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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.
Everyone seems to be hung up on who the Wizards should be drafting with the third pick in this year’s draft, but what they’re forgetting is that Washington also holds two other second round picks. While there may only be one franchise-potential player in Anthony Davis, this draft is in no way bereft of very talented role players that could slip to Washington at 32. Instead of focusing on who we should take in the first round, let’s look at some of the talent that might be had later on. Obviously, our two biggest needs are at the SG and SF position, so it would be safe to assume the Wizards will be looking at guys who play those positions.
SG: Tony Wroten, William Buford
If Tony Wroten manages to fall out of the first round, the Wizards would be very wise to scoop this kid up. Wroten, a 6-5 combo guard, played his college ball at the University of Washington where he averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Some draft websites compare him to Tyreke Evans, and when you watch film on him you can see the comparison is pretty accurate. Wroten is an incredible athlete who uses his quick first step and body strength to attack the basket with ease. He also draws contact on a consistent basis when he jets into the lane, averaging 7.5 free throw attempts per contest. One of Wroten’s greatest strengths, however, lies in his court vision. His assists don’t just come off of kick outs to open shooters, but he actually delivers creative, pinpoint, Rajon Rondo-esque dimes all over the court. Wroten makes players around him better through his ability to read the defense and find players for wide open layups once the defensive help slides off their man in an attempt to guard him.
“But wait! There’s more!”
There is definitely more and it ain’t pretty. Wroten is an absolutely miserable shooter. Despite getting to the line a lot, Wroten shot Ben Wallace numbers from the charity stripe at 58.3%. What’s the point in getting to the line if you can only convert just over half of those shots? His jump shot looks funky, and it’s not even close to being NBA-ready. John Wall shoots better than him, and I’m not sure having a backcourt where Wall is your best shooter is a winning ticket. Sure, he can pass the ball very well and has decent size for his position, but his inability to hit midrange shots, three’s (16.1%), or anything but layups simply won’t work with Wall on the court.
Oh, and he can’t go right.
Were I the GM during the second round of this year’s draft, I’d take a good, long look at William Buford. Buford, the 6’5, 215 lb senior out of Ohio State, looks like what you’d want a two guard to be in the NBA. Despite not really being an elite athlete, Buford managed to become one of the most prolific scorers in Ohio State basketball history with 1,990 career points scored (the leader is Dennis Hopson with 2,096). His natural scoring instincts and overall feel for the game allowed him to mask his physical shortcomings in order to be in the right places to make buckets. He moves well without the ball, and during his college career evolved into a very formidable catch and shoot player. Buford is also very capable of knocking down the midrange jump shot coming off screens. He’s a competent rebounder, and plays well off a ball-dominant point guard while still moving the ball within an offense. Buford also brings a winning pedigree and intangibles like solid character to any team he plays for. His experience and age would fit right in with this young bunch of Wizards.
What ‘ol Will Buford lacks, however, is shot creation due to his lack of athleticism. He isn’t fast enough to create a lot of separation between himself and the defender, and if he can’t do it at the college level, that flaw will certainly limit his potential at the next level. Buford will struggle with more athletic wings without a point guard feeding him exactly where he needs to be, and although he does have a sturdy build, it’s not going to matter if he can’t break free from his defender. His efficiency plummeted when he was asked to do more during his senior year, and his three point shooting dipped from 44% as a junior to 36%. It’s understandable, as more reps typically leads to diminished stat lines, but it doesn’t suggest he’s going to be an elite scorer at the next level. I do think he could become a knock down shooter and defensive specialist, though. John Wall could certainly be a guy who can extend his career quite a bit by opening up the floor for him, which is why I think the Wizards would be wise to take a gander at him.
SF: Will Barton
I’ve been pretty high on Will Barton since he came out of high school, and not just because he stuck around despite Calipari jumping ship from Memphis for greener pastures in Kentucky. Last season, Barton averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while leading the Memphis Tigers to an NCAA Tournament birth. On the court, he looks like a 6’6 noodle, as his wiry frame is the main reason Barton isn’t going to be drafted early on. Weighing only 174 lbs is never, ever, a good sign for a wing player, as he is going to be prone to backdowns in the post and being bullied by guys like Andre Iguodala and some LeBron James guy. Honestly, when Lebron outweighs you by 100 lbs, it’s almost hazardous to your healthy to take a charge from him. Barton might break in half even attempting to finish a shot around the bucket against big men (which is a shame since he’s actually a good finisher). And that’s the point, really. Barton obviously needs to add weight if he intends to be as effective scoring in the NBA as he was in college.
