrade as a 3-point shooter, as he shot 37.3 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts during the 2019-20 season, which will fit in very well next to Beal.
Let’s take a look at more highlights from the latest piece from Hollinger and Katz, which is certainly worth a read on its own.
- Hollinger believes the Wizards would be selling Davis Bertans low if they were to trade him now, adding that the off-ball movement and quick-hitting stuff he excelled at two years ago was a lot less common during the short-lived Westbrook era. Overall, Hollinger believes that Bertans, who will be entering the second year of a five-year deal, will be better next season.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the 3-and-D guy the Wizards have been seeking since the departure of Trevor Ariza, Katz relays. Caldwell-Pope performs particularly well against guards on defense but is a bit undersized to handle opposing forwards. Still, he’ll provide a significant boost defensively for a team that struggled mightily on that end of the floor last season.
- Depth is a significant positive for the Wizards heading into the season, as Hollinger notes. Washington’s second options last season were a Robin Lopez post-up or occasional pin-down for Bertans, but now with Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Holiday, and Caldwell-Pope, the Wizards have plenty of scoring options in their second unit. The increased depth should also allow Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert to develop at their own pace next season.
- As previously mentioned, the Wizards struggled defensively last season, as they gave up the third most free-throw attempts per 100 possessions last season. Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope should provide a boost defensively out on the wings, as they would have had the lowest foul rates on the team last season, Hollinger notes while questioning if Daniel Gafford can anchor their defense with negative defenders, as Gafford also has a tendency to foul heavily and therefore, see less time on the court. However, Gafford is still just 22 years old and has all of the intangibles to be a good center in this league on both ends of the floor.