The Washington Wizards are in the middle of another year in which they fall short of expectations. Despite having an All-Star backcourt, the Wizards just haven’t been able to get it together. Perhaps it’s time to break them up.
This isn’t a move that has been reported, but it’s an interesting one to consider though, to be fair, it makes several assumptions. Trading for Bradley Beal means the Pelicans wouldn’t be ready for a full rebuild in a post-Davis world. And, for the sake of this argument, I’m only mentioning these two names in the deal, with no filler or picks that would likely be a part of it.
At times, Washington has been a mess, from the players to the front office. During others–oddly enough, following John Wall‘s season-ending surgery–they look like a formidable opponent, largely on the strength of Beal’s abilities.
Right now, Beal is a better player than a healthy Wall. Though the point guard possesses elite speed and athleticism to go with nice touch around the rim and the ability to find the open man and block a shot on defense, his focus and mindset hold him back. He racks up assists, but he can hurt Washington’s ball movement seeking them and he still hasn’t developed a reliable jumper, especially from beyond-the-arc (he shot just 30 percent from distance in 32 games on a career-high 5.3 attempts per game this season).
Beal has been able to get wins as the Wizards’ sole star. He’s averaging career highs in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals. His 3-point percentage is at a career-low 35.5 percent on five attempts per game (the most ever for him), but he’s a 38.8 percent shooter from long range for his career.
While Beal, who is under contract until the summer of 2021, is probably the better option to keep, he also has more value as well. Additionally, keeping Wall not only gives you a top player at, probably, the most important position in the league, but it’s a recruitment tool. Though they missed each other by a year, Wall and Davis are both former Kentucky Wildcats, something that certainly couldn’t hurt Washington’s chances of re-signing the star big man.
Furthermore, Davis could unlock Wall’s full potential. As previously mentioned, a lot of Wall’s problems stem from his own lack of desire to play hard. Perhaps adding a talent like Davis would give him the jolt of energy that would compel him to commit himself.
In a weak Eastern Conference, having two high-level players could give the Wizards a chance to make a run at the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond. For the Pelicans, they would land an All-Star-level guard to pair with Jrue Holiday and send a talent like Davis away to the other conference.
This unlikely move would have little-to-no impact on the Warriors. In fact, it would make their road through the Western Conference even easier. The Pelicans don’t have to trade Davis to a place that he wants to go, like the San Antonio Spurs did with Kawhi Leonard and the Indiana Pacers did with Paul George. The Wizards would hope to convince him to stay.