Monthly Archives: June 2012
By: Willis and Bohlin
1.) How would you grade the Wizards draft?
Bohlin: The Wizards made a significant addition to their roster last night by selecting Bradley Beal with the third overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Beal, widely regarded as the top SG prospect in the draft, will be able to step in and contribute at the shooting guard position immediately. I believe that John Wall and Bradley Beal will work extremely well off of one another and will finally give the Wizards the stability they have been searching for in the backcourt since the days of a healthy Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes.
Their selection of Tomas Satoransky in the second round makes sense when you really look at it from the front office’s perspective but fans were not as sold on the Czech born guard. Their argument has merit, there were players left on the board who could have helped this franchise continue to turn the corner. A Doron Lamb, Quincy Miller or Will Barton would have pleased the fanbase more so than taking a guy no one had ever heard of prior to his workout in DC two weeks ago. Satoransky is the definition of a draft and stash player. I do like the fact that he plays in the ACB league in Spain, at least we know that he is facing quality competition in Europe while we wait for him to hopefully make his way over to the states. Currently the Wizards have 12 players signed for next season and 8 of them are still on their rookie contracts, this selection affords the Wizards the opportunity to seek out a veteran in free agency to take Satoransky’s place on this year’s team.
Willis: Does a C seem a little harsh? Yeah, a bit, but whatever because in my book a C means you’ve half-assed something, which is exactly what Ernie did with this draft. It’s like Ernie hit a potential RBI double (drafting Beal), but got thrown out at second because he was so shocked about getting an actual hit that he jogged to first. That’s the story of Grunfeld’s career; he may do something right, but he’s got to make at least one dumb move every single draft. In this case, it was botching the second round pick for a kid who the Wizards may never see.
That being said, I like the Bradley Beal pick a lot, and the Wizards have officially bolstered their backcourt for the future and addressed their perimeter shooting woes. Beal should be able to stroke it from everywhere on the court, and the Wizards amazingly have an in and out game now. It’s not the best in the league, to be sure, but Beal makes it much better.
2.) Bradley Beal; your thoughts on him and John Wall?
Bohlin: Beal is the perfect complement to our franchise point guard. His smooth stroke and quick release will only help Wall’s game as a whole. Opposing defenses will no longer be able to completely disrespect the Wizards ability to knock down shots from behind the arc with any consistency. Beal’s presence should free up the lane a bit for Wall to do what he does so well, penetrate and get into the paint causing defenses to react to him.
I believe that this newly formed Wizards backcourt is going to cause problems for the rest of the Eastern Conference sooner rather than later. With two super talented guards to match up with the plethora of bodies we have in our front court rotation we are one step closer to relevance outside of the DMV. I am excited to see this pairing come together and cannot wait for the first time #2 and #23 take the floor together wearing the red, white and blue.
Willis: Rather than talking more about Bradley Beal and what his shooting brings to the table, I’m going to go a different route in getting people excited for the upcoming season. Think about this: multiple times a year for the next 2-3 seasons, John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to be facing off against Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Four players on two different teams who play in the same conference and going about things in an entirely different manner. I think these two backcourts are actually the future of the Eastern Conference, and considering their closeness in draft position and age, the comparisons are going to be constant and unending. Whereas Irving is a shooter, Wall is a speed demon slasher. Waiters is an attack the basket kind of guy, but Beal is a shooter like Irving. I couldn’t be more excited for these matchups next year, and you should be just as estatic.
Another matchup to look forward to? Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers. These two are another youthful backcourt combination that Washington is going to constantly face off against. Turner was drafted right after Wall, and Jrue Holiday is still a very young player who is developing into a stud. The backcourt matchups are all over the Eastern Conference, and we’re in for a fun ride from here on out.
3.) Tomas Satoransky: Great Czech? or Greatest Czech?
Bohlin: Great Czech. Washington D.C. has quickly become a hotbed for Czech basketball. Of the four Czech born players to ever make it to the NBA the Wizards now have one on their roster and own the rights to another. Tomas Satoransky, a 6’8” combo guard who last played for CB Sevilla in the Spanish ACB league, is an interesting prospect. I had to do some research on him in the last 12 hours as I will admit I had a sparse amount of knowledge about his game outside of the fact he worked out for the Wizards two weeks ago. The more I read up on Satoransky, the more I don’t mind this selection.
Judging from the scout’s perception of Satoransky he is a skilled player with a high basketball IQ from his experiences playing against high-level European competition. When will we see Satoransky suit up for the Wizards…if he ever suits up for us? I wish I had a better answer to that question; the honest answer is we have no idea. He may never make it over to the states and play for us, that’s the risk you run drafting a foreign player with the hopes of keeping them in Europe for extra seasoning. Could a Doron Lamb, Quincy Miller or Will Barton filled a role with this Wizards team? Sure they could have. No point in looking back at it now though, the pick has been made and we have to live with it. Here is hoping that Satoransky eventually makes it over to D.C. and is able to contribute to this franchise in some way.
Willis: Greatest Czech. After screaming incoherently upon hearing Mr. Silver announce Tomas Satoransky’s name instead of all the people I wanted to see in a Wizards uniform, I eventually resigned myself to the fact that this was just another Ernie move. This had to happen, or our GM wouldn’t be Ernie Grunfeld because Ernie makes incredibly dumb moves all the time. Tomas Satoransky had better be the best Czech player ever, because Washington essentially just took Vladimir Vermeeko all over again. We’re going to stash him away and hope he develops into more than what he already is: an athletic but skinny non NBA ready two guard who can’t shoot. Don’t we have enough of those? Does Ernie not realize that the European Union is collapsing!? How is Ernie not fired yet?
Seriously, nothing against Satoransky, I’m sure he’s a very nice kid, but good teams don’t do this. The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up Perry Jones III very late in the draft, and the Wizards took a guy we’re likely never going to watch play. Don’t tell me that it’s because of a lack of roster space, because if you don’t think Doron Lamb is an upgrade over Jordan Crawford, or Quincy Miller isn’t an upgrade over Chris Singleton/Andray Blatche/anyone on our roster, you’re kidding yourself. Good teams don’t do this, and the gap between the Oklahoma City Thunder’s front office an ours is enormous. Getting value in late round picks is always a staple of good ball clubs, and we just proved why the Wizards are so inept. The San Antonio Spurs aren’t doing this, either. We could have saved money, upgraded at a position, and addressed a shooting need all in one pick. Instead, we made ourselves look just as bad as always.
4.) Do the Wizards make any more moves this offseason?
Bohlin: In short, yes. Will any of these moves grab national headlines? Probably not. I expect the Wizards to make a few more minor additions to the roster between now and the beginning of training camp. Personally, I would love to see James Singleton have a chance to make this team out of camp as I believe he earned himself at the least the opportunity to stick with the Wizards after his performance to round out last season. We will see what Ernie and Co. choose to do in free agency now that we have added our SG of the future. It is possible we have seen the last of players like Roger Mason Jr. (The other Great 8!) and Mo Evans in the Wizards red, white and blue. Both are free agents this summer and might want to look to latch on to a contender as they are both entering the twilight of their careers.
Willis: If we don’t, then we’re leaving Wizards fans with an incomplete team that isn’t good enough to win now. July 1st is the date to look out for, because that’s when NBA free agency begins and there’s a lot more fluidity in the market. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Ernie makes a big splash in free agency by ridding our team of Andray Blatche and a first rounder for a slightly past his prime star wing player, or something like that. It seems like a dumb move now, but Ernie Grunfeld is in win-now mode, whether we like it or not. He has skipped the rebuild and dove directly into the playoff push position. Ted Leonsis himself has said that we’re not going to be a lottery team next year. Is it a flawed plan? You betcha, but our biggest need is at the three now and Ernie is a sly maneuvering GM so expect him to mortgage the future for the now.