So why do I want the Wizards to draft him? Because even though he’s rail thin, he’s still a really good ball player who can score in more ways than one. Barton shot 56% from two-point range last year, and his consistency has improved by leaps and bounds during his sophomore season at Memphis. Will Barton doesn’t have a go-to scoring move because he doesn’t really need one; he’s one of the more versatile scorers you’ll find. Midrange? Check. Long range? Check. Transition points? Check. He’s pretty good at all of those things, and the result is that it keeps the defenses guessing. Leave him alone, and he’s more than capable at drilling a three in your face. Give him too much space, and watch out because he’s got a very quick release with a dangerous step back jumper from midrange. His 6’9 wingspan gives him a higher release point than most guys his size as well, which figures to help him out at the next level.
Barton also has a 34 inch vertical to boot, and his long arms make him a prime candidate for steals. Whenever I watch this guy play he immediately brings to mind a more talented, slightly smaller Tayshaun Prince. I think Barton has the basketball smarts and scoring instinct to develop into a starter at the NBA level, and if he adds a bit more bulk his ceiling raises significantly. He’s also shown improvement over his college career and scouts consider him a pretty hard worker, so there’s no reason to suggest he won’t continue that progression during his NBA career. A starter right away? He probably could, but a year splitting time with Chris Singleton can’t hurt. I think his athleticism and shooting skills would mesh with the breakneck pace John Wall sets for the Wizards, and his ability to knock down the mid range can’t be understated.
In this segment of A Case for Drafting, I look at North Carolina’s small forward Harrison Barnes aka The Black Falcon, and why he would be a good fit for the squad. Barnes came out of high school as the first ever AP All-American before he even played a minute on a college floor. Obviously, the standard of play was set exceedingly high for the young Tarheel during his first year. While he got off to a slow start, he finished his first year very strongly; most notably with a 40 point performance against Clemson in which Barnes showed off his silky smooth shooting ability and athleticism.
His second year at UNC, where he decided to forgo potentially being the #1 overall pick during the summer, was expected to be his coming out party. Barnes was supposed to dominate the court in a way no other UNC player has since you-know-who. Somehow, in spite of improving his game in just about every statistical scoring category, the Black Falcon’s draft stock somehow regressed. That’s what constant attention and a 24-hour news cycle will do. Nonetheless, Barnes is still considered an extremely talented prospect to take a look at.
Barnes strength as an NBA player comes in two forms: His shooting ability and his physique.
Barnes happens to sport one of the prettiest strokes you’re going to find on an basketball player. His form is picture perfect, his footwork is sound, and he can hit it from absolutely anywhere on the court. Last season, Barnes averaged 17.1 ppg on only 13.7 shots while shooting 44% overall and 35% from long range. Those numbers would be impressive for any college player, but they don’t explain how Barnes scores all his points. He actually has an array of moves to get him to the spots he likes on the court. With Marshall on the court (and this is key), Barnes could catch and shoot from anywhere on the floor. He could simply wait for the ball on the wing, and once he got it, your team was going to pay. Harrison is also exceptionally good pulling up off one or two dribbles, depending on what the situation calls for.
Barnes is a very smart person, but also a very court-savvy player. He knows where he needs to be on the court to be effective, and finishes at the rim utilizing his uncanny body control. It’s a rarity that you’re going to see Barnes on the floor after receiving contact, because he’s a very balanced player. Even when he’s grabbing rebounds, he uses positioning and his length to his advantage to ensure that other players have no shot of even getting a hand on the ball. It’s one of the most striking features of his game.
