By Dion Johnson, Special to the AFRO

In another installment of, “What in the world is Ernie Grunfeld thinking?,” the Washington Wizards have signed DMV native Ty Lawson to join the Wizards’ playoff roster.

Now, these sort of transactions are very rare so I guess props are in order for having at least one spot remaining before the start of the playoffs to shore up the roster.  Lawson has spent this past season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shandong Golden Stars, where he averaged 25.5 points and 6.5 assists per game on 54.8 percent shooting from the field and 40.1 percent on threes, so his basketball credentials are nothing to gloss over.

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) moves the ball past Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Toronto, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

But the question that countless Wizards fans have been asking is why would Grunfeld, the Wizards’ longtime general manager, add another point guard to a lineup already heavy with point guards?  All-Star point guard John Wall has returned from injury, Tomas Satoransky has proven himself to be a competent backup point guard at worst, and the team signed point guard Ramon Sessions late in the season to rotate with reserve point guard Tim Frazier. That makes five point guards on a roster that is so deficient with post play and rim protection that head coach Scott Brooks has to play stretch forwards Markieff Morris and Mike Scott as the defacto centers late in ball games.

Fans are hoping and wishing that this move can pay off somehow. Maybe a three-guard lineup with Lawson, Wall and Beal? Who knows? It’s just so hard to see what management was thinking here; it literally makes no sense.

The Wizards have underachieved in the grander scheme of things and honestly, the main issue is its architect. Grunfeld has made blunder after blunder with roster construction and moves like this just make you shake your head in disgust.

The disgust has nothing to do with Lawson himself; fans expect him to be a solid contributor who may even be able to stick around for next season.  But when you create a roster where there is a total of $120 million dollars spent on three centers (Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith) who can not be trusted to play meaningful minutes when it matters, moves like this won’t move the needle because it just won’t matter.

Certainly, there is a free agent rim protector somewhere in the G-League or just finishing a season oversees that the team could’ve signed instead of another point guard, right?  What is the scouting department doing? There should be no reason at all that this team should have five point guards but not one true backup for shooting guard Bradley Beal.

That’s the saddest part of this whole 2017-18 season. The lack of quality depth has cost this team in numerous games and unless Grunfeld loses his job this offseason, be prepared for more of the same pathetic roster construction issues in 2018-‘19.


Dion Johnson

Special to the AFRO