Nene, Okafor, Ariza, Beal and Wall is going to compete, but it’s not going to contend, which is the ultimate goal. I look for Ernie to go after a small forward who is capable of defending, rebounding, and hitting the three point shot. We’re going to need to be deep at that position if we expect to guard the absolutely stocked amount of small forwards in the Eastern Conference like Danny Granger, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Wallace, etc. If we can find a 3/4 man, we’re going to grab him, and the playoff push will have officially begun.
By: Willis and Bohlin
Bohlin and I are going to throw on our GM hats and try to predict this draft for you readers. While there’s little certainty just yet with all these trade rumors floating around, we’re going to give it our best shot.
Willis: Can we just skip the first pick, or do you have an implausible trade scenario to offer up? Anthony Davis: Is he that good? Because he does approach John Henson weight.
Bohlin: 89.5″ wingspan. All you really need to say and yes, he’s that good
Willis: Okay he’s got more length than Lexington Steele, fine. But there isn’t even a bit of concern about how his body is going to handle being abused? This isn’t Kevin Durant, who was a perimeter player and no one realized he wouldn’t be posting up anyone until he got old and fat. This is a power forward/center. What happens if he goes up against Dwight Howard?
Bohlin: He’ll be a 4 in the league and its not like that frame cant put on more weight pretty easily. The sky is the limit, the kid has realistically played 30 games as a 6’10″ freak of nature
Willis: …I’d still take Dray.
Bohlin: well duh…I said the sky is the limit not an “anything is possssibleeeeeeeee” skill set.
Willis: Back to the second pick, where we get Michael Jordan, the guy who mauls every draft beyond repair on a year-to-year basis.
I know this offseason is all about conspiracy theories, so I’ll go ahead and say it. Have other GMs adapted a form of the Jordan Rules that applies to his off the court drafting? Is it because of misinformation and forcing him left that he ended up with Adam Morrisson and not Brandon Roy?This year, he inexplicably scooped up a declining Ben Gordon from the Pistons and all but negated his team’s ability to draft the top rated SG in this draft, Bradley Beal.
Bohlin: Ultimate wild card selection of the draft, if he doesnt trade it for Pau Gasol to try and make up for 2001…Cho has to lock MJ in a room and phone in the pick for Thomas Robinson before his Airness can do otherwise.
Willis: See, this is what the Wizards want. The Bobcats to draft, and wisely on their part because he fits a need, Thomas Robinson so Beal can fall to the Wizards.
I don’t see that happening because it’s too smart of a move, but I’m going to say that with the second pick, the Bobcats take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He fills a need for their team, and even though he’s got a broken jump shot, MKG is going to make everyone around him better. He hustles, is a damn good athlete, and once he gets a jump shot he’ll be a true talent. Plus he’s won on every level, and that’s got to count for something, right?
Bohlin: Charlotte is such a mess they can take just about anyone but Drummond with this pick and come away feeling good
Willis: Imagine if they sported a starting five of KEMBA!, Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd Gilchrist, BJ Mullins, and Bismack Biyombo. Can you pencil them in for at least 60 losses, please?
Bohlin: Thats why they need to go Robinson so they can roll out KEMBA!, DJ Augustin, The artist formerly known as B.G., T-Rob and BigMack Biyombo
That team only loses like 50 games
Willis: The Jordan Rules prevent it. Three undersized guards is tempting, though.
Bohlin: Ok more like 60. If they go MKG how will Gerald Henderson to continue to get the amount of looks he needs a game to score in the teens!?!?!? Answer me that! Cant do it.
Willis: Hey, Gerald’s last five games he averaged 19-5-5 (Five something’s, because he didn’t pass)
Bohlin: Wizards…pretty simple here. Got a PG who thrives on the break and a bunch of big slow guys and no spot up shooters surrounding him. Ernie Grunfeld does the prudent thing and takes the best shooting prospect in the draft in SG Bradley Beal.
Wall is at his best on the move. Since he hasn’t found that shooting stroke yet, and neither has anyone else on our roster, Beal steps in and is immediately our best look from the perimeter. When defenses collapse on Wall driving to the basket Beal will provide him an outlet he can be confident in knocking down tough jumpers from the outside.
He is also a great rebounder for his size, averaging just under 7 RPG as a freshman at Florida. I have a man crush on Bradley Beal and am praying he falls to the Wiz Kids tonight.
Willis: And it doesn’t alarm you at all that the number three draft pick can barely shoot 34% from long range in college? 14 points, 7 rebounds? I know people compare him to Ray Allen, but those aren’t Ray Allen type numbers
If he isn’t consistent in the NBA, the Wizards are a doormat.
Bohlin: Nope, not one bit. His shooting stroke is as pure as anyone I can remember in the past few drafts. The kid is a big time player and has largely flown under the radar his freshman year with Kentucky garnering much of the press in the SEC. Billy Donovan said before the NCAA Tournament that the Gators would go as far as Bradley Beal would take them. That is a lot of praise to have thrown onto a freshman especially when he shares the backcourt with upper classmen. If the Wizards can land Beal tonight I think they will have brought in the second best player available in this draft.
Having Erving Walker “distributing” the ball to you is a lot different than having John Wall running your offense as well.
Willis: Wall turns the ball over a lot more?
I actually convinced myself that Bradley Beal is who we think he is! That being said, I have a terrible feeling he is going to struggle going in.
Bohlin: Should have been more clear…Wall doesn’t take horrendous shots and make questionable decisions the majority of the nights he takes the floor.
Willis: Regardless of where Wall can deliver him the ball, he’s going to need to knock it down. I think he can, but there will be an adjustment period. If the kid is only 19 years old and has a chance to be Eric Gordon on bath salts? You take him
Which brings us, then, to the fourth pick. Ahh, Cleveland, what have we left you with
Bohlin: Other than matching father son suit/eyeglasses combinations?
Willis: Exactly. Now that Dan Gilbert can focus on basketball again since the Cavaliers won a championship before LeBron…
I know they’re going to try and trade up in the draft, but I’m not sure they’re willing to pick up Tyrus Thomas’ awful contract in exchange for the Bobcats #2 slot. Even though I do think Kyrie Irving/Old man Drew might actually get product out of him.
In that case, I’m confident that they take Harrison Barnes with their pick, and somehow manage to skip out on Thomas Robinson
I say this for two reasons:
Bohlin: Irving and Barnes being friends certainly doesnt hurt this prediction…He has probably been lobbying for his buddy since these workouts started
Willis: I think Barnes could actually be drafted higher, but there’s absolutely no way he slips past four because Kyrie is going to lobby for him. And Barnes can be a great player when paired with a great point guard. Who better than his best friend? I expect Barnes to be a much better pro, but it should be noted that I have a pure mancrush on the Black Falcon.
Bohlin: Well at least we both got those out of the way fairly early. I agree with Barnes going fourth overall, once he cancelled his workout with Sacramento I assumed he had received a promise in the top 4 picks.
Speaking of Sac-Town…That’s who is up next
The Maloof’s will be somewhere popping bottles of moderately priced champagne should Thomas Robinson fall to the Kings at the 5th pick. Pairing Robinson with DeMarcus Cousins would be one scary good front court out West.
Willis: Are you sure Geoff Petrie Dish doesn’t want, say, Andre Drummond?
You mean to tell me that they can’t be coaxed into taking ANDRE THE DRUMMER.
They just took Jimmer, Mike.
THEY TOOK JIMMER, TYREKE, AND COUSINS.