Perhaps the most impressive attribute Barnes has is that he passes the smell test. When you look at him, he is perhaps the embodiment of what a prototypical NBA small forward would look like. Barnes measured a perfect 6’8, 228 lbs at the combine, and it clearly shows. He’s a physical phenomenon who also has the wingspan to be a decent rebounder and defender (7’1, no wonder why they call him the Black Falcon). Not only do his height and weight fit the bill, but it’s also Barnes vertical. Only one person, Miles Plumlee, bested Barnes vertical of 39.5 inches. That’s MJ in Space Jam type of stuff there. But that’s not where it stops with Barnes, as he also managed to be .02 seconds slower than John Wall’s official three quarters court time. What does that mean? Transition points will be plentiful, as Barnes is going to be able to keep up with anyone on the court.
Having watched more than enough Barnes over the past two years, there are some major holes in his game that I’m not sure are fixable offenses. While Barnes is an NBA caliber scorer, the rest of his game is a bit like Facebook stock, wherein investors have to ask, “Soooo what is it, exactly, that you do?” Barnes has absolutely no physical limitations to his game, and yet he doesn’t rebound well. He is strong enough to absorb contact driving to the rim, but can’t get to the rim to initiate any contact. He is also more than long enough to be a shut-down defender, but is more traffic cone than ball stopper. It’s literally inexplicable how someone so physically gifted can’t manage to be everything we know/believe he can be.
Part of that, however, is due to overexposure. Barnes happened to play at UNC, where everyone who has a bit of a scoring touch coming out of high school is considered the heir apparent to Jordan. It’s an absurd standard and makes us forget about the good a player can do. Barnes has had hole after hole poked into his game, but the flaws have arguably been extrapolated a bit. He doesn’t have a very quick first step, but it’s not sloth-like by any means. Not having Kendall Marshall during the NCAA tournament put Barnes on notice for his inability to create shots. Without Marshall feeding him in all the right places, he struggled and didn’t manage to shoot over 40% in any of his final two tournament games. The case could be made, however, that any player would have difficulties adjusting to life without Marshall around, who happens to be one of the best pure passers to come out of college in a long, long time.
Barnes was asked to do a bit too much, and the fact that he may never be a first option scorer as a pro was put on blast. That’s his major flaw. Maybe as a second option, but not the first.
Barnes upside as a pro player is probably Luol Deng. He’s another freaky athlete who doesn’t have that explosive first step necessary to create his own shot and become a superstar. Without that, his play is going to be limited by the abilities of his point guard. With a fantastic point guard like Wall, Barnes could thrive and become a very potent scorer. He’s not going to be a number one option ever, but he could certainly be a complementary piece on a playoff team. His shooting ability allows him to stretch the court and open up space, and at worst, it will keep him in the league for a long time coming.
Harrison Barnes has a high basement, so to speak. I think, at worst, he is going to be like Marvin Williams of the Atlanta Hawks (also a fellow UNC guy). A guy who looks the part of the small forward, but simply isn’t assertive enough to be considered a constant threat on the court. Williams has supreme talent, but he’s never going to win any effort awards. His tendency to shy away from contact severely limits his game and is the main reason he is relegated to the bench. Barnes is going to be better than Williams, I’m almost certain of that. But if we’re talking worst case scenario, he’s a better shooting Marvin and that leaves a lot to be desired.
Why He’s a Good Fit in the District
Barnes would exceed his upside playing alongside the Great Wall of Chinatown, and the reasons why are simple. Wall would find Barnes anywhere on the court, and their games complement one another incredibly well. Barnes doesn’t need the ball to be effective; in fact, he’s probably more effective without the ball. Wall would finally have that catch and shoot player to kick the ball out to. All those missed three’s by Jordan Crawford would go in with Barnes. His abilities would open the floor up for everyone, including slightly undersized centers like Seraphin and Nene. Furthermore, transition points would come easy with two north-south speed demons like Barnes and Wall. If anything, the Wizards would be the fastest team in the NBA. Barnes might actually be the best fit for Washington out of any prospects available, which is a shame because by all accounts they’re not considering him.
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, I look at Kansas Jayhawks power forward Thomas Robinson, and why he would be a good fit for the squad. After biding his time on the bench, the native of D.C. Junior managed to guide his team all the way to the NCAA National Championship game before falling to a loaded Kentucky team. Robinson decided to forgo his Senior season, and threw his name into the draft pool of players, and in doing so officially put himself on the Wizards radar.
