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Draft day nears

First things first: the Wizards will be working out shooting guard J.R. Reynolds, point guard Aaron Brooks (Oregon), shooting guard Jarrius Jackson (Texas Tech) and point guard Bobby Brown (Cal State Fullerton) tomorrow. Maryland's D.J. Strawberry and some other prospects will be in on Friday. All of the above mentioned players are looking at being taken in the second round at best.

-Someone wrote in asking about Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez, who has been projected to go somewhere late in the first round or early in the second. The Wizards have not worked him out and as of this afternoon (Wednesday) are not scheduled to do so.

-Folks keep asking me to make a prediction on the first round pick but I haven't done so yet because it's simply too hard to get a read what Ernie and co. are thinking. You have to assume that they'd snatch up USC shooting guard Nick Young if he were to drop to 16 but that may not happen. Jason Smith, the center from Colorado State, could be the pick but I have to wonder whether they'd take him given the fact that Smith's game is similar to Oleksiy Pecherov's. They already have a young 7-footer who is more comfortable facing the basket than playing as a traditional post and given the fact that DeShawn Stevenson and Jarvis Hayes could be headed elsewhere, I see them taking a wing player with the pick. The problem is that the 16th pick may be too early to take guys like Marco Belinelli, Derrick Byers, or Rodney Stuckey.

My guess is that Ernie has two or three guys flagged and the one who falls to 16 will be the pick. Sorry I can't give ya'll more inside scoop but I also don't want to throw out wild rumors (which are flying around like hockey pucks right now. I feel like Grant Fuhr).

-For the record, several sources told me that the Wiz and Suns have never talked about a Antawn Jamison for Shawn Marion deal and my colleague covering the Suns, Paul Coro, said the same thing. If such talks did occur, I can't figure how that would make sense for Phoenix. Word is that the Suns want to trim salary and stay under the luxury tax but Jamison makes the same amount as Marion and, why would the Suns mess with a team that has been so successful? They may have been a Robert Horry hip check away from a title. Marion is a better defender than Antawn and I don't see him performing as well with a shoot-first PG like Gilbert as he has with a pass-first guy like Steve Nash.

-Ernie Grunfeld is NOT trading Gilbert Arenas. Anyone who speculates otherwise is throwing stuff up on the wall in the hope that something sticks.

-Not sure what to make of Susan O'Malley's impending departure from Wash Sports and Entertainment. In my two years covering the team, I rarely saw her and then it was only on home game nights. Never saw her during practice, never saw her near the lockeroom and never saw her on the road with the team. Susan was pretty much locked in on the business side thus leaving Ernie freedom to deal with the hoops. That said, Susan had a direct line to Abe Pollin's ear and without her around, you have to think that Ernie will have a more direct line to Pollin. The dealings I have had with Susan have always been professional. I wish her luck in whatever she chooses to do.

-Just so you know: I'll be in Las Vegas for summer league next month. The Wizards open play on the 10th and roll through the 15th. I'll be reporting on and blogging about Pecherov and the new Wiz draft picks daily. Also, I'll be giving you the scoop on other rookies like Oden, Durant and possibly Jeff Green.

-Summer reading tip: check out "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. It's an excellent read.

-Anyone out there know somebody with the DC parks and recreation department? I recently moved into new digs in the U street area. There is a park across the street with a good basketball court but one of the backboards is down. Every afternoon the neighborhood kids (admission: I play too) are up there trying to ball but it's kind of hard to get good games going with only one rim. The kids say the hoop has been down for two years. Since we're all for giving kids constructive things to do during the long, hot summer, why not repair the broken hoop and let 'em run games all night? There's no telling what yours truly and his buddies would have gotten into without a basketball court, baseball diamond and good library in our hood.
The park in question is on the corner of 13th and V Street. Help anyone? For the record: the courts and backboards in the park near my old Georgetown crib have been resurfaced and repaired twice in the last two years. Am I missing something here?

By Ivan Carter  |  June 20, 2007; 5:44 PM ET
 
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Next: Blatche will draw interest

Comments

Thanks for the latest news, Ivan.

Can't say that I'm surprised to hear the city is all over repairing Georgetown instead of other areas of the city. Maybe Fenty will read the blog and come to the rescue :)

Posted by: Lisa | June 20, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I realize taxes are supposed to pay for these things, but why not get the "community" involved, buy the things you need for the court, and then bill the city? You'll have a series of articles right there - maybe even a series some young gun at the Post can run with.

Posted by: Shotgun | June 20, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, e-mail the mayor. Seriously. Not saying that it'll get fixed right away, but it'll get things moving. He will take care of things like that.

Posted by: TG | June 20, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"In my two years covering the team, I rarely saw her(Susan O'Malley) and then it was only on home game nights."

Thank God she's leaving.

I never liked her and have always thought she has had a lot to do with the failures in what has happend to the Bullets/Wiz since she's joined on. I have a hard time understanding what she ever did to better the organization personally.

Sorry to say it but she always struck me just as a pretty face that got on an old man's good side. Someone who definately had "Mr. Pollins ear" so to speak.

Maybe now we will see some more promotions embracing the past of a once great organization rather then embracing the other teams stars.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | June 20, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Dude, Dave Eggers?

If you like him, probably means you really like the way your own words sound a lot.

Just saying.

Posted by: AA | June 20, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Great blog, Ivan. Thanks for all the inside info.

If you liked Eggers' HWSG, then you MUST check out Eggers' "What is the What", which is a fictionalized account about a young man in The Sudan escaping the horror there. It is every bit as good (if not better) than HWSG.

