If the NBA season were to start today, Daniel Gafford would be the only true center on the Wizards roster. Mike Muscala is more of a hybrid forward-center, in my opinion, and tends to do more of his work away from the basket.
Given Gafford’s track record of getting into early foul trouble and struggling with conditioning early in his career, I think it’s fair to wonder how many minutes per game he can reasonably be expected to play. Gafford played a career-most 20.6 minutes per game last season and 20.2 the year before that. Muscala has only played more than 18 minutes per game once in the last seven seasons.
If either player were to get hurt, the Wizards would likely need Danilo Gallinari or Patrick Baldwin Jr. to try to play some minutes at the five and I don’t expect that experiment to go particularly well. Perhaps other players like Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, and Anthony Gill can eat up a few minutes as small-ball centers.
The preferable option would be to add another center to the roster. Unfortunately, the Wizards are out of roster spots. For the sake of argument though, if they were to clear a roster spot, here are the types of players still available on the free-agent market.
Bismack Biyombo, 31 years old
Biyombo averaged 4.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 14.3 minutes per game for the Suns last season. If you strictly wanted a big body to eat up fouls and protect the rim he’s not the worst option.
DeMarcus Cousins, 33 years old
Cousins didn’t even play in the NBA last season and I would imagine that ship has sailed permanently at this point.
Taj Gibson, 38 years old
Gibson played about 10 minutes per game in 49 games for the Wizards last season. I’m not sure it’s smart to rely on him at this point but he could continue to provide veteran leadership and only play in case of emergency.
Serge Ibaka, 34 years old
Ibaka played in only 16 games for the Bucks last season but he might still have more left in the tank than Gibson and could probably provide similar veteran experience.
Boban Marjanovic, 35 years old
Just think of how great Boban would be in a Greenberg and Bederman commercial.
If I were forced to choose from this group, I think Biyombo is the most appealing. He comes in ready to play a low-usage role and is still serviceable enough to push Gafford in practice and maybe even for minutes. Tomorrow, I will break down some younger, more appealing options from my perspective.