WASHINGTON. At one end of the NBA roster building spectrum is analytics, where performance and performance must be translated into wins. At the opposite end are intangible things that those who play and practice the game know to exist but cannot be quantified. One of those intangible qualities that some Wizards players say the team lacks is a canine mentality.
There isn’t really a tried and true definition for this, but it basically means competitive fire and aggressiveness, especially defensively. Bradley Beal, for example, said on NBC Sports Washington’s Postgame Live in March that he thought the Wizards needed to find “some dog wings”.
Wizards president Tommy Sheppard made some comments on the matter during Monday’s pre-draft press conference at the Capital One Arena.
“We need more dogs. You hear it often, our players love to say it. And what does that mean and how are you going to do it, how much of a mindset that we don’t have or to bring the players out is being discussed,” he said.
It seems to be the unspecified missing ingredient for the Wizards’ weak defense, which ranked 25th best last year after significant efforts to improve this area last summer. There are also more specific needs that Sheppard believes he can fulfill.
Everyone already knows they need a point guard, and Sheppard believes this is the starting point for fixing their defense.
“For us, I think defending your position will be crucial. If I told you that we are being hurt very badly in terms of perspective, then that tells you that we need someone with a defensive mindset that we can put in there,” he said.
It is not yet known where the Wizards will be able to find a point guard. If G-League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels drops on the 10th pick, he could make sense in that regard, though he is expected to be picked early at the moment.
There is also a shopping market. Washington is showing some interest in Pacers defenseman Malcolm Brogdon, according to several media outlets. Some free agency defense options may include Dennis Schroeder and Tyus Jones.
Sheppard sees great potential in acquiring a defensively oriented point guard. He thinks that this might help Bill to reveal his advantages on the other side of the floor.
“I think one of our best defenders is Bradley Beal. Over the past few years, we have asked Bradley a lot to do. To be a two-sided player, you need a little more help from both sides. trying to keep adding,” Sheppard said.
Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. also expressed support for Beal’s defense last year when he took over the job. Beal was then part of a Wizards defense that was considered one of the worst in the NBA.
But if they find the right defender to join him in the backcourt, the results may be different going forward.