Peace.

Posted by: Tuna | June 20, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

If you want to get some good runs, stroll down the street to Kennedy Playground at 7th and O. They have a few outdoors courts, and a nice gym. It's pretty much brand spankin' new. Duck when you hear "pop pop" in the air though.

Posted by: DC Man88 | June 20, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Take the kids to the Ritz!

Posted by: The Ritz... | June 21, 2007 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Understatement of the year:

"Marion is a better defender than Antawn"

Posted by: AV | June 21, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

if any of you all have a connection to Ernie and company, please tell them to:

1). Trade Antawn Jamison along with Jarvis Hayes and Brendan Haywood and the 47th pick for Zach Randolph and jared jack

2). Draft Jared Dudley with the 19th overall pick

3) have a starting lineup that consists of the following... 5) Zach Randolph, 4) Jared Dudley 3) Caron Butler 2)Gilbert Arenas and at the 1) jared jack... thats a 60 win team right there dont you think?

Posted by: jpesos | June 21, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

C'mon jpesos...really?

1) Jarvis is a free agent. We'd have to sign him first.

2) Even without Jarvis in the trade, the salaries don't match (check RealGM.com)

3) Randolph at the 5 and a rookie at the 4? Our defense would be even WORSE!

4) And I'm sure Portland would just LOVE Brenda Haywood to spread his cancer on LaMarcus and Oden or Durant.

Let's be real.

Posted by: Portland Trade? Nope. | June 21, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Anyone see draftexpress's latest mock, where Julian Wright drops to the Wizards? I mentioned this a couple weeks ago -- someone projected to go in the lottery is going to drop. I just hope Ernie is ready for that and doesn't have his heart set on a lesser player.
Seriously, can you imagine a front court with Jamison, Wright, Butler, Songalia, Pecherov, Blatche, Haywood and Thomas? Oh my god. Then you can move one or two of those guys for backcourt help.

Posted by: Henry | June 21, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

We were just talking about how bad the court is at 18th and Kalorama, by the Marie Reed center. Its not terrible, just old. We were wondering how much good will the Wizards/Coke/Verizon/Chipotle could do by throwing 20K or so at a few local courts.

A downed rim? thats harsh.

I didn't see the point in the AJ/marion deal either. When people upchuck this stuff, I wish they'd send it through the commonsense-o-meter. Nope, if it works in TradeMachine its gonna happen!

It doesn't surprise me that people who have no idea what O'Malley did within the organization think she's the reason for every bad turn of the franchise. It does surprise me that they'd take the time away from their conspiracy theory websites to post about her though.

Chad Ford keeps putting Smith at the Wizards pick too. We have Blatche, Songalia and Pesh behind AJ. Smith is no Center either. We have no wings under contract and could lose DeShawn to pay Blatche. Hmm... I'm feeling a Ernie trade down (here take some salary too)

I think Sean Williams from BC would be a better fit to compensate for the offensive leanings of those guys.

Posted by: JJ | June 21, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

If the Wizards pick Sean Williams, in a couple years EJ will get misty-eyed thinking about all the good times he had with Brendan. That dude is trouble with a capital T and lazy with a capital L, and I for one am glad Ernie hasn't worked him out.

Posted by: Joe | June 21, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

wamps

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

A bit late with this comment, but the Post's blurb on ex-Bullet Charles Johnson's death about a week ago said he came to us from a trade with Golden State. I think they cut him and we picked him up. I was at the Cap Center when they helicoptered him in, just in time to play in the game. He lasted only one more year in the NBA but he was a tough little guy who was vital to us winning the NBA championship that year. For younger readers, he had a game a lot like NJ's House.

Posted by: Chuck | June 21, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Good day sir,

You can contact Dee Hunter....ANC 1B04 @ 202-321-4529. Hopefully he will be able to help you. Tell em Silas Grant, ANC 5C09 referred you. Take it eazy! Enjoy the blogs.

Posted by: 13th & V B-Ball Court fixed | June 21, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ray:
You must not know what Susan O'Malley has meant for the Wizards/Bullets franchise. She is a marketing genius. #1 she broke the glass ceiling as being the first and only woman president of business operations in the NBA. #2 Marketing other teams stars during the early to mid 90's when the Bullets stunk was a stroke of genius. The 10-game "see the leagues big stars in DC" pack and other marketing ploys kept fans in the seats and thus kept Washington a viable franchise. That's not to say she didn't market the Bullets either, do you not remember the old "That's the reason I'm a Bullets fan" commercials? Do you think the Wizards would be in a brand new 18,000 seat downtown arena without attendance levels to support it? She will be missed by the organization for sure.

Posted by: JD | June 21, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Well....La Sooz WAS responsible for this classic piece of comedy history:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsq0oZQLJhI

Posted by: You Da Man! | June 22, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"The park in question is on the corner of 13th and V Street. Help anyone? For the record: the courts and backboards in the park near my old Georgetown crib have been resurfaced and repaired twice in the last two years. Am I missing something here?"

I'm going to assume that's a rhetorical question, Ivan.

Posted by: kalorama | June 22, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,
The gtown courts get refinished because there is a non-profit "friends" group that meets every month and pushes the city for improvements. Call DPR Maintenance: (202) 997-4758. Everyone probably thinks there's some special allotment for g-town; but it's the squeeky wheel syndrome. Make it easier to fix the problem than to listen to complaints and demands.

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