The Washington Wizards Need To Start Off Their Rebuild Right

The Washington Wizards have finally entered a full-on rebuild, trading away Bradley Beal, and embracing life as a team of tomorrow, with a focus on development and upside.

In the years to come, as Washington will undoubtedly attempt to build further through the NBA Draft, the club is relying on Kyle Kuzma, who they re-signed to a four-year deal worth $90 million, and Jordan Poole, who they acquired from the Golden State Warriors, to produce for them.

There’s skepticism in regards to how efficient that duo will be, as neither player is a pillar of quality shot-making.

However, the potentially poor fit of Kuzma and Poole might stand to benefit Washington at least this season. Providing the duo with a green light to shoot could lead to a significant amount of losses, without sacrificing effort.

The Wizards didn’t get the haul they were hoping for in regards to any Beal trade, meaning they aren’t loaded up with future draft capital like the Oklahoma City Thunder or Utah Jazz when they shipped out their stars.

As such, a losing season – if not two – will be an outright necessity for Washington if they wish to build something sustainable.

While the organization does have young players in need of development, such as Johnny Davis and Bilal Coulibaly, Kuzma and Poole shouldn’t occupy the offense to an extend where the youngsters won’t have a chance to get in some opportunities themselves.

That balance is going to be crucial moving forward. The team won’t be competitive, in part by design, but that mustn’t come at the expense of the young players on the roster looking to gain valuable on-court experience.

This is where Tyus Jones enters the mix.

The veteran point guard is one of the most steady playmakers in the NBA, and his job this season will be to assists that aforementioned balance. Jones will be tasked with giving the ball to Poole and Kuzma in scoring positions, and he’ll be tasked with taking the young players under his wing, and point out schemes and systems to them.

Jones, essentially, will function as an extended coach on the floor, which is a major undertaking for a point guard who has never been a full-time starter.

Evidently, there are lot of questions hanging over this team.

How will Poole and Kuzma play in larger roles? Can the team’s young players achieve the right development in what will have to be a losing environment? Is Jones capable of being a starter, and balancing all those tasks?

Maybe most importantly, the Wizards have to ask themselves how they create an environment where winning isn’t downgraded, but instead frozen. Every team wants to put a competitive product on the court, even when they know that might not be the best path for them long-term. Outright tanking, especially for an extended period of time, can lead to consequences.

Players begin to feel apathetic about basketball. Young players begin to try less, not seeing the point of putting in more work. The sting of losing is replaced by a feeling of gratitude for the game to be over. Life off the court begins to have a bigger allure than the game itself.

The Wizards are going into Year 1 of a total rebuild, and they must enter it with a plan to avoid the above scenarios. Like their players, they will need to compromise, and they will need to keep a foot in the present, and not exclusively in the future.

It’s going to be a challenging year in Washington.

Unless noted otherwise, all stats via, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball-Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

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