On May 5, 2023, The Athletic reporters Josh Robbins and Fred Katz reported via Twitter the Wizards fired six-year Assistant Coach-Director Player of Development Alex Mc Lean. In addition, four-year Assistant Coach-Analytics Dean Oliver was relieved of his duty.

The changes in the scouting department did not get huge press coverage but the impact is profound. This is a glaring admission that the Wizards have not been successful in finding, evaluating and developing NBA talent on a consistent basis. Every NBA and G League franchise wants to obtain young inexpensive talent and develop the talent within the franchise development system to help the franchise or “flip” the player for more draft capital (i.e. players, draft picks or salary cap maneuverability).

In my last article detailing the firing of former General Manager (GM) Tommy Sheppard, I list the Wizards recent draft picks and how they have not made a substantial impact as of yet on the franchise. However, I would like to focus on two players: Rui Hachimura (selected 9th overall in 2019) and Tyrese Haliburton (selected 12th overall in 2020 by the Sacramento Kings). A case study of these two players represent why an above-average NBA scouting department is a critical component to a franchise.

Hachimura represents a daily reminder, at least until the Los Angeles’s season is over, that a player the Wizards identified and developed is contributing to a potential NBA championship team. Hachimura was traded for perpetually injured guard Kendrick Nunn and three future second round picks. The better Hachimura and the Lakers perform the worse the trade looks for Washington trading away a lottery player they developed and refused to re-sign to a contract extension. In fairness, to former GM Tommy Sheppard chose forward Kyle Kuzma to resign rather than Rui for a contract extension. I can respect Sheppard’s basketball decision; however, the optics of the trade will not benefit him (or the Wizards franchise) when the trade is inevitably revisited if Rui Hachimura has an outstanding playoff run with the Lakers.

In the 2019 NBA draft, forward Deni Avdija was chosen with the ninth overall pick. The players selected after Deni: Jalen Smith, Devin Vassell and Tyrese Haliburton.

Haliburton is the player the Wizards will regret passing on for the next decade. Tyrese can play point guard full-time which would allow Bradley Beal to play shooting guard only (his best position). Haliburton’s first win as a member of the Indiana Pacers occurred February 16, 2022: 21 pts and 14 assists against . . . wait for it . . . the Wizards! Haliburton is only 23. He was First Team All-Rookie in 2021 and selected as an NBA All-Star in 2023. The Haliburton example crystalizes a situation where the scouting department could have fulfilled a point guard need yet four years later the franchise still looking for a point guard to lead the team.

It is not a coincidence that Mc Lean and Oliver were leaders in the Wizards scouting department during these case studies.

Jordan Goodwin represents an underrated scouting success story during the tenure of Mc Lean and Oliver. Goodwin signed a two-way contract with Washington after spending the 2021-22 season with the Capital City Go-Go and participating in the 2022 Wizard training camp. Goodwin was undrafted in the 2021 NBA draft and signed by the Wizards and develop from G League player to signing a multi-year NBA contract on February 24, 2023.

Jordan Goodwin G League Highlights

Jordan Goodwin’s accession within the Wizards organization is a win for Goodwin and a testament to his hard work and dedication. For Washington, he represents and should remind the management to draft, develop and retain players. Ironically, the undrafted Goodwin is currently on the Wizards roster a long side much higher selected lottery picks (Corey Kispert and Johnny Davis) selected by Washington over the past few years.

Whoever fills the vacancies in the scouting department need to look at former G League player Jordan Goodwin as the model for the NBA scouting philosophy: draft, develop and retain.


NOTE: The Wizards will have the eighth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.






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