'Til death (or your first felony charge) do us part
By Lee Friedman
The relationship between a team and a player is a little bit like dating. You draft a player (begin dating), sometimes the player is a high draft pick and ready to contribute immediately (mature and knows how to be in a relationship, marriage material right off the bat), sometimes the player is a late-round pick, a project. Excessive partying or trust issues can be just as damaging to the prospects of a long-term relationship as not being able to execute a pick-and-roll. Sometimes it’s an international prospect that looks good on grainy film from the Albanian Basketball Association. The team pays a big buy-out, uses a lottery pick and he ends up a disaster: mail-order bride.
After a few years together, the team and the player must decide if they want to sign a long-term contract (marriage) or go their separate ways. The similarities between LeBron James' break-up with Cleveland and the ending of a relationship are too numerous to list (the burning of clothes being the most obvious). Sometimes those long-term deals end up working out well, with solid play and winning teams (happy marriage, kids, etc.) such as with Tim Duncan or Dwight Howard. Sometimes as with Kobe Bryant it has its ups and downs (your spouse strayed from your marriage, followed by intense marriage counseling, your marriage ends up stronger as a result). Sometimes the marriage ends up in court (Latrell Sprewell, Eddy Curry, etc.) or with your spouse fleeing the country with your kids and your money (Stephon Marbury). The lesson is that if he/she is crazy before you get married, that isn’t changing once you get hitched.
After this season, the Wizards are going to have to make decisions about which players they want to keep and build around, their bench (not including Hinrich) is basically split into two categories:
- By the end of the year the Wizards need to decide whether “to put a ring on it” to quote that great Greek philosopher Beyonce.
- The players they are casually dating and maybe by the end of the season they will be ready to meet your crazy family. It may take a few years for them to develop, but it will be worth it.
Josh Howard: Neither party is in it for the long haul. The Wizards and Howard both need each other, he needs to show the league he isn’t a head-case, his knee is now sound and he can still score. The Wizards need him to be a solid SF and play mediocre defense.
Put a Ring on It?
Nick Young: I have mixed feelings towards Nick. Some games he scores at will and makes good decisions, but the next game it’s like his evil twin Rick has taken the court to shoot 3-for-12 and look like Admiral Stockdale on defense.
Cartier Martin: He played well at the end of last year and that continued into training camp. I hope he gets some playing time before Howard comes back.
Hilton Armstrong: He was a complete bust as a lottery pick. But in the few games I saw him he was very active and could be a good space-eater/foul-taker. He could be Fabricio Oberto minus the charges taken, the shampoo-commercial-hair and the love of Malbec.
Al Thornton: I’m not a big fan. I’ll be interested to see what he gets as a free-agent next summer. He’ll be giving off the desperate-cougar vibe.
Yi Jianlian: When we acquired him this summer, all my NJ friends ridiculed him as being next to worthless. I disagree, right now he’s a solid guy off the bench, but I think he has break-out potential (and by break-out I mean he could end up as a solid starter, he isn’t making the All-Star Team).
Kevin Seraphin: I was surprised with how few minutes he got in the pre-season. Everyone keeps talking about his potential, but I have yet to be awed.
Hamady Ndiaye: Probably the most likely to be released if they need another roster spot. I’d say he’s got potential, but he’s already 23 and his future is pretty limited.
Trevor Booker: Start building the huppa now folks. This guy won’t be a star, but he will be a solid role player for the Wizards. He’ll be the guy who comes off the bench to do the dirty work, sort of like DeJuan Blair with ACL’s (sorry Ernie, was it too soon to make that joke?).
Lester Hudson: This guy can shoot the lights out and I think he could be a solid back-up on a lot of teams. He’s a little older at 26, but he’s only in his second NBA season. I’m not quite ready to have a define-the-relationship discussion with him yet, but he’s got potential.
Box Seats blogger
| October 28, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
Categories: Lee Friedman, Wizards | Tags: Lee Friedman, Wizards
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