They thought a mormon and two big time triple OG’s would work!
This isn’t the Nationals.
Bohlin: Its got to be more than tempting but the fact that they did just take The Jimmer makes me believe they cant swing for the fences again and take the gift that would be Thomas Robinson falling into their laps.
Also…Have to note that in the 5 hours between now and the draft there is a 96% chance Darryl Morey makes three deals to acquire this pick.
Willis: At what point in time does Darryl Morey make a move for A.) My girlfriend B) Targuy Ngombo and C.) the fifth pick aka Andre Drummond
Bohlin: I’d imagine he has already beaten you to the punch on two of the three
Willis: I better call her….Nonetheless, I agree that Thomas Robinson makes sense for the Kings. I think it’s probably a mistake for Washington to pass on him. I think he’s better than Okafor, Seraphin, Booker, and anyone else we want to throw out there immediately. I was extremely impressed with him during the tournament, including the national championship game where he almost outplayed Anthony Davis! Really showed off his athleticism there. He did miss a lot of shots, and it scarily reminded me of when I said very similar things about a guy named Gordon Hayward
Where’s T-Rob’s upside
Bohlin: (Hayward) Who has turned out to be a pretty solid player for the Jazz, but that’s neither here nor there…I like Robinson’s motor, the guy never stops battling out there on the court. I don’t know if Robinson will ever be a star in the NBA but he is without a doubt going to be a serviceable starter in this league for a long time. Any team drafting in the top 5 could use players like that on their roster.
Now we come to Portland, whom ANY other year I’d say they draft Andre Drummond
But Greg Oden got three GMs fired during his stint in Portland, and I don’t think they’re going the center route for a long, long, time. Though they always seem to find themselves in this position.
So therefore, they’re going to take Damian Lillard, the Weber State guy who shot up draft boards when scouts watched some Youtube clips. He fits a need, and he did put up some nice numbers at Weber State….I keep going back to that. At Weber State….at Weber State….
I get that he might be good, but he’s a little old for a draft pick and hasn’t really been challenged on a consistent basis. The toughest team he played all year was BYU, and he didn’t even play well against them
Bohlin: He has killed it in his workouts though, Portland said he had the best workout of any player they have seen since Kevin Durant…They didn’t pick Durant however. Think they tipped their cap with where they are leaning with that comment at all? I sure do.
Willis: They didn’t even pick Durant! That should show you how stupid they are. I’m not sure what supposed basketball guy would ever say Greg Oden would be better than Kevin Durant…….
Bohlin: Golden State Warriors…Or Whatever they will be called once they move.
Willis: The San Francisco Double Rainbows
Bohlin: The Double Rainbows select…..Dion Waiters!!!!
Willis: …Are you serious?
Didn’t they just get rid of Monta Elllis?
Bohlin: Yes…I think…
Look, GSW is chock full of shooters and thats about it.
Willis: The polar opposite of the Washington Wizards…
Bohlin: Curry…chucker, Klay Thompson…chucker, they dont have anyone who can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket with any finishing ability. That is basically a definition of what Waiters does well, he is a hard nosed Big East guard. Couple this with the fact that reports have Jerry West being infatuated with this player and I think I have a strong enough case to throw out Dion to the Bay.
Willis: You’ve convinced me. Dion to the Bay sounds so much like an Eazy E song it almost makes too much sense
You know who Dion Waiters reminds me of?
Bohlin: Gilbert Arenas? Or is it that I look for reasons to bring up the Hibachi in casual conversation?
Willis: The latter. But close in terms of team turmoil ability (which should be made into a statistic–get on it Hollinger)
Isaiah Rider. A worse, much worse, Isaiah Rider.
Character issues that are largely ignored in exchange for the best athlete in the draft with tremendous upside
Bohlin: That falls in line with the thought process of “You can’t teach height”
Willis: Can’t teach felons, either.
In all seriousness, I like Waiters because he’s the cockiest guy in any gym he goes to. The guy who wouldn’t hesitate to dunk on a seasoned but aging vet his very first game.
But alright, next pick…
The Toronto Raptors select….
Just kidding, I think they take John Henson
Bohlin: Ah the old Meyers Leonard fake out pick…well played sir
Willis: Henson, who only in body looks like Anthony Davis, is a great player to put beside Andrea Bargnani. It does give them the softest front court ever assembled. It’s worse than Jahidi White and whoever else the Wizards put next to Jahidi White. But Henson gives them length, rebounding, and is an underrated defender.
Bohlin: I think the player you were referring to was NBA Champion Juwan Howard…I like Henson’s game though, he is a poor mans Anthony Davis on the defensive end which still makes for one damn good defensive power forward. He will need to try and add some weight to his frame but I like his prospects as a professional.
Willis: He’s not going to be much offensively, but with shooters on their team he’s bound to average ten points strictly based off of cleaning the offensive glass
Bohlin: Personally I had him slotted 9th to Detroit so were close to agreement on this one. Since my guy is no longer there I guess I will just go out on a limb and take the best player left available for the Pistons selection here.
Willis: OHHHHHHHH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
EVERYBODY DO THE PISTON’S DRUMMBLE
This guy has Kwame written all over him
And yet he still doesn’t slip into ten…. -___-
Bohlin: This would be approaching wet dream status for Joe Dumars and Detroit. Drummond is looked at as the top C prospect in this draft and could be a potential home run for any team that takes him. This selection would allow the Pistons the option of moving Greg Monroe to the PF, which I feel is his best spot in the NBA, and allow the 7’0″ 280 lb Drummond to man the middle giving them a more than formidable front court when stacked up with the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Willis: That’s assuming he doesn’t foul out in the first four minutes of the game, considering he knows about as much about basketball as Renardo Sidney does about weight management. Matter of fact, if we’re going off potential, why don’t they just take Renardo Sidney? I get why teams want him, hell if he could be had later in the draft I would want him
Bohlin: Well yeah…that’s why I called him a “potential” homerun. If he were eligible 8 years ago, maybe Renardo would have had a shot then.
Willis: Can we just pause to feel bad for Renardo Sidney?
No, let’s not. One hyped center is enough
Andre Drummond might actually become decent learning from Greg Monroe, a cerebral player who is wise beyond his years. I think him going to Detroit works out, but they have to be nervous given that this is the same franchise that took Darko.
Darko, Renardo Sidney, Kwame Brown, and Andre Drummond….all in one pick!
Bohlin: At least Darko won a ring…
Willis: Yeah and Lance Bass was a member of N’Sync…but he didn’t matter, either.
Bohlin: Duly noted. What you got brewing down in the Big Easy as we enter double digits?
Willis: New Orleans is in one of those precarious situations where the best player available is currently Jeremy Lamb, yet they already have a player there in Eric Gordon. I think they take Jeremy Lamb anyway instead of bolstering that front line of Rashard Lewis and Gustavo Ayon. I’m high on this guy, and not because he looks like he took Hydro to the head as a child. I’m high because he’s a pretty good shooter and even though he has a small frame, he’s smart. Lamb doesn’t take bad shots, and when he”s not asked to be a number one option, he should excel.
No, he’s never going to be a leading scorer on your team, but he’s still a very talented player, and provides them with insurance assuming Gordon bolts.
Bohlin: He will stretch the floor for opposing defenses though and when you have a slashing PG like Vasquez, who I am assuming would be the starter, and a big who will need space to operate effectively like Davis eventually will I cant really argue with the pick.
Willis: I like your thinking…but go on next pick
Bohlin: Going at #11 is a personal favorite of mine, mainly because he played in the SEC, but the Trail Blazers select Terrence Jones from Kentucky!
