The 2017 NBA Trade deadline has come and gone. Let's talk Wizards, Winners and Losers
Winner: Bojan Bogdanovic. First off, the small forward goes from the NBA's worst team to the hottest squad in the Eastern Conference. Second, he goes from arguably the worst point situation to playing with John Wall. Expect his 36 percent clip from 3-point range to jump. Don't forget he was the leading scorer in the Rio Olympics at 25.3 points per game. Washington didn't have anyone on the bench with that type of scoring pop.
Loser: ESPN Trade Machine. After insanely heavy use by hoops thinkers for weeks and weeks, the page goes quiet until the summer, basically. With the Wizards in mind, folks checked to see what kind of point guard Washington could get for say Trey Burke (and a second round pick). Per the trade machine, Darren Collison and Brandon Jennings worked. Based on the actual marketplace -- "Way too ambitious about value," per one source -- no dice.
Winner: Future blog posts mentioning the Wizards and free agent point guards like Jarrett Jack, Mario Chalmers and perhaps Deron Williams. Washington can still sign a player -- remember Drew Gooden? -- and I was told the Wizards continue exploring options. Jack and Chalmers, both coming off injuries, have worked out for other teams but remain available. Williams may receive a buyout from Dallas, according to reports.
Winner: Otto Porter's hip. The addition of Bogdanovic means Washington coach Scott Brooks has another frontcourt/wing option at his disposal. When asked how the 6-foot-8 small forward fits in with the other two small forwards in Porter and Kelly Oubre, Brooks didn't talk X's and O's. Instead he discussed how some players will lose some minutes. Neither Porter nor Oubre were mentioned. Porter, the NBA's leading 3-point shooter, won't really lose any playing time, but could see a couple of minutes shaved off here and there as a way to help with that lingering hip issue.
Loser: John Wall and Bradley Beal's legs: Washington starting backcourt averages a combined 70 minutes per game. Seeing as the Wizards didn't add backcourt help by the deadline, don't expect much of a change, at least for now, as Washington returns to action Friday in Philadelphia.
Winner: Wizards, Cavaliers. Everyone feared Boston, armed with oodles of trading ammunition including the rights to Brooklyn's coveted 2017 1st round pick, would land Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Nope. The second place Celtics did nothing. Weird. At some point you have to turn assets on paper into tangible assets, right?
Winner: Raptors. Toronto has gone from a backcourt-heavy look to a more balanced approach following deals for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. Defensively they'll be much better and overall have a starting five that can come close to matching Washington's. Along with Atlanta, there's a five-team race in the East with only four spots for home court advantage in round one. Toronto wants one of those slots and then some.
Loser: Jason Smith and Kelly Oubre Jr's minutes: Both will play, especially Oubre, but Bogdanovic will as well. Let's also not forget Ian Mahinmi is just ramping up his conditioning and comfort level after missing 50 games with knee issues. Brooks said this week the backup center will slowly begin playing more than 12-15 minutes he received in four games before the break. Smith's energy provides help. Oubre's length, athleticism and occasional moments of defensive prowess does as well. There are minutes for them, just not as many as the first 50 games. Seeing how Brooks deploys Oubre-Bogdanovic in say 5-8 is what to watch.
Winner TBD: Chris McCullough. Who knows if the 2015 first rounder will ever help, but look at these highlights and don't tell me the idea of putting him in the open court with Wall doesn't intrigue you.
Winner: Marcus Thornton. The veteran guard hasn't played since Jan. 3. Washington then won 18 of 21 games. Thornton won't be playing anytime soon seeing as the Nets are set to cut him following the trade. Maybe another team signs him. Maybe he bides his time for seven figures in China next season. He's getting paid regardless and for now doesn't have to show up at work. That's a win in my book.
Winner: Ernie Grunfeld. Houston traded Tyler Ennis to the Los Angeles Lakers. Why does this make the Wizards GM a winner? Ennis is the player Phoenix drafted 18th overall in 2014 with the pick acquired in the Marcin Gortat trade. This marks four teams in four years for the point guard. Now, it's silly to pick on Ennis or connect to the Wizards seeing as Washington probably wouldn't
Loser TBD: Ernie Grunfeld. I'll give him props for unloading Andrew Nicholson's four-year contract when he could. Of course, the team president is the one who signed the forward to the $26 million deal last summer. Of all the offseason moves, I thought the scoring threat with 3-point range had the best shot to succeed here and even more so after watching preseason. Yet six games in he received the first of 27 DNP-CD. Still not sure what happened there other than Nicholson seemed to lose all confidence and was too slow defensively. Washington parted with 2017 1st rounder to land Bogdanovic, a restricted free agent this summer who could end up being a rental, and dump Nicholson's contract. If the Wizards win 50 games and reach the East finals, this becomes a win. For now, it's hard giving Grunfeld too much of a pass for the initial signing, though respect for not letting personal pride take over. The 2017 Wizards got better because of it.