Now that we’ve looked at ball-handlers and wings, it’s time to check out the bigs of the team. Due to many injuries, we fans have had the chance to see extended minutes for each of these players, which help Tommy Sheppard and the rest of the front office greatly when it comes to personnel decisions.
Dāvis Bertāns blew us all away (well, except die-hard Spurs fans) and there’s good reason to believe the front office is looking to keep him in a Wizards uniform for years to come. The Three-Point Challenge finalist shouldn’t be signed at any cost, as any per-year average over $15 million or so would be too much, but he’s a key piece to an offense that needs him. And just imagine what he could do receiving dimes from John Wall.
Thomas Bryant had quite the off-year, dealing with several injuries and only averaging about 13 points and seven rebounds per game. He kept his three-point efficiency, shooting 40% on about two attempts, but he’s going to have to increase those numbers across the board if he’s gonna validate the approximate $17 million he’s owed over the next two seasons. A trade could be in the cards if there’s another team that believes in him. But at this rate, it makes sense for the Wizards to give him another chance. Only 38 games played doesn’t provide much opportunity.
Mo Wagner was at times a great find, but was somewhat of a dud just as often. He showed flashes of greatness on the offensive end, but never really contributed defensively. The Michigan product has more to prove on the final couple years of his rookie contract — he can be extended a qualifying offer in the summer two seasons from now.
Ian Mahinmi is one of the last headstones in the Ernie Grunfeld graveyard of horrible free-agent signings. In the nicest way possible (Mahinmi has endured plenty of misplaced fan hate over the years), there’s no way he’s getting re-signed. With several younger, better bigs on the roster, I don’t see any reason why Mahinmi would be brought back after several very bad seasons with the Wizards. It would have to be a near-minimum contract to be worth just how little he’s offered the team.
Anzejs Pasecniks, like Wagner, gave fans reasons to be excited this season. He did enough to earn a two-year extension on his G League contract, so the team will have two more seasons to watch the young man grow into an offensive threat. His overall body of work isn’t inspiring, but if he’s given the minutes, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be a good injury fill-in for a few years to come.
This position isn’t really a strength for the Wizards, and it all depends on what the team wants to do in free agency and the draft. If Bertāns comes back on a good deal, everything will be alright. But if not, Sheppard and company have some decisions to make.