Realism: Back on planet Earth, this trade is considerably more plausible than the last. The Washington Wizards have been experiencing tough times for a while now, so changes are never out of the question for them.
The most significant area in which they need improvement is on the defensive end. With the worst defense in the league, the Wizards have relied on their hot offensive talent in Bradley Beal to win games.
With that being the case, one might question why the Wizards wouldn’t rather have someone like P.J. Tucker or Robert Covington. The answer is that any scout paying attention to the 2020 postseason would know that Eric Gordon proved what a great defender he can be.
The comparison in defensive production between Thomas Bryant and Eric Gordon may keep the Wizards from making this move, but if they want stronger defense out on the wing, Gordon proved in the playoffs that he can provide that.
Gordon is strong enough to keep stronger wing players from bullying him with their size but is also quick enough on his feet to keep up with some of the faster guards. He even showed a lot of discipline on the defensive end against savvier guards like Chris Paul in the first round of the playoffs.
This trade would also give the Wizards a much-needed scoring punch off the bench when Bradley Beal goes out. They already have two good power forwards in Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura, so they don’t need as much improvement in those positions as they do a bench shooting guard that can produce on both ends of the floor.
For the Rockets, shedding Gordon’s contract for a young and decently productive center with fewer years on his contract definitely makes sense, assuming they would like to reacquire a center. If they would rather stick with total small ball, this deal is likely not the one they want to pursue.
Without knowledge of the thinking going on in each front office, it is difficult to determine how likely a trade like this is. But it wouldn’t exactly take a miracle for a deal like this to get done if it lines up with each team’s future goals.
Grade: Round one of the playoffs is what makes this trade a tricky one. Rockets fans know what Gordon can bring to the table, as he has had some truly terrific moments in both the regular season and the playoffs during his tenure in Houston.
However, with his contract being the way it is and his performance in both the regular and postseason this year, the Rockets may not want to gamble on him, especially if they would like to make a culture change. Even if you think that Bryant has less upside than Gordon, the Rockets may find that they need to trade him for a lesser player if they want to get his contract off the books.
If that is the case, picking up a guy like Bryant for him would be far from a bad trade. His size, scoring, and rebounding are all at fair enough levels for him to make positive contributions to the team.
Bryant may not be the hottest name on the market, but his statistics and size suggest that he would be a good addition to the team if it decides it needs to regain an actual center. A B+ seems a fitting grade for this trade.
Next: Trade No. 5