Willis: T.J. Hooker…how did he fall this far?
Bohlin: Jones could have easily come out last year and been a top 6 pick, but came back for his sophomore season under John Calipari and in my opinion improved as a player. He is hurt by being in such a deep draft this year but Jones became a leader for the national champion Wildcats and was one of the driving forces to them being as successful as they were this year.
Bohlin: A 6’10″ PF who can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket as well as spot up from the outside is a find in any draft and I believe that Jones will be a solid player in the NBA in his career.
Willis: NBA GM’s know exactly what they’re going to get. He’ll take plays off, but he’s going to rebound, defend, and is surprisingly a team player. He’s also an underrated athlete, and while he may be a bit of a tweener it doesn’t matter because he can play both the three and the four just fine. His frame isn’t going to be backed down that easily.
Bohlin: The fact of the matter is he has more or less been a professional the last two years playing under Coach Cal….moving on
Willis: And here we have Houston, who is guaranteed to pick some player needed in their ridiculous attempt to get Dwight Howard who just came off the first injury of his career, for guaranteed only half a season….
I get their logic, because the nerd running their front office is nothing but logic, but I’m not sure they’re making any headway for Dwight and Deron…so for now I have them snapping up Myers Leonard..
Bohlin: For reals this time?
Willis: Oh it’s real this time. Myers Leonard is coming off the books. How many times do white guys with freakish athleticism work out in the league?
Who’s that guy the Bucks drafted a few years ago? Joe Alexander?
Bohlin: Meyers Leonard, I’m beginning to think this is a clever troll attempt by misspelling his name but I’ll allow it, is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. Love his combination of size and skill, without a doubt one of the most fundamentally sound big men to come out in a while. Like most young big men he could still use additional weight on his frame but that is something that should come over time. While he may struggle on the block on the defensive end of the floor I believe Leonard is going to be a serviceable big man for a long time in this league.
Jumpin’ Joe Alexander from West Virginia…He didn’t pan out, but in his defense not many Milwaukee Bucks picks of late have panned out so it might not be entirely his fault.
Can he change his name to FSWG?
Fundamentally Sound White Guy
Bohlin: I support that 100%…Great selection at 12 for Houston by taking the FSWG
Michael: Anytime you can youtube a guys highlight tapes and the only thing that shows up are his rebounding abilities
you know you’re drafting a bust.
I mean there’s nothing I like about this guy except that he’s going to give you great fouls
Lawrence Funderburke was fundamentally sound, too.
And a great athlete
and he was out of the league in a few years.
Bohlin: He was also the 51st pick in the draft…
Willis: Oscar Myers (and I’m going to keep misspelling his name because I sleep on him that much) isn’t good…
Bohlin: Lets head out to what will soon be Steve Nash’s former home…Phoenix
Willis: And my home state!
Who’ve you got
Bohlin: This one seems pretty easy for me, especially since the rumor of the promise being made is already out there but I have to go Austin Rivers out of Duke here
Willis: You mean Kobe? Have you ever seen Austin Rivers pass the ball?
Bohlin: I alluded to it earlier, Nash is all but packed his bags and is headed out of town. While I may not buy into it completely there is a feeling amongst some front offices that Rivers can play PG on the next level. The comparisons to other players, a la Jrue Holiday, who were off the ball in college but became floor generals in the NBA. While I am a firm believer in his ability to score the basketball in many different ways I am not sure I would want him running my offense. Because, as Mike notes above, he likes to put the ball up the majority of the times he touches it.
Willis: The majority of times he touches it? Try every time he touches it. It’s like the pass button got jammed on his basketball controller. He is never going to give up the ball. Sure, he’s a scorer in that he has a nice floater? But he’s not an elite athlete, not a great passer, not a great shooter, and so on and so forth.
His dad, however, can coach three Hall of Famer’s to a championship
Is it possible for a player to get drafted based on his dad’s credentials?
Bohlin: Basketball pedigree?
Willis: God I wish job interviews happened that way
Well if you want to go the basketball pedigree route, let me throw out Jeffrey Jordan
Bohlin: Dont get me started on the shortcomings of Michael Jordan off the floor by bringing up the younger Jordan’s.
Willis: Fair enough…at least we agree that Austin Rivers has Sebastian Telfair written all over him. And we head into the dregs of the lottery with the Milwaukee Does. It’s almost a guaranteed lock that they’re going to blow this pick, right?
Bohlin: There is one player, and one player only that I would take here.
Willis: Let’s hear it, so I can pick another player
Unless of course you’re referring to PJIII
Bohlin: PERRY JONES III!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously doesn’t Perry Jones just give your pickle a tickle?
I personally like the guy once you accept what he is: He’s an athlete who can get by on pure talent alone, but needs to work incredibly hard so that he never has to really push himself to the limit. I think if he only puts in a medium amount of work, then he’s going to be good. Yes, he’ll take plays off, but there are plenty of small forwards who do the exact same thing in the NBA yet still manage to carve out a niche.
The Bucks and Scott Skiles? A perfect match for a kid who needs a fire lit under his ass
Bohlin: Him and Brandon Jennings will immediately be boys as well, all positives as far as I am concerned.
Willis: Brandon Jennings sucks.
Perry Jones III should have come out last year, though. He would have likely been on the Washington Wizards. Imagine if Perry Jones III and Jan Vesely combined to make one, complete, player? Jan’s hustle and PJII’s handle and shooting touch?
We’d have Kevin Durant
Bohlin: I’d imagine his girlfriend wouldn’t mind at all either…I am not sure where the KD comparison is coming from however.
Willis: PJIII is long, can shoot, and is actually athletic. Durant.
To be continued….
Yesterday, Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats & Information posted a very disturbing breakdown of just how bad the Wizards perimeter shooting woes actually were. That our perimeter shooting was bad didn’t exactly surprise me; I’d seen enough Jordan Crawford hurls and John Wall bricks to know that we desperately needed help on that front. That our perimeter shooting actually may be a sign of worse things to come is the particularly nerve wracking part. It also highlights the fact that one player through the draft isn’t nearly enough to solve Washington’s problems.
Averaging 0.88 points on every spot up play is pitiful, and it virtually removes a vital aspect of basketball for the Washington Wizards. Only the Charlotte Bobcats (with Kemba Walker) and the Sacramento Kings (with Tyreke Evans and Jimmer) shot worse than Washington, and there wasn’t much differentiation between these three. A lot of this can obviously be blamed on John Wall’s inability to shoot, but Chris Singletary and Jordan Crawford were equally as bad. Quite frankly, I’m not certain that the stat is going to get any better with the addition of Trevor Ariza. On the contrary it might get worse, considering that Trevor Ariza is a notoriously poor shooter who only managed to make a decent amount of shots with the Lakers. Four years ago.
Until I read this article, I actually thought that John Wall on the pick and roll was at least a moderately effective play; I was wrong about that, too. I should have known, though, because Wall is the primary ball-handler, yet he cannot shoot. As such, Washington was the fourth worst NBA team on points per pick-and-roll play at 0.72 points per play on 37% shooting. Wall actually made the team worse in this regard (0.69 points per play on 36% shooting. Again, this is another instance where I’m going to say that I highly doubt the Wizards are going to get better.
Wall has proven himself an ineffective shooter in two seasons, and I am far from convinced he is going to somehow develop a jumper in the offseason (or even a set shot, push shot, or sky hook). For someone who is considered a phenomenal talent, Wall doesn’t offer a whole lot to like about his game aside from speed and slashing. The list of point guards who couldn’t shoot but got better isn’t a long one. Some can argue Russell Westbrook, but he still isn’t a particularly good three point shooter. He has managed to get better on pull up jumpers, but that was through incredibly hard work in the offseason.