When you talk about Thomas Robinson as a player, there are two things that come to mind: his rebounding ability and, most importantly, his mental fortitude and passion. From a basketball standpoint, Robinson excelled at the college level at lots of things, but his rebounding rate was just about second to none. In 27 of the 39 games he played last season (including the NCAA Tournament), T-Rob collected 10 or more rebounds. Furthermore, he grabbed at least 7 boards in every single game that he played. By the end of the season, Robinson actually finished up with the second most double-doubles in the nation. You could make the argument that, at this point in his career, Robinson is better at rebounding than consensus #1 draft pick Anthony Davis (10.4 rebounds/game). Believe it or not, Robinson actually rebounded better in his first season as a full time starter than even Kevin Love (10.6 rebounds/game). I’m not suggesting that he’s better than Kevin Love at rebounding, but it does bode well for his ability to do so at the next level.
Some could argue that his height might serve as a hindrance at the next level, but that simply won’t be the case with Thomas Robinson. He’s simply too athletic to let a simple height discrepancy keep him off the glass. Robinson sports a physique that isn’t seen on college players heading to the NBA (his body fat percentage is 5). He’s also got a 7’1 wingspan, which means he isn’t likely to be a defensive liability on the other end of the court.
Another factor that should play into Robinson’s success at the next level is, without question, his mentality and passion for the game. Everyone has probably heard the tragic story of Robinson losing, in the span of one month, his grandmother, grandfather, and mother during his sophomore season. The guy lost his entire family save his 9 year old little sister in the proverbial blink of an eye. The average person wallows in a sea of depression after a loss of that magnitude; Thomas Robinson is not the average person. Instead of quitting ball for the season and losing hope in humanity, Robinson doubled down on his efforts on the court.
After averaging only 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest his sophomore year, the guy spent countless hours in the gym and, as a result, changed his course in the world of basketball. That type of mental fortitude is something simply not seen in the vast majority of people, let alone NBA players. Robinson brings a passion to the game that is, by his own coaches admission, infectious. If anyone has the toughness to overcome any obstacle in his way, it’s going to be this kid. If anyone doesn’t think that an intangible like playing with a chip on your shoulder isn’t important in determining a players worth, think back to the short list of basketball players that did so: MJ, Kobe, Wade, LeBron. The list goes on and on, and a lot of those players excel simply because of their will to be the best. Robinson, I believe, falls squarely in that category.
It’s not all peaches with Robinson, of course, as there are some flaws in his game that can’t be overlooked. The most glaring of which is his limited offensive skill set. Currently, T-Rob doesn’t have the most comprehensive list of go-to low post moves. One could argue that he doesn’t really have any yet. His athleticism is what got him by on the offensive end at the college level, and against other elite athletes in the NBA, it might not go as smoothly. He can certainly perform up-and-under’s and back to the basket moves, but not at an elite level just yet. He is going to need to work on that in order to establish himself as a legitimate threat and not a jack-of-all-trades type of guy, wherein he does everything but not anything well.
If you watched the National Championship game you could see that, while his shot does look technically sound, it doesn’t go in all the time. To take his game to the next level, Robinson has to work on being able to stretch the defense with his jumper so as to spread the court and use his athleticism to attack the basket. In doing that, his potential would be limitless, and would turn him into a perennial All-Star instead of an occasional/potential one.
Another slight knock on Robinson is his court vision, which is substandard at this point in time as evidenced by his assist/turnover ratio. Last year he averaged 1.8 assists to 2.7 turnovers per contest, which is an alarmingly high rate for a low post big man. He’s not the best at passing out of the double team, and needs to work on playing more controlled, as numerous times last year it was almost as if he got a bit too excited. I normally don’t look too much into turnover ratios for big men, as most of them can’t really dribble that well anyway, but that number is a tad too high to overlook. I think with more experience on the court, he will get better at that, and his work ethic dictates that it’s something he will focus on in the offseason.
