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The Washington Wizards are reportedly open to trading their lottery pick of No. 10 overall in the 2022 NBA draft.
According to ESPN NBA draft expert Jonathan Givony, the Wizards want to improve their backcourt and could use that pick to do so whether it is by utilizing it or trading it.
Givony mocked Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis to the Wiz at 10th overall but also reported that it is “widely assumed” Washington would be willing to trade the selection for a “proven backcourt player.”
After sneaking into the playoffs with a 34-38 record in 2020-21, the Wizards experienced a downturn this season, going 35-47 and finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the step back was the health of star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who missed 42 games primarily because of a wrist injury that required surgery.
Without Beal, Washington’s backcourt was largely listless, and it relied heavily on forwards and centers such as Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Daniel Gafford and Rui Hachimura to lead the way.
Aside from Beal, who led the team in scoring this season with 23.2 points per game after averaging over 30 points per game in each of the previous two campaigns, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the only guard to finish in the top seven in scoring on the team among players who were still with the franchise at the end of the season.
Additionally, Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith are the only guards guaranteed to be under contract for the Wizards next season as of now since Beal has a player option and could decide to become a free agent.
Even if Beal opts in or signs a long-term extension, there is no question that Washington needs backcourt help, especially at the point guard position.
Spencer Dinwiddie was the Wizards’ point guard for about half of the 2021-22 season, but he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in a deal for Porzingis. That left the Wiz incredibly thin at guard.
KCP stepped up and started 77 games, but with just 1.9 assists per game, he clearly isn’t the type of playmaker the Wizards need alongside Beal, assuming Beal returns next season.
Although he stumbled this season after getting traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, Russell Westbrook paired fairly well with Beal during the 2020-21 season and helped Washington reach the playoffs.
If the Wizards can find a similar player on the trade block, it would make sense to make a run at him and perhaps part with the 10th overall pick, which is far from guaranteed to yield a star player.