(Not to make this all about Mr. Wall, but there actually is a bit of evidence that suggests he is on a similar progression path as Mr. Westbrook provided he puts in the necessary effort. Year-by-year comparisons of their first two seasons are almost exactly the same).
Need more evidence that the Wizards backcourt needs an upgrade? Well this figure should convince you: Of the 40 players with at least 1,000 plays, John Wall and Jordan Crawford finished 38th and 40th overall in terms of points per play. Demarcus Cousins, the most inefficient player on the court any given night, actually fared better than John Wall (0.81 to 0.87 PPP)! It’s embarrassing how bad things actually got for the Wizards, and even though we hate on Jordan Crawford he was still better than John Wall in terms of efficiency. In fact, Jordan Crawford is more akin to Jrue Holiday (albeit a bit older) in terms of proficiency.
We also already knew how bad the Wizards ball management was at times during the season. Part of that is due to the breakneck pace at which Washington plays, but another part is just sloppy team play and poor execution. Far too often, Wall and Crawford turned the ball over at such alarming rates there was no way we could win. As such, the Wizards were the third-worst team on assist-to-turnover ratios, and the fourth-worst percentage on assisted shots. Both statistics definitely line up with what people are seeing on the court, as you can’t get assists on baskets when no one can actually make a basket. When you add all this up though, it means that Washington had better upgrade that backcourt or there will be some serious turmoil next season.
The easy answer is that Bradley Beal should be taken with the number three pick overall, which is what we already knew. But the fact remains that Beal wasn’t really stuffing the stat sheet until the NCAA tournament. He was able to overcome some early season adversity (likely the first time this prolific high school player had ever actually faced any adversity) to start knocking down shots consistently later on in the year. That being said, he is still by no means a solid lock to be an incredible shooter. Still, Beal’s ability to hit shots off screens is going to immensely help out a backcourt that needs it (providing he plays at his NCAA Tournament levels). If not, his 33% shooting from long range that he exhibited earlier on in the season aren’t going to help Washington at all. It’s probably just going to make the Wizards worse.
The other option is that the Wizards could draft the other supposedly great shooter in Harrison Barnes (who may be able to play the two or three) who has a bit more experience and is a more proven prospect. Barnes could be rotated between both positions, as he is likely capable of short stints at the two while Washington figures out how to best address that need through free agency or a second round draft pick. Beal is younger, but Barnes can help immediately as he has unlimited range. They’re actually very similar players, with Barnes being taller and a bit more athletic (though he still doesn’t know how to use it effectively).
And the final option is to move the pick for more talent. Since three of our five starters (presumably Okafor, Nene, and Ariza) are now approaching or passed 30 years old, doesn’t that put the team in win now mode? If that’s the case, wouldn’t Washington be better served cherry picking talent from other teams in exchange for future value? I mean, it’s not the most preferred route, but it is certainly an option. It’s well known that teams like Portland, Houston, and just about any other team in the 10-15 range would love to add more pieces. So it may be worth attempting to ship the pick for established, veteran shooters and heading straight into playoff mode (bypassing the rebuild).
But basically, the aforementioned statistics on our backcourt just backed up what we had already established: it’s Beal, Barnes or Bust.
According to a Washington Post article by Michael Lee, Wizards Insider, the Wizards have been fielding calls for the #3 pick as we inch closer to Thursday nights draft.
This news isn’t overly surprising to me as any team in the upper end of the draft, sans New Orleans, is doing the same. Speculation is that the Wizards would trade this pick to a team wanting to move up for Thomas Robinson were the Cavs and Bobcats swap picks. With the amount of misinformation that is put out during this time of year it might not be worth believing this rumor is a real option but you cannot totally dismiss the idea.
At the very least the Wizards front office is attempting to scare MJ and Rich Cho into thinking they won’t get their man. Thomas Robinson is widely speculated to be Charlotte’s top target in this draft. If we can keep them at #2 to select T-Rob we will still get our man Bradley Beal at #3.
Like I said before, these rumors should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt but you must consider them. IF Charlotte and Cleveland swap picks and were not 100% sold on Harrison Barnes we should absolutely look into moving the pick. But we can cross that bridge if we ever even get there.
The fact of the matter, like I said before, is this is more than likely just a smoke screen. We’re talking about trade rumors which would be contingent upon two other teams making a deal that hasn’t come close to happening yet. Needless to say there are a lot of moving parts involved here.
Until something changes we should still have all eyes set on Bradley Beal at the top of our draft board. Now we just have to wait, and hope, that two of our most loathed opponents, Dan Gilbert and his Cavs as well as Michael Jordan for obvious reasons, don’t get together and play let’s make a deal.
As we inch closer to the NBA Draft on Thursday, we’re likely to hear the Wizards name thrown around in conjunction with lots of trade rumors given that they hold a very valuable pick. While plenty of them may be unfounded, there have recently been some very interesting propositions made around the rumor mill. Here’s look at two of them that have been brought up recently
Not Freaking Happening
- Pau Gasol is traded to the Wizards for Andray Blatche and the #3 pick (Sam Amico, FOX)
You know sometimes when a guy has a Twitter account and he’ll start reporting every single trade rumor he’s ever heard (or hasn’t heard) in hopes that he could be the first person to break the story and gain instant notoriety? The Pau-to-Washington deal might be one of those. I’m not sure who Amico contacted to get this story, but I’m guessing it was the homeless guy on MLK Blvd. Why would the Lakers mortgage their championship aspirations now by trading away the guy who helped win them two championships with Kobe Bryant? Furthermore, why would they trade that same player away for a rookie and a Captain when they already have Kobe?
Ron Artest Metta World Peace and Andray Blatche on the same team would quickly turn the Lakers into the Wizards of yore, something Mitch Cup Check isn’t going to have any interest in. Furthermore, the Wizards would turn themselves into a win-now team (Ernie’s favorite type) sporting a paltry group of Wall, Crawford, Ariza, Gasol, Nene, and possibly Okafor. That’s an awful mash of old and young that fits terribly and isn’t going to win more than 40 games. The Wizards had the chance to take Pau, and instead grabbed Kwame; no need to make amends now. I’m not even going to continue harping about this trade because Ernie or Fake Ernie Grunfeld might get ideas.
Might Freaking Happen
- Cleveland swaps picks with Charlotte to jump the Wizards and grab Bradley Beal (Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer)
This one actually has some traction as a very possible outcome heading into the draft. Cleveland is very closely eying Bradley Beal and has made it abundantly clear that they’d like to make some swaps with Charlotte. Beal is highly sought after and a player which the Wizards especially covet, but with Michael Jordan controlling Washington’s draft options literally anything can happen. The same guy who took Kwame Brown, Kemba Walker, and Adam Morrison won’t hesistate to trade the pick away since he’s likely to bungle it. Somehow Ernie still managed to Grunfelt the Wizards last week with that trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, as he made known to the entire NBA who the Wizards wanted to draft. Nice job being secretive, Ern.
In doing so, Cleveland now stands a good chance of jumping us and grabbing Beal, whom I recently developed a man crush on. It makes sense for Charlotte, the historically bad team who needs help at way more than one position, to do this trade. They can grab two or three players for the price of one in a very deep draft with only one clear-cut franchise player. With Rich Cho openly stating that trading down makes sense, I’m hedging my bets on this one actually happening.
Please Freaking Happen
- Washington Wizards trade #3 pick, next year’s first rounder, and Nene for the #1 pick in 2012 draft
We can dream, right?
