The 2016 NBA Free Agency period is almost here and the Washington Wizards figure to be one of the most active teams in free agency this year due to the fact that they cleared their roster to chase their Kevin Durant pipe dream (#KD2DC). It has become apparently clear that Kevin Durant will not be coming home to win one for the District which leaves the Wizards with plenty of cap room to rebuild their threadbare roster and establish a new team culture under new head coach Scott Brooks.
In order to do so the Wizards will need to target multiple players at every position to fill out their roster. Therefore, I will be releasing articles the next five days chronicling the top 5 free agents the Wizards should target at each position; point guards June 27th, shooting guards June 28th, small forwards June 29th, power forwards June 30th, and centers July 1st.
The Wizards already have an established starting point guard in John Wall, however, for years the Wizards backup point guard spot has been a rotating door of sub-par play. Last season Ramon Sessions was a pleasant surprise but he has expressed his desire to find a starting gig somewhere else. The Wizards are expected to offer a deal to 2012 draft pick Tomas Satoransky to fill Sessions role but this move would still leave the Wizards in need of a reserve point guard. Fortunately, there are several good options on the free agent market.
1. D.J. Augustin – UFA – 6’0″ – 28 years old – 13.94 PER
D.J. Augustin has made his way around the NBA and back again as he has been on 7 different teams in 8 NBA seasons. It may seem concerning that he hasn’t been able to stick with a team for very long but he provides a service that is in demand and that the Wizards could use: cheap bench scoring. The Wizards offense last season struggled when the starters went to the bench, ranking 24th in the league in bench scoring per game. The addition of Augustin could help spark the Wizards bench scoring and provide a cheap option behind John Wall and Tomas Satoransky.
2. Greivis Vasquez – UFA – 6’6″ – 29 years old – 7.47 PER
Greivis Vasquez is coming off one of the worst seasons of his six year career due to missing significant time following surgery on his ankle and foot. Investing in a player with injury concerns is a significant risk but his injury coupled with his poor play should drive his value down to a price that the Wizards can afford. Ultimately, the Wizards should take a flier on Vasquez due to his positional versatility and ability to make plays off the bench.
3. Seth Curry – UFA – 6’2″ – 25 years old – 13.90 PER
If the Wizards want to go younger at the point guard position they should look no further than Seth Curry. This past season Curry got his first shot at significant playing time in the NBA and responded by averaging 6.8 points per game and shooting a blistering 45% from three-point range. The Wizards have been linked to Seth Curry for months now because he provides the shooting and versatility that the Wizards are looking for in a reserve guard.
4. Garrett Temple – UFA – 6’6″ – 30 years old – 9.29 PER
Garrett Temple may not be the sexiest name on the free agent market but he is a player the Wizards should consider bringing back nonetheless. Temple doesn’t provide much offensively (although 2015-16 was a career year for him offensively) but he plays 3 positions and brings a defensive mindset to a team that struggled mightily on that end of the floor last season. Temple may not wow with his numbers but his defense, professionalism, and team-first attitude are all qualities that the Wizards sorely need (not to mention he can be retained using his Bird Rights).
5. Shane Larkin – UFA – 5’11” – 23 years old – 13.36 PER
The last point guard the Wizards should consider pursuing is former Brooklyn Nets point guard Shane Larkin. He figures to be more difficult to sign considering he is a young guard with potential and is more than likely seeking a chance to play significant minutes somewhere. Larkin’s skill set is similar to John Wall’s as he is a quick, play making guard that has struggles with his jumper. Wall could teach Larkin how to tailor his game to accentuate his strengths and hide his weaknesses. The Wizards would be going very young at the guard position by bringing Larkin into the fold, however, if Larkin is able to realize his potential then the Wizards would be adding a valuable play maker and facilitator off the bench.
The Wizards have a variety of options when it comes to free agent point guards, each offering a different skill set that the Wizards could use. Augustin supplies a scoring spark off the bench, Vasquez provides versatility, Curry brings lights out shooting from behind the arc, Temple delivers stellar individual defense, and Larkin offers youth and potential. Any of these players would be a welcome addition to the Wizards backcourt and shore up the need for depth at the position.