A very early look at Wizards' trade deadline needs originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The 2022 NBA trade deadline is not until Feb. 10 and as this Wizards' season has already shown, a lot can happen in a short period of time. Their seesaw trajectory so far makes it difficult to predict the future in many respects.
These next 50-or-so days, however, will be an evaluation period for Washington to decide how to function when Feb. 10 arrives. By then, it should have a better idea of what it needs, as well as how things stand with star guard Bradley Beal and his contract future.
The Wizards have played 31 games so far and have 22 remaining - 52 days total - before the deadline is here. That means a majority of the data they will go off of is already available. With that in mind, here are some areas they may need to consider if they don't improve them in the next month-plus...
Despite adding shooters in the offseason, the Wizards continue to have trouble making their threes. In fact, they make the fewest threes (9.8/g) of any team in the league and shoot the third-lowest percentage (32.2%). It's a glaring issue and a major reason why they are 23rd in offensive efficiency (107.9) and 25th in scoring (105.6 ppg).
The Wizards can let it ride for a bit longer and hope guys start shooting closer to their career norms (Davis Bertans?), that Corey Kispert continues to get more comfortable and that the return of Thomas Bryant helps. There are some legitimate reasons to believe they can be a better shooting team as time goes on. But if they don't show progress, it will quite clearly be a big need entering the trade deadline.
NBC Sports Washington analyst and 13-year NBA veteran Tony Massenburg has a great adage about NBA big men. He likes to say that 'either you are a moose or a deer.' It's pretty self-explanatory, really. Some big men are bigger and more physically imposing than others and the Wizards could use a moose. They were one of only six teams to open this season without a player taller than 6-foot-10.
While Washington has remained very good at defending the three-point line this season, it has struggled to lock down the paint. They allow the third-most points in the paint (48.6/g) and the second-highest field goal percentage (66.1) within five feet of the rim. There are a lot of reasons for that, but it might help just to have a 7-footer on the bench to go to when they face off against a giant. The Wizards' lack of size could become especially apparent if they get in a playoff series with the Sixers (Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond) or Bucks (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez).
Speedy point guard
Similar to their three-point shooting, the Wizards' point guard rotation was expected to be better than it has. They have three players at that position - Spencer Dinwiddie, Raul Neto and Aaron Holiday - who can play physical defense and bring something to the table offensively. Overall, they haven't been consistent as a group and there is a bit of redundancy in their playing styles.
The Wizards seemingly could use another backup point guard who pushes the pace and brings some passing creativity to the offense. A pure change of speed could be valuable, as the Wizards rank 25th in pace this season. It could be effective to have someone bring a jolt off the bench and create some open threes on the fastbreak for guys like Bertans and Kispert. The Wizards rank among the worst transition teams in the league. They are dead-last in transition points per game (14.2), 29th in points per possession (1.02) and also tied for 29th in fastbreak points (8.7/g).