0 In case you missed it, which I doubt if you’re a Wizards fan that you did, the Wizards got rid of Rashard Lewis and his expiring big fat fatty of a deal for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. Reactions may vary. (ESPN)
0 Speaking of Emeka Okafor, the same guy who missed 39 games last season believes that the knee that plagued him last year is ready to rock for the upcoming season. That’s going to be big because both he and Nene missed time last year with injury and they’re both presumable starters. (WaPo)
0 I’m in agreement with Washington Post’ Jason Reid on this trade, who yesterday stated that the deal simply doesn’t make the Wizards better in the long term. That being said, the short term just got a lot more interesting, didn’t it?
0 As reported by lots of news outlets, the Terrapins are going to be sporting their “pride” uniforms next year. I absolutely love these jerseys and I was a fan of the football variant, so naturally I’m excited about these. UMD athletics spokesperson may be named Doug Dull, but these jerseys are anything but lame. (Yahoo!)
0 The Bleacher Report always has interesting articles, and this one remembering the great Len Bias is no different. He was a hero of mine, and I can’t get enough of him, ever. I only wish I got to see him play in person.
0 Pe’Shon Howard, while not completely healthy right now, is considered the resident starting point guard for Maryland’s upcoming basketball season. As Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times points out, however, he isn’t the only option.
0 Georgetown isn’t often mired in controversy, and this really doesn’t fall under the category of scandal, but a 10 year old boy at a Hoyas camp was hazed for wearing Blue Devils attire. Naturally, I’m siding with the Hoyas on this one.
0 Stephen Domingo, the 6’7 rising junior wing from St. Ignatius (CA) who committed to Georgetown, made the final cut on the U-17 USA Basketball roster. That’s so awesome for Georgetown, as those experiences typically lead players to become very successful in the college and pro levels. (SF Prep News)
By: The DC Dime Staff
The Wizards made waves through the NBA news wires on Wednesday by acquiring Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor from the New Orleans Hornets for Rashard Lewis and the #46 overall selection in next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Here at The DC Dime anytime there’s major Wizards news that breaks we like to react to it as a whole in a segment we like to call the Pick N Pop. Since a member of the staff, Mike Willis, is off in South Carolina enjoying some fun in the sun on vacation Jason Colenda and I offer our takes on the major shake up to the roster.
1.) Reaction to hearing the news of this trade?
Bohlin: I was at my desk in the office trying as hard as I could to flip some software and hit my quota as the end of the quarter is approaching when my cell phone went berserk. When I finally looked at it and realized we’d traded Rashard “Won’t play for paychecks” Lewis and our later second round pick for Ariza and Okafor I was beside myself. “Ernie did it again” was what I thought, he’d taken trash and turned it into something useful. I even gave a little air fist pump to celebrate the news that the 24 million dollar gimp had been shown the door.
While Ariza and Okafor aren’t the missing pieces to a Wizards title run, they are more than serviceable. If they are both not starters then they will without question be rotation players. Which is more than we could say about Rashard during his time in the Nations Capital. The health of Okafor is still a major question mark as his knee troubled him the majority of last season, but if healthy he gives us a major upgrade on the defensive end of the floor. I look at Ariza in the same light, while his jump shot still be iffy he immediately becomes our top wing defender.
The Wizards got better as a result of this trade. We also locked ourselves in salary cap wise for the next two years as we took on salary on this deal. As a realist, I don’t mind this because you’re fooling yourself if you think we could’ve waived Lewis and convinced some top free agent to come to a losing team. That’s what we are right now, and the only way to climb out of that cellar is to infuse talent into this roster. That is what Ernie and Co. did on Wedesday.
Colenda: My initial reaction when hearing of the trade: “see ya when we see ya, Shard.” Lewis has been collecting the biggest pay checks in the NBA since he joined the Wizards after the Agent Zero trade, but hasn’t done a damn thing to earn them. Getting rid of the dead weight of his contract and his place on our bench was a big move for the Wizards, especially since they added two players capable of actually still contributing to an NBA team. Now are Okafor and Ariza still overpaid for what they are? Yeah probably, but there really are few good contracts in the NBA (everyone has an agent capable of gouging the league’s plethora of crappy GMs). But both of these guys represent a serious upgrade at their respective positions. Ariza will come in and be our starting small forward. He is a talented wing defender, who excels attacking the basket and working in transition but can occasionally get hot from three. He is an NBA champion (winning with Kobe and the Lakers) and will bring another winning presence into the locker room. Okafor probably won’t be taking a starting spot from Nene or our budding Frenchman in the front court, but he is certainly a huge upgrade as a first big off the bench. He is a physical banger, and although a little undersized, is a strong rim defender and rebounder. With the trade, Ernie made the Wiz deep, younger, and more talented while getting rid of dead weight of an albatross contract, certainly not a bad haul. This trade isn’t going to change the fate of our franchise, but it is, in my opinion, another step in the right direction.
2) Are we locked into taking Beal now/Your Wizards draft board
Bohlin: Technically, no. Realistically, yes. By addressing one of our major concerns at the SF position with the addition of Ariza it all but eliminates the possibility of MKG donning a Wizards jersey anytime soon. I personally preferred Beal to MKG before the trade was made, unlike some other dimer who won’t be named, so this is more than fine by me. Bradley Beal is a fantastic SG prospect that I firmly believe could flourish alongside John Wall.
The other real option remains to be North Carolina swing man Harrison Barnes. Barnes, by all accounts, was quite impressive during his workout in DC. He also auspiciously decided to cancel a scheduled workout with the Kings shortly after wrapping up his DC audition so there’s plenty of smoke there to fuel the speculation he could wind up being the #3 selection as well.
My Wizards draft board after this trade looks as so 1) Beal 2) Barnes 3) T. Robinson 4) MKG 5) Drummond. I strongly think the pick will be Beal or Barnes with the former Florida Gator having the edge.
Colenda: After seeing the trade, my first text to fellower Dimer Mr. Bohlin was “no MKG”. I think with the move, the Wizards showed their draft day hand. Adding a physical, banging big and a slashing small forward make we think that they are no longer considering Thomas Robinson and MKG. Not that continuing to add talent and depth at those positions would be a bad thing, it certainly would not be, but now the Wizards roster has more pressing holes to fill.
That need is at shooting guard. In my opinion, the top two players at that position in the draft are Beal, and Barnes. Now you may be saying, Barnes is a “small forward”, but he has the size and game of an NBA 2, and I think that’s the position he would be playing in DC. Either player would come in and be the starter from day one alongside Wall in the backcourt (sorry, Jordan), and expectations would be high for their future. Establishing a backcourt of the future with the number three pick seems to be what the Wizards have decided to do after yesterday’s move. The trade locked the Wizards into selecting one of those two players, whoever they deem the best of the bunch (and whoever is still available after MJ picks). If I’m Ernie, my draft board would look something like this: 1) Beal 2) Barnes 3) MKG 4)T.Rob.
3) With Nene, Okafor, Seraphin, Booker, Ariza and Vesely we have a logjam in the front court, were you Ernie what would your solution be?
Bohlin: Colenda and I have different views on this topic. While it’s nice to finally have some depth on the roster there is just too much in the front court and not even close to enough in the backcourt. I envision another trade happening as we approach the draft to be honest. Immediately I began throwing out the idea of Booker + #32 pick to move back into the first round and select another guard (I promise this isn’t because he went to Clemson and I am a USC graduate either, Go Cocks!). I think anywhere between picks 22-27 is a realistic landing spot and could net us a player such as sharpshooter John Jenkins out of Vanderbilt, Will Barton, the slasher from Memphis and native of Maryland, or a favorite of mine Doron Lamb out of Kentucky. The fact of the matter is our guard rotation is atrocious outside of John Wall and we need to address it in a major way in this draft. One of these bigs will need to be moved and since no one in their right mind would trade even a ball rack for Andray Blatche, Booker may be the odd man out.
