The Washington Wizards have made a big move in their attempt to get back to playoffs, acquiring Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Emeka Okafor and top 12 protected 1st round pick in the 2014 draft. This moves signifies that Wizards are all in on making the playoffs this season.
Gortat is an underrated center who provides a much better low post scoring threat than Okafor. Gortat is very effective in the pick and roll game, and he should form a very effective tandem with John Wall. His presence gives the Wizards a much improved inside game, as opposed to relying as heavily on Wall and Bradley Beal as they did last season.
Brown, Lee and Marshall are thrown ins to make the salaries match, but Brown should provide some useful defense off the bench. Marshall is a former lottery pick who could the Suns gave up on quickly. He needs some work, but the Wizards could have found themselves a useful backup.
By giving up a first round pick in next year’s loaded draft, the Wizards made it clear that it is playoffs or bust this season. The Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are safe bets for the playoffs, and the Wizards will be in a battle for the final spots with the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers for the final spots.
The Wizards should have enough talent to get into the playoffs, especially if Wall and Beal continue to improve. However, the Wizards are not a lock, especially if Wall misses any significant time with injury like he did last season. Gortat makes their team stronger, but his contract expires after this season. If the Wizards fail to re-sign him, this trade will have been a major mistake.
The Wizards are taking a risk by believing that Gortat is the missing piece of the puzzle who can turn this young, talented team into a playoff team. They should make the playoffs this season, but they have to make sure that they get Gortat re-signed and set themselves up for continued playoff success.