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Race to the Bottom

Last night's loss to the undermanned Thunder (16-45, .262) leaves the Wizards (14-47, .230) firmly in last place in the Eastern Conference and only marginally better than the Sacramento Kings (13-49, .210) league-wide.

Meanwhile, in the Draft Watch, Blake Griffin and Oklahoma were upset last night by Missouri, 73-64. Griffin had 16 points and 21 rebounds. He plays again Saturday at 3:30 against Oklahoma State.

Hasheem Thabeet's last game was Feb. 28 against Notre Dame, when he scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 72-65 Connecticut win. His next game is Saturday at noon, against Pittsburgh.

Looking to the future seems the only sensible route now ...

By Alexa Steele  |  March 5, 2009; 9:47 AM ET
 
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Next: Who Gets to Stