August 12, 2022

The Wizards enter free agency Thursday at 6 p.m. with a clear need at point guard. They may need multiple players in this position.

Here’s a look at five options they could target when opening free agency…

Tyus Jones, Grizzlies

2021-22 stats: 8.7 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.4 rpg, 0.9 spg, 45.1% FG/39.0% 3PT/81.8% FT

Age: 26 years old

2021-22 contract: $7.5 million

Jones has increased his stock significantly this season by replacing Ja Morant and then during the playoffs where he has been a key contributor. He’s likely to get a starting job if he leaves Memphis and would help the Wizards meet their defensive and outside shooting needs. Jones hit a career-best 39.0 percent from long range last season and is on a trajectory that suggests he could continue to improve in years to come. It wouldn’t be a surprise if two years from now he not only made three at a high percentage, but in greater volume than the 2.8 attempts he averaged last season.

In signing Jones, the Wizards should consider his height (6 feet) alongside Bradley Beal and they should also make sure they can afford him. It’s hard to gauge what he will earn in his next contract, but it may require a signing and a trade for Washington. His lack of height could be mitigated by the fact that the Wizards’ frontcourt has plenty of height, not just with Kristaps Porzingis but with a collection of great forwards like Kyle Kuzma and Deni Avdija.

Collin Sexton, Riders

2021-22 stats: 16.0 ppg, 2.1 apg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 spg, 45.0% FG/24.4% 3PT/74.4% FT

Age: 23 years old

2021-22 contract: $6.4 million

Sexton may have the most advantages on this list. His 2021-22 numbers don’t do him justice as a player, as they’ve been affected by a small squad (11 games) and injuries. He was a much better shooter in previous years, with a career 3-point percentage of 37.8%. That should be of interest to the Wizards, who made the fewest threes of any team last season.

Sexton, however, is more of a point guard and the style he plays doesn’t match how team president Tommy Sheppard and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. have described their ideal ground general. Nor is Sexton tall for the position, at 6-foot-1, or a standout defender. But maybe they can overlook those traits and maybe compensate in other areas of the roster to streamline the arrival of a player as talented as him.

Jalen Brunson, Mavericks

2021-22 stats: 16.3 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.9 rpg, 0.8 spg, 50.2% FG/37.3% 3PT/84.0% FT

Age: 25 (he will be 26 in August)

2021-22 contract: $1.8 million

Like Jones, Brunson helped himself with a strong playoff run and probably to an even greater degree. There is speculation that he could earn over $20 million a year. That would certainly take him out of the wizarding range, barring a sign and trade. Brunson, however, is a formidable player who can reach the edge and shoot from the outside. He can also make plays for others, as he averaged 4.8 assists per game last season despite sharing the floor with Luka Doncic, who makes up a large part of the Mavericks’ attack.

Brunson seems unlikely for the Wizards and more likely to go to a team like the Knicks, based on most offseason rumors. There’s also a good chance he’ll stay put and re-sign with the Mavericks, who certainly don’t want to take a step back after reaching the conference finals last season. But he’s one of the best free agent point guards available, so he makes the list.

Dennis Schroder, Rockets

2021-22 stats: 13.5 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.3 rpg, 0.8 spg, 43.1% FG/34.4% 3PT/85.3% FT

Age: 28 (he will be 29 in September)

2021-22 contract: $5.9

Schroder could be a big deal for the Wizards after having a down year with the Celtics and Rockets. But he would tick a few boxes for Washington in that he’s a fairly tall guard (6-foot-3) and in his prime years made an impact both on defense and as an outside shooter. It’s been a few years since he’s had one of those seasons.

Schroder is two years away from averaging 18.9 points while shooting 38.5 percent from three for the Thunder. He is one season away from averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals for the Lakers when he was a key player on their title team. Perhaps the Wizards could see him as a low risk/high reward bet and potential for him to be a pretty decent complement to Beal in terms of playstyle.

Delon Wright, Hawks

2021-22 stats: 4.4 ppg, 2.4 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.2 spg, 45.4% FG/37.9% 3PT/85.7% FT

Age: 30 years old

2021-22 contract: $8.5 million

The oldest and tallest option (6ft 5in) on this list, Wright has been a substitute for most of his career, and a good one. It might be overkill for the Wizards to target him as a full-time starter, but he would certainly meet some needs. His size, defense, and shooting would all help their cause. Wright has a knack for playing basketball effectively in a secondary role.

Wright could be a good choice as a backup point guard for the Wizards, if not as a starter. But whether they could afford to pay him for this role while signing another player to start is a real question. Wright earned $8.5 million last year, which would take up most of their mid-tier exception.