According to DraftExpress.com, Robinson’s upside is Al Horford. Our friends over at NBADraft.net have him pegged as a Derrick Williams type of player. But the more I watch this guy on film, the more I see one of my favorite players ever in Antonio McDyess. He might be slightly worse than Antonio was coming out of college, but they’re both freakishly talented athletes who know how to crash the boards better than most. McDyess might have played a bit more under control, but before his knee injury, he played very much like T-Rob. Scoring wise, he relied on his strengths as an athlete to get to the rack and beat people off the dribble, and then developed that midrange jumper later on. I think Robinson could do the same thing here.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I think Robinson’s downside is probably a better rebounding Al Horford. I think Robinson has the potential to be a double-double machine in the pros, but unless he can develop one or two go-to moves (or a shot to become a pick-and-pop player), his point totals are going to be quite limited. His athleticism lends credence to the belief that he can start in the NBA and probably defend relatively well, but the difference between 12 PPG and 18 PPG is pretty steep. Either way, Horford is a fantastic defender and a solid rebounder who averages around 15 and 10, so that’s what I think Robinson brings to the table at the very least.
Why He’s a Good Fit in the District
Uh, because he’s from here?
Seriously though, in spite of the logjam at the 4 and 5 with the Wizards, Robinson’s game would work surprisingly well with John Wall. He runs the court better than most big men, and would be a shoo in for Wall lobs with his ability to get to the rack. The Wizards should look to trade one of our big men in a package deal for a SG or SF before the draft to make room for this guy, because he is incredibly talented. He could even play very well off of Nene and Kevin Seraphin, as is more athletic than both of them (believe it or not) and doesn’t necessarily always occupy the same space.
Plus, he gives the Wizards something they need more than anything: rebounding. If ever there were a guy who the Wizards could use, it’s a can’t miss rebounder. Nene, Seraphin, Booker, and Jan aren’t the best rebounders, and when all your front court can’t do that it poses a big problem. Robinson would fit that need and provide some serious hustle points in the process, while also extending possessions.
By: The DC Dime Staff
With the lottery behind us and the NBA draft only a few short weeks away, I’m sure every Wizards fan is wondering the same question: Who are the Wizards going to draft with the #3 pick? While my colleagues and I may have some pretty comprehensive knowledge on the subjects of NBA draft and the draft, we’re not experts. But while we aren’t, there are some websites that excel at providing some of the most in-depth, impressive, and knowledgeable information on the draft process and the players within.
NBADraft.net is arguably the best out there in terms of draft knowledge, and The DC Dime has been reading it since it’s inception. We managed to get Johnathan Wasserman, one of the writers and analysts for NBADraft.net, to take some time out of his day to answer for Wizards fans a few questions regarding the draft:
DC: Thomas Robinson projects to be, at worst, a great rebounder in the NBA. Where do you see his potential falling? All-Star or borderline All-Star/Role Player.
JW: I think 18 and 8 are realistic numbers by year 3 for T-Rob. He’s much more than just a ridiculous athlete with NBA strength. But I’d be weary of pairing him with Nene to start. Both occupy similar floorspace, which could hinder his progression.
DC: Is Andre Drummond Kwame Brown 2.0? Or is this comparison insulting to Kwame?
JW: Outside of Davis, nobody’s ceiling is higher than Drummond’s. If he figures it out, someone will have landed themselves a starting big for years to come. Problem is big men are vulnerable to underachieving, and his raw offensive game is worrisome. But his basement is not the same as Kwame Brown’s. If Drummond never figures it out offensively, he’s still likely be the most athletic, explosive big man on the court.
DC: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a great player, but not necessarily a great shooter. Should Washington look elsewhere in the draft to address this need? Or do you select MKG based on future potential.
JW: I’d don”t think MKG has a high ceiling. I’m think he can start for many teams in the near future, but don’t expect much half court offense. In my opinion Washington needs another half-court scoring weapon, and that’s not what MKG is. He’s a quintessential glue guy who can play off better players. But unfortunately on Washington he doesn’t have great players to compliment.
DC: If you had to decide today, what do the Wizards do with this pick?
JW: My draft board for Washington, assuming Davis goes 1, would read :1. Beal 2. Drummond 3. Robinson
Thanks again, Jonathan, for alleviating some of the fan concerns about this draft!
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It took about 30 seconds for my Twitter news feed to start erupting with NBA fans crying foul and spewing off conspiracy theories about how the league is rigged. The theory that the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged is a fun one to play around with (thinking of David Stern as a mastermind of a huge plot is scandalous; Americans love scandals), but the reality is that it simply has no basis nowadays. For starters, think about how many people were watching the entire sequence of events go down.
