Washington Wizards Holiday Wishlist: Defense And Growth

In some ways, the 2019-20 Washington Wizards have been better than expected, especially in the area of entertainment value. Washington’s offense has been legitimately fun and, with a star-level centerpiece in Bradley Beal, there are plenty of teams in worse shape than the Wizards. Still, there are things to improve on in the nation’s capital, and that is putting it mildly.

In this installment of our Holiday Wishlist series, we’ll take a glance at what the Wizards will be yearning for during the holiday season, including questions with the current roster and what might be in the works down the line.

#1: Health for Rui Hachimura

The Wizards are in the middle of a long-term building process and Hachimura joins Bradley Beal as the second member of the team’s core right now. In the first portion of his rookie campaign, the No. 9 overall pick has flashed some of his potential, including prolific scoring and rebounding numbers. There are still questions about Hachimura’s defense and shooting but, to this point, things have been about as good as the team could have reasonably expected.

However, Hachimura has missed multiple games with a groin ailment and the latest from Scott Brooks brings some uncertainty to the table. It doesn’t appear to be a long-term ailment but, for evaluation purposes, the Wizards need to see Hachimura on the floor as much as possible. It’s as simple as that.

#2: The next step for Troy Brown

Other than Beal, it would be easy to argue for Brown as Washington’s best wing player right now. Part of that is an indictment on the state of affairs in Washington but, at the same time, the 2018 first round pick has been pretty solid this season.

The biggest question is shooting, where Brown is converting only 31.5 percent of his threes on low volume for a wing. That was a known weaknesses when he was drafted but, in the grand scheme, it’s something that Brown has to figure out. Elsewhere, though, Brown is pretty effective, acting as one of Washington’s better defenders and flashing some of the all-court potential that made him interesting as a prospect. Brown is also only 20 years old and there is hope for him as a long-term contributor. It would just help to see more of it.

#3: A big man that can defend

Quite honestly, the Wizards need everything on defense. Washington has been historically bad defensively and, if you glance at the roster, it is very difficult to find any above-average players on that end of the floor. The worst issue, though, arrives in the frontcourt.

With respect to Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans (who has been incredible), and Moritz Wagner, the Wizards just don’t have anyone that can scare the opposition on the interior. It has resulted in tremendous offense at times but, in the short and far term, Washington has to find a rim protector and/or someone who can execute an overall defensive scheme. It’s just not a winning formula otherwise.