Snider: Did the Wizards do enough to contend again?

by Rick Snider

The Washington Wizards lost the offseason and have fallen further into their ever-loving pursuit of mediocrity.

No Kevin Durant. No first-rounder. No second-rounder. There is very little that says the Wiz will be better than last year’s disappointing 41-41.

If this is general manager Ernie Grunfeld’s redemption tour, it’s going to be a short one.

Not getting Durant isn’t the Wiz’s fault. He wasn’t coming home. Indeed, Durant went nearly as far away as possible to Golden State, which is already taking pre-orders for 2017 championship rings.

Trading the first-rounder for Markieff Morris last season probably wasn’t a bad move given Grunfeld’s history of bad draft picks that weren’t no brainers. Grunfeld would have just taken a European project that faded away. Oh wait, the Wiz finally signed guard Tomas Satoransky, who was Washington’s 32nd overall pick in 2012. He spent the last two seasons with FC Barcelona.

Mostly, the Wiz added minor role players while giving oft-injured guard Bradley Beal a max contract. The roster now looks much like last season with four good players and the rest. Problem is that lineup struggled to win 41 games.

The inability to sign an impact player leaves the Wiz floundering like they mostly have for the last 35 years. It’s Groundhog Day: NBA Edition. Same old, same old and losing always gets old.

How can the Wiz fool fans into coming to Verizon Center this fall without marketing the opposing team? It’s going to take a max effort, perfect health, growth by reserves and lots of luck.

This has been and will be John Wall’s team. He’s the alpha even if Beal now makes more money. But if Beal can remain healthy alongside Wall, it’s not a bad backcourt. Not the NBA’s best as they touted before last season, but still pretty good. Trading for Utah point guard Trey Burke certainly bolsters depth.

Can Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre mature into big contributors? Porter has flashed at times while Oubre never really gained a chance as a rookie last season. They can be contributors, but not leaders.

Marcin Gortat averaged 13.5 points and 9.9 rebounds last season. That’s all he can do. Adding 6-foot-11 free agent center Ian Mahinmi, who’s coming off a career-best 9.2 points and 7.1 rebounds, with a four-year, $64 million deal should also help.

Essentially, the Wiz made some nice minor moves. The problem is they needed a major move to even pretend to be playoff contenders.

Washington is now on the clock for the 2017 draft when maybe someone new can help this team.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.


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