What we watch on television is not a real time drawing of the balls. We’re seeing the made for television version, where team owners, friends/family/Dan Gilbert’s son, sit around waiting unknowingly for the entire lottery to play out. That’s great for television and suspense, but it doesn’t allay some of the concerns that the average viewer has when he sees New Orleans pop up as the first pick. What they should know, however, is that the lottery actually already finished up over an hour beforehand.
Journalists (who one would presume have at least an ounce of integrity) and representatives from each team are literally locked into a room while the process happens. Everyone in the room gives up their cell phones, pagers, communication devices, and electronics upon entering in order to maintain secrecy. They all watch as the hopper is loaded up with 14 ping pong balls and winning combinations are drawn out, and there’s essentially no way it can be rigged. Each person in the room would have to be in on the fact that the league somehow jury rigged the balls or the machine in such a way that New Orleans got the winning combination right off the bat. It’s not only impossible, but it is highly improbable. The actual reason as to why New Orleans won the coveted prize of Anthony “The Brow” Davis in getting the first pick, is actually pretty standard.
Charlotte may have had a 25% chance of winning, but they also had a 75% chance of failure. Their odds of landing it were less than 50%, which in school is below failing. Sure, other teams had an even lower chance (New Orleans had a 14.4% chance of winning), but at that point everyone has pretty bad odds. The Wizards had an even higher chance to win, but they didn’t because it’s a lottery system in which luck plays the biggest factor and statistical odds were still working against them. For the winners, it’s great. But for the losers, it’s considered a bogus win. I can’t even say I blame people for being upset.
The NBA owns the New Orleans Hornets, for Pete’s Sake! I’m not even sure if their GM can actually make trades yet. It’s a serious conflict of interest and it leaves open the door for plenty of naysayers to question motives, tie loose ends, etc. I, for one, became a tad bit disenfranchised with the NBA after the whole Chris Paul debacle last offseason. It was disappointing to hear that the league could veto a trade because of hurt feelings and unfairness. Should, then, the league be allowed to say “No way they should get the number one pick; do over”? No, they can’t do that, and it’s why to a rational eye the NBA lottery system is clearly not rigged. NBA owners may have been upset with the outcome (because Dan Gilbert may be a moron), but the smart ones weren’t saying it was a con job.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be upset. New Orleans seems to be catching some serious breaks with regards to talent lately (though they still had a brutal record that was only marginally better than the Wizards last year…), and I can’t help but be a little off put. They got a bunch of talent and picks with the departure of Chris Paul directly at the hands of David Stern. And now they get a franchise power forward and transcendental talent like Davis? What gives! Sure, the Wizards have had two first overall draft picks in the past 12 years, but whatever, because we didn’t win this time.
Speaking of the Wizards: once we can get over the fact that we lost out on the Davis sweepstakes, the reality sets in that this is an extremely talented draft class and the third overall pick is still a coveted piece. The Wizards may not get Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but there are a whole lot of ballers that might fit better than both of them would, anyway. For example, a shooter like Bradley Beal will likely still be on the board. Instead of grabbing someone like MKG, who is not likely to develop into an offensive threat right away, Beal could be the guy who provides an immediate upgrade over Jordan “Trey Day” Crawford at the shooting guard position.
Or, conversely, since Booker, Seraphin, Nene, and Jan aren’t lighting the world on fire with their performance, the Wizards could nab someone like Thomas Robinson to further bolster the front court. Not to mention that he’s a D.C. native and might play even harder for his only remaining family member in his little sister. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing talent, and Robinson is about as gifted as they come in this draft (and in all of basketball). He’s another guy I would be just fine with taking.
The Wizards could even trade the pick and package some bad contracts and players in exchange for some legitimate talent! Would it be outlandish to suggest that they swap picks with Portland and acquire Nicolas Batum and another talent at the two guard later in the draft? Portland might be more receptive to taking on the contract of Andray Blatche or Rashard Lewis as well. The acquisition of two players for the price of one pick makes a lot of sense, and it’s something that Grunfeld might want to look into.
What I’m basically saying in this reactionary piece is that Wizards fans should relax.We should realize the NBA lottery is not rigged, acknowledge the disappointment we had in not winning the Unibrow sweepstakes, and accept that our number three pick is actually a very versatile thing that, no matter what, should bode well for the future of this team.
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