Colenda: For starters, 6 players to fill out 3 positions isn’t a terrible situation. In fact, it’s a major upgrade what we’ve been in recent years, where we’ve been playing guys out of position and finishing in the bottom of the league in rebounding margin. While we don’t have a single dominant player, there are no Dwight Howard’s in the group, we have a strong core of players that all belong in the NBA and can be real contributors. The players are relatively complimentary as well; Ariza being a capable scorer and Vesely all defense, Booker can stretch the floor (just a bit) and Seraphin is all-inside all the time, and Nene is offensive minded and Okafor defensive. If I am Ernie, I’m sitting comfortably with my front court situation and not looking to make another move. The front court allows us to play multiple different types of line-ups, big and strong (Nene, Seraphin, Booker/Vesely), smaller but athletic (Ariza, Booker, Vesely/Nene) etc. This type of versatility allows you to match up with different styles of play much more effectively. The Wizards front court has quickly turned into his real strength over the past 6 months, and is much more prepared to compete at a winning level in the NBA.
4) Fill out your starting five + bench rotation heading into next season
6) We are all Seraphans
I haven’t had time to dissect this trade, as I just heard about it. But via our friends over at SB Nation it appears the Wizards have decided to trade Rashard Lewis and the number 46 pick for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor of the New Orleans Hornets.
I’ll break down the trade in a bit, but it certainly appears that this means Washington has decided that they want Bradley Beal. Ariza provides a small forward presence and very effective wing defender, while also bolstering perimeter shooting. Adding a guy like Harrison Barnes could work, but it’s far more likely that Beal comes in at the shooting guard position now as that’s our most thin area.
The front court just got more crowded, though, but Emeka Okafor when he is healthy is a pretty darn good rebounder.
I’m not sure how I feel about the trade, but it doesn’t seem that terrible right now. Doesn’t seem that great, either.
The debate between drafting Bradley Beal or Harrison Barnes (as it applies to the Wizards) is one that we’re all going to hear over and over again, likely, for a while into their careers. Both players are great shooters and great scorers who address Washington’s two biggest needs: shooting guard and small forward. With an ample supply of big men in Nene, Kevin Seraphin, and Trevor Booker already in the stable, the Wizards might want to or even have a chance to take Thomas Robinson. So then, the conversation flows back to the next two prospects, Beal and Barnes. While Barnes grades out to be the better athlete and (to this point in his career) scorer, Beal is younger and has drawn some serious comparisons to Ray Allen with his quick release and all-around game. The two would immediately come in and provide a perimeter threat sorely needed in Washington. The question is, who do you take?
By my estimation, it’s Harrison Barnes.
On Twitter yesterday, someone brought up a great point by posing this rhetorical question: Which position needs an upgrade more, Jordan Crawford or Chris Singleton? I’ve been such a huge critic of Jordan Crawford and his inability to be effective in basically any aspect of the game that I immediately decided Crawford. I really don’t think he has what it takes to be a starter in the NBA because when his shot isn’t falling he becomes invisible. His impact on the game is marginal at best, and good starters excel in something even when the buckets are bouncing out. Amongst all guard (shooting or point), Jordan Crawford always ends up in the middle of the pack. Except when it comes to shooting, wherein he remains one of the worst (40% from the field).
Crawford is as streaky as they come in terms of being a shooter, with little or no concern at the defensive end. He is a Jamal Crawford clone, which means his only way to be effective is by inevitably becoming a sixth man specialist. But was he so terrible as a starter that we unequivocally need to revoke his privileges right now and draft a very young rookie to start in his place? At one point last season, when Jordan was finding his groove, he rattled off 7 straight games of 20 or more points. During those games the Wizards were just starting to turn the corner to success, and suffered two 2 point losses, a 3 point loss, and a 4 point loss. Against a few playoff teams to boot. And it shows the impact that Crawford has when his shot is going in. Sure, that fact is not necessarily that often, but with age comes better shot selection, and one can see how Crawford might become a smarter player given more time to acclimate himself with the professional game.
Bradley Beal may actually provide a downgrade to Jordan Crawford at this point, believe it or not. Young guards tend to not be that effective in their first season at the professional level. Just ask Evan Turner, Ben Gordon, Brandon Knight, Wes Johnson, Xavier Henry, Brandon Jennings or anyone not named Marcus Thorton, Stephen Curry, or Eric Gordon. Eric Gordon, the guy whom Beal draws the most comparisons with, was a much, much better college player than Bradley Beal was. He averaged nearly 21 points per game, and while he did struggle with consistency at times, didn’t have the concerns Beal has. I’m not saying that in the future Beal doesn’t become a six-time All-Star and one of the best scorers to ever play the game, I’m just saying when it comes to next year, Beal is more than likely going to struggle.
So I ask again: is Jordan Crawford really the guy we want to replace instead of Chris Singleton? Well, if you thought Jordan was bad, then make sure you don’t have any hot beverages around you because Singleton was historically terrible. Chris Singleton was the worst small forward in the NBA last year by just about any standard you’d like to put him up against. On a team where anyone who could score would be allowed the ball plus plentiful times to shoot said ball, Singleton couldn’t manage. Nine double digit scoring games in 66 games (51 starts). Zero double digit rebounding games; zero games with five assists or more; dead last amongst all small forwards in scoring, rebounding, you name it. It wasn’t a good year for him, as he was forced into a starting role which he was not qualified to handle at all. He definitely tried to play the role effectively, he just wasn’t that good. Singleton’s defensive skills weren’t that great aside from steals because he loved to reach so much. Oftentimes he got himself into foul trouble for that exact reason, and was forced to come out of games early and deplete further an already barren small forward rotation.
I have a hard time believing that a guy who is already old for a rookie at 22 years young, is going to improve by leaps and bounds given another year. Singleton may prove to be an effective defender and a backup in the future, but as a starter Singleton hurts the Wizards more than any other play at any other position. Small forward play by Washington was atrocious, and there’s no real way around that fact. If the Wizards want to go another year with Singleton manning the helm and a rookie alongside of him at the shooting guard position, fine. Just don’t expect it to get any better. In fact, expect it to get worse.
Which brings us to why Harrison Barnes fill the Wizards biggest need and also makes them better in the short and likely long term. Barnes has two years of college under his belt, and while he didn’t quite live up to those lofty expectations going into college, he certainly hasn’t done anything to dispel the notion that he’s a very good talent. His 6’8 height and sturdy build, combined with freakish athleticism as evidenced by the combine, will likely serve him well in the future. He’s a versatile scoring threat who can get up and down the court exceptionally well with John Wall and Jordan Crawford, as well as catch open spot up looks from the perimeter. His game fits so perfectly with what the Wizards are capable of that, though third overall may be a little high for him to be drafted, the amount of sense he makes is almost too undeniable. Sure, he is streaky at times, but with a great point guard like Kendall Marshall (and John Wall), his potential is much more likely to be reached.
The Wizards need to address that perimeter threat, and while Beal has unlimited range, Barnes does as well and provides an upgrade over the incumbent player. Kick outs will look cleaner; plays can actually be ran without worrying about Singleton bumbling them up with a lack of ball handling ability and a competent jump shot. The Wizards will excel and pick and pop shooting and the floor is going to be opened up. Yes, this is best case scenario talk, but that’s what you’re supposed to do during the draft dreaming days leading up to the Wizards picking.
