With the Washington Wizards starting training camp next week and preseason next month, it is important to take stock of where the roster stands at each position. Who is the starter, backup, and reserve players? What did they do last year and what should we expect this year. Next up, the small forwards.
Starter: C.J. Miles
Player Bio: 32 years old, 14 years experience, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Skyline in Dallas, TX (HS)
2018-19 Statistics: 6.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 36.0 percent shooting, 33.0 percent three-point shooting in 16.2 minutes per game over 53 games.
Despite Miles having a higher salary this season than Dwight Howard, Tommy Sheppard made a no brainer trade with Memphis to bring in a veteran wing and ship out a likely bench warmer. Miles underwent percutaneous surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot exactly two months ago on July 25. As of one week ago during the Mystics second playoff game against the Las Vegas Aces, Miles was still sporting a walking boot. That means he is unlikely to be ready for training camp next week. Heck, there is a decent chance that Miles’ injury is more significant than the team is letting on as no official update has been provided six weeks after his surgery as initially stated in the press release. Once healthy, I expect Miles to be the starter, but he will probably not hog minutes as he could evenly split them with Troy Brown Jr. who he will serve as a mentor for. Miles’ sharpshooting is something Washington has always admired.
Backup: Troy Brown Jr.
Player Bio: 20 years old, 1 year experience, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds, Oregon
2018-19 Statistics: 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 41.5 percent shooting, 31.9 percent three-point shooting in 14.0 minutes per game over 52 games.
Brown got buried on the Scott Brooks’ bench during the first half of the season. That was somewhat understandably so with Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. on the roster but things changed after they were shipped out. The then-rookie showed promise at times and versatility by playing 1 through 3, but his future with Washington will come at small forward while John Wall and Bradley Beal are around. After another summer of training in Las Vegas, Brown will get plenty of opportunities to show off his game this season. The surprise facet of his game that the no longer teenager wants to strut? His leadership.
Reserve: Isaac Bonga
Player Bio: 19 years old, 1 year experience, 6-foot-8, 180 pounds, Germany
2018-19 Statistics: 0.9 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 15.2 percent shooting, 0 percent three-point shooting in 5.5 minutes per game over 22 games.
The secondary piece involved in the trade that took Anthony Davis to Los Angeles and Moe Wagner to D.C., Bonga is a young and tall player that has traditionally played point guard. Given the Wizards’ lack of depth there with injuries to Wall and Isaiah Thomas, Bonga could get some burn as the primary ball-handler behind Ish Smith. On the other hand, Brooks could treat him similarly to Tomas Satoransky as a tall point guard that he would rather play at small forward. This season will serve as the Wizards taking a flyer on Bonga before he heads into an unguaranteed contract year next season.