Both the Washington Wizards (henceforth known as the Wizzle-Wazzles) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (but we all know they’re the TimberBulls) are in weird situations, chemistry-wise: there’s SO much dysfunction in each team that it’s public AF, and everyone’s just sorta, kinda shrugging and waiting for both teams to completely explode. Like NASCAR, most viewers are here to watch a crash. I mean, Sweet Aldous Huxley, just how bad can things actually get in this brave New NBA world? Could Otto Porter, Jr. leave the team and demand an investigation into John Wall and Brad Beal and the Washington Wizards for bullying and lack of a safe working environment, a la the Miami Dolphins and Richie Incognito disaster from several years ago? Could Jimmy Butler just develop an injury and refuse to play the rest of the season, like Kawhi Leonard did just last year?
Anything’s possible, which is why this is sooooo morbidly delicious to watch. Will everyone get fired before Christmas? Will Dwight Howard’s butt injury heal in time to add to his new team’s vortex of (easily fixable) problems? Does anyone want to play in Minnesota or DC? Maybe both teams would be instantly healed if they just moved to Seattle and Baltimore. (I am a proud proponent of an NBA franchise in Baltimore.)
With all the myriad possibilities before us, and an inevitable Extinction Level Event meteor hurtling through “Team Chemistry Revelation: Space” towards both franchises, let’s go wild and wonder: could these two doofus teams actually, gasp! help each other??
Mr. Tough Guy Jimmy Butler, who’s missed a ton of games in his career (Karl-Anthony Towns has missed NONE), clearly wants out of the Minnesota TimberBulls. He wants to “win.” He’s been a jerk to the Big KAT, to Andrew Wiggins, he’s made sure everybody knows he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota (cool for the fans, I’m sure), and he’s one of the best players in the entire NBA.
Meanwhile, the DC Wizzers seem intent on making Otto Porter, Jr. cry. (They also want to win.) Now, Porter hasn’t been hitting his threes so far this year, but he had a 60% True Shooting percentage last season, he was Washington’s best long range shooter (44 3PT% in 2017-18; both Wall and Beal were sub-40 3PT%), AND he had their best field goal percentage (50 FG%, which was 15th best in the entire NBA out of guys who played 30+ minutes per game).
Despite DC being 1-6 and Minnesota being 3-4, the Wizards are still just two games out of the 8th seed in the East. HAHAHA! That’s awesome. I love the Eastern conference. It’s still super early, they’ve played 4 legitimate teams and three very scrappy ones, and THEY HAVEN’T BEEN PLAYING A REAL CENTER. BECAUSE IAN MAHINMI ISN’T ONE OF THOSE. DC’s been missing shots (7th worst FG%, they had the 11th best last year), and they have the 5th worst defensive rating so far this season. Their opponents have the 4th best 3PT%, getting the 3rd most free throw attempts, THE MOST offensive rebounds, and the 2nd most defensive rebounds (lol). Washington does have a top 10 pace, though, so at least they can be bad very, very quickly.
But, again, they’re only 2 games out. They need help on defense, inside and out. Inside should be solved by Dwight Howard returning. Outside: why not Jimmy Butler?
Butler’s currently taking 15ish shots per game and scoring 22 points per game. That’s five more shot attempts and 12 more points than what Otto Porter, Jr.’s done so far. And, Wall and the Wizzies seem to want Otto to shoot more. So, how about just replacing Otto’s lack of attempts with a wing who will DEFINITELY take those attempts, AND is a better defensive player?
In return, the TimberBulls get a young veteran who can take over Butler’s spot on the wing and play in a slightly more, ahem!, deferential way on offense. Porter can continue to shoot 10-12 times a game, while the remaining field goal attempts can be given to the Big KAT, which is what Minnesota should be doing, anyway. Porter on defense is obviously a downgrade from Butler, but almost anyone would be. Porter’s a good defender! He’s just not working out in DC.
The Wiz want a more assertive Small Forward while the TimberBulls need a Small Forward who won’t sabotage their team and drive their centerpiece Center away. (Can you just imagine if Towns starts demanding a trade, too??) Who says no?
The math works on a trade, if you include Justin Patton, a Center who almost could not be worse than what DC’s currently starting. I imagine there would be draft picks involved, but...maybe not? Washington would be taking a risk in trading for Butler, because Mr. Tough Guy could leave next year. On the bright side, that would mean that DC would be out from under Otto’s fairly large contract; if that also includes Butler’s, then all of a sudden DC could have a bunch of cap space, and maybe sign a better fit in free agency (along with extending Kelly Oubre). And, Minnesota would be acquiring a young, under control wing that I think would mesh just perfectly alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Both teams get what they want, so perhaps the picks would be superfluous?
What do you think? Would you rather have a player like Otto Porter, Jr.? Or, Houston’s 4 draft picks?
Regarding the possible fantasy implications: I kinda don’t think that much would change. Washington wants Butler’s assertiveness, and Minnesota could use Porter, Jr.’s, um, less assertiveness. Regardless, Otto’s ratios should improve this season, no matter where he is. If someone in your league is trying to panic-sell him, I recommend you jump all over that.
Which would you rather trade Jimmy Butler for?
This poll is closed
Houston’s combination of four 1st round draft picks and salary
Washington’s Otto Porter, Jr.
Whatever Miami tricks them into trading for
Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen
CHAOS: Keep Minny Jimmy and see what happens!
All stats courtesy of the inestimable NBA.com, the fairly estimable ESPN.com, and the un-estimable, because it’s so great, Basketball-Reference.com.