March 10, 2012 Pick-and-Pop: Wizards Deadline Edition
**Pick-and-Pop is a segment in which Bohlin and Willis will both tackle a set of questions, often with naturally differing opinions.
1.) Should the Wizards try to trade JaVale McGee?
Bohlin: Javale- You have to try and gauge the trade market for him. The fact of the matter is he possesses a unique athletic ability that not many other centers have. However, when do you need to see that transition from potential to results? I’m not a Javale McGee guy, I have no problem admitting that. He is also heading into free agency this summer (restricted) and it is quite likely he will command a major pay raise from his rookie contract. Can the Wizards really afford to lock up a player long term that hasn’t shown he can display consistent performance when we’re in the middle of a rebuild? I don’t think we can; just look at how that is currently working out with Andray Blatche. His athletic ability may be off the charts but his basketball IQ is severely lacking (http://deadspin.com/5887925/the-best-and-very-very-worst-of-javale-mcgee-a-video-tribute).
Willis: That video, while hilariously embarrassing, is exactly why I want to keep JaVale. Sure, he’s got the basketball IQ of a space chimp, but he also still has tons of upside. McGee can wow you every play down the court, for good and bad reasons. He has improved every single year he’s been in the league (statistically, and in his understanding of the game), and there’s no reason why he isn’t going to keep up that improvement. After all, he’s still only 24 years old. Centers take awhile, and when we drafted him we knew he would be a project. Well, we’ve already gone to Lowe’s, let’s just finish the job. The reality is that a competent center is very, very hard to come by and we would lament losing him with absolutely 0 backups on the roster. And while JaVale might not be competent, he does average about 3 blocks a game, and, contrary to popular belief, can rebound relatively well. I cite the example of Tyson Chandler, who plays almost exactly like JaVale. For 8 years, he couldn’t find the right fit and was considered “dumb”. Then last year he landed in Dallas and, through shot blocking, rebounding, and finally understanding basketball, became the anchor for a championship defense. JaVale is already better than Tyson, and it’s why we need to keep him.
2.) Should we trade Andray Blatche or Amnesty Clause him at the end of the year?
Bohlin: Personally, I think there is absolutely no trade market for All-Day ‘Dray. His calf injury that kept him out of the lineup for the better part of a month and a half really diminished whatever value he may have had. No one is going to trade for a player that hasn’t been on the court, not to mention his underwhelming performances when he has played. Andray needs to play out this season for the Wizards, and try to have something positive going for him. Blatche clearly needs a change of scenery, as he has fallen so far out of favor in the District that he hears boo birds when he signs autographs. If he doesn’t turn it around in the second half and make himself even somewhat desirable to other franchises so that he can be moved in a deal, the Wizards need to amnesty him. This rebuild cannot move forward and this franchise cannot be built around John Wall if Blatche continues to be a part of this organization.
Willis: Andray is like a vestigial organ, left over from the Arenas era of Wizards history and now functionally useless. Unlike JaVale, he is a failed home project. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! The same guy who managed to trick Orlando into taking Gilbert Arenas off of our hands, Ernie Grunfeld, can still make a shady move at the deadline to dump him off. GM’s are constantly making stupid moves, and last I checked the New Orleans Hornets were starting Gustavo Ayon (WHO?!) at the 4. You don’t think Andray would be an upgrade over that? Heck, if we could pry Antawn back from Cleveland in a package deal for Nick Young and ‘Dray I’d be happy. The Wizards could use a veteran presence, and Antawn is a leader of men.
Worst-case scenario, we keep Andray until the off-season and Amnesty Clause him. But the problem in that is the same problem, albeit on a laughably smaller scale, that Orlando will have with Dwight Howard if they don’t trade him at the deadline. Anything, one could argue, is better than nothing. That’s what we’d get if we kept Andray; recognition of failure.
3.) Is Jan Vesely on the table for a trade?
Bohlin: Jan Vesely has little to no trade value; he is clearly a project on the offensive end of the floor. He has displayed improvement as the season has progressed, but Jan still has a long way to go before he is even deemed as someone worth guarding. The fact of the matter is Vesely is still a rookie. A rookie we thought highly enough to take with the 6th overall pick. If he continues to develop his offensive game, Jan will be a difference maker on this team going forward. He already plays more inspired defense than 95% of our roster and frankly that makes him a piece that is quite valuable to this team.
Willis: We agree here. It would be stupid to get rid of Jan, given that we haven’t even given him a chance to shine. But stupid is the Wizards’ M.O. ! As far as I’m concerned, Jan is the only player on this roster (aside from John Wall) who hasn’t done something in this league to diminish his trade value. Most NBA GM’s probably haven’t been keeping tabs on his play, thus might be convinced to believe he could still be a lottery pick with tons of promise. I was in the Vesely camp when he smooched with his girlfriend on draft night, but once I saw him on the court I realized that he is nowhere near what the Wizards need at this point in time. What good is a role player on a team with no stars?
4.) What should the Wizards do/who are some prospects to go after?
Bohlin: If I may put on my GM hat for a moment, I would try and do anything and everything I could to move Javale McGee and Nick Young. The duo that also goes by the aliases of “Pierre” and “Swaggy P,” contribute to the knucklehead mentality that needs to be eliminated from this locker room. Unfortunately, I am not convinced Ernie’s job is safe enough where he would attempt to make some sort of deal centered around those two. Nick is a UFA in the off-season and will almost certainly leave DC, why not try and move him now for assets that will help in the future? I really believe that McGee and Young present the only players on this roster not named John Wall that have any trade value whatsoever. Ernie Grunfeld needs to be working the phones nonstop until the deadline, talking to any GM that will field his calls trying to unload these two.
Personally, I’d like to see him put the “full court press” on attempting to acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings. Reuniting him with John Wall would put the Wizards in a position to compete sooner rather than later. Cousins would present the Wiz Kids with a true post presence that could throw his weight around on both ends of the floor. His arsenal of post moves in just his second season already surpasses what McGee has proven he is capable of. Wall and Cousins have a distinct connection that goes beyond the court and more times than not, when that’s the case the relationship translates to success on the hardwood.
Willis: Agreement on Nick Young, not so much JaVale. I think Nick Young is probably the reason that JaVale is a knucklehead. I think he’s a good kid who can be rehabbed, like children who grew up in gangs. As for DeMarcus Cousins, I don’t buy into the Wall-Cousins combination. You want to get rid of a knucklehead in exchange for perhaps the biggest culprit of ridiculousness since Derrick Coleman? DeMarcus would absolutely trash this team, and I think he’s overrated as a big man. How does a 6’11 big man shoot worse than Chris Paul, Monta Elllis, and Lou Williams?
If I had to try and pick up a big man, I’d look to the dearth of talent sitting in Minnesota. Why not try to nab Anthony Randolph from the Wolves? Last year when he filled in for Kevin Love (who went down with an injury), he absolutely lit it up. He’s one of the best kept secrets in the NBA, and one in which the Wizards might be able to get for cheap. It’d make our team a ton better.
We could even try to snag Mike Beasley from them, as the Timberwolves could use an actual two-guard instead of the dual PG role of Rubio and Ridnour. And given that Rubio just went down with a big time knee injury that could keep him out for awhile, the Wolves and GM David Khan might just make a desperate move for talent (Jordan Crawford, Nick Young).