Barnes played in a system that is oriented toward guards and centers, yet he still managed to thrive. Having watched this guy throughout his college career, I’m going to predict that his game is without a doubt more suited for the NBA than it was in college. No, that doesn’t answer why he struggled in the tournament or failed to knock down shots at times, but I simply don’t think he is going to bust out in the NBA. He’s a confident, even keel player who has fought through adversity and shown maturity for his age. Beal is a great player, no doubt, but Barnes is simply a better fit for the Wizards right now if they’re looking to get better right away. For those reasons, I’m going to say we need to go with a 3 at the 3.
We all know by now that the Wizards have the third pick in the draft, and as a wise spider-based superhero once said, “With great draft position comes great responsibility.” Or something along those lines. In this segment of A Case for Drafting, we finally check out Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the other player who the Wizards will hypothetically select on June 28th. Kidd-Gilchrist, the youngest but arguably most important piece on the National Championship winning Kentucky Wildcats, is the type of guy who can develop into a multifaceted NBA player. His intangibles are what make him great, though his on the court prowess is in no way scoff-worthy.
Where do you begin with a young man like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? He is such a well rounded player and individual that it’s difficult to pinpoint one exact thing that he does incredibly well. But while watching film of this guy, the one skill that’s often overlooked yet remains a crucial element to MKG’s game is his defense. Almost unarguably, Anthony Davis was the defensive catalyst behind that championship Kentucky squad, but great defensive teams consist of more than one part. If Davis is 1a, then Kidd-Gilchrist is 1b on that roster when it comes to defense. On the defensive end, MKG has not only the physical attributes (6’7 1/2 with a 6’10 wingspan), but the passion and mental will to become a prolific defender.
Often tasked with guarding the toughest perimeter players, MKG held his own nearly every contest. He possesses incredible footwork which allows him to move laterally better than almost any player I’ve seen coming out of college. MKG stays in front of the player he is guarding (be it one through four, mind you) almost always, a credit to his side to side speed. It’s a skill that takes years of refinement at the professional level in order to become as good as MKG already is at it. He’s going to be able to defend just about anyone at the next level, and that’s could potentially be his bread and butter.
MKG also has a very good instinctual blocking and stealing ability, which typically goes hand in hand with players who possess high basketball IQ’s. Kidd-Gilchrist knows when to jump in order to contest a shot, and doesn’t really bite on the pump fake moves. He was also great at swatting the shots of players who managed to penetrate into the lane. MKG is actually quick enough that he can provide help defense and switch off his man at will strictly because of his strength and quickness; he can recover whenever he needs to.
What else does MKG do well? Fills the passing lanes and rebounds. Were deflecting passes and balls a skill, MKG would have led the NCAA in that statistic. He is constantly disrupting the lane and punishing other team’s for their sloppy or late passes. His 7.4 rebounds per contest also put him in the upper echelon of perimeter rebounders. There are very few players who can grab that many boards with Anthony Davis mopping the glass, bu MKG is in a select group. He simply has a nose for the ball.
Again, all of this goes back to his team-first mentality in that MKG will do whatever it takes to win a basketball game. His work ethic is what scouts gush on and on and on about, and that same work ethic is what turns good players into great ones. Shaquille O’Neal once said (in one of his smarter moments), “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly.” This applies to MKG in that his work ethic may very well take him to heights his natural athleticism and competitiveness can’t.
In the NBA, most top 5 picks don’t have incredibly major red flags when it comes to scoring; Kidd-Gilchrist is the exception to that rule. There basically isn’t a whole lot to like about him on the offensive end, and scouts have serious concerns about his ability to develop into a second or third (or even fourth) option at the next level.
His jump shot is weird looking, let’s just get that out of the way now. It has a hitch in it where, despite being right handed, Kidd-Gilchrist shoots the ball from the left side of his body. No, it’s not Desmond Mason shooting free throws, but it isn’t aesthetically pleasing. He also tends to kick his legs out on his jumper and fade a bit, which may further exacerbate the issue. Kidd-Gilchrist might actually already realize that his shot is bad, and it could be why he took the least amount of shots on his team at 18.6%. He can make the midrange jump shot, but not nearly consistent enough to justify using it on the offensive end anytime soon. And while he can occasionally hit the three point shot, he is not going to be good at it off the bat in the NBA. MKG needs to put hours upon hours into the gym (which he does already) in order to develop a consistent jumper.
The bulk of his offense came on back downs, put backs, and transition points (again, this speaks to his great basketball instincts) when Kentucky rushed the ball up the court. At the professional level, he is going to have a very hard time backing down more athletic, similarly sized wing players and the put backs might be limited against taller defenders. That leaves him with transition buckets and drawing contact, which doesn’t scream out “lottery pick” to me.
Another thing that you notice when watching MKG is that he isn’t a very good ball handler, and as such struggles with pull up shots and beating men off the dribble. He has yet to develop the ability to blow by a defender on his way to the rack, despite being quick and agile enough to do so. It simply isn’t pretty when he’s forced into an isolation situation, and more often than not MKG will pass the ball off after failing to get past his man. Shouldering past your opponent and rising up in the lane is something that lots of small forwards in the NBA have a natural instinct for strictly based on athleticism, and yet it’s a skill MKG is going to have to learn.
MKG and Andre Iguodala are eerily similar on the basketball court. They’re both athletes (though Andre is overwhelming in that category) who do a whole lot of the intangible things correctly on the court. Coming out of college, Iggy Pop averaged 12.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists (MKG averaged 11.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 2 APG). Both players were on teams chock full of NBA talent(Andre’s Arizona squad had Channing Frye, Luke Walton, Salim Stoudamire, Mustafa Shakur, and Hassan Adams), and as a result were asked to do things other than score in order to win games. In the NBA, it took Iguodala about two to three years in order to develop into what could be considered a third option on the floor. Despite being the second and third look throughout his career, Iguodala excels more at being a complimentary piece rather than an offensive scorer, and that’s exactly how I can see MKG panning out.
MKG’s downside isn’t really that bad. A lot of websites have Gerald Wallace as his downside, meaning he’s a guy who, through sheer will and determination, will score points and hit the boards hard. I think that’s certainly reasonable, as Wallace is a very strong defender and, while not being a major scoring threat, could still play a major part on a championship team. He’s a guy that plays basketball the right way and physically can hang in the NBA, so MKG’s downside is limited.
Why He’s a Good Fit in the District
From an offensive basketball standpoint, not necessarily all that well. Were Washington to select Kidd-Gilchrist, they’d be adding an offensively inept player to an offensively starved team. MKG won’t be a scoring threat anytime soon, so a John Wall kick out isn’t going to help out at all. That’s not to say that down the road MKG won’t turn out to be a fantastic player and fit for the Wizards, it’s just conceding that his skill set currently doesn’t work with this roster. There are enough paint scoring presences in Seraphin, Nene, Booker and Wall (he’s not scoring from outside of 8 feet too often), that adding MKG would make the team very one dimensional. I’m not sure if that’s the best idea.
He would, however, be a major addition in terms of transition scoring with his steals and speed. He and John Wall would work very well together in that regard, as they both excel at that aspect of the game. Last year, Washington was third in the league in fastbreak points at 17.9 per game, so I’m not certain that they can get a whole lot better at doing that if we’re being honest. Sacramento was the second best, so it’s not as if more transition points means more wins. It’s a crapshoot. Washington already gets out in front against people, and what they really need is scoring.
Still, MKG is a guy who would bring a winning pedigree to a losing team, and that intangible has to be taken into consideration. Kidd-Gilchrist works out and works out the right way, and if any of that rubs off on Andray Blatche or John Wall, the Wizards are going to get a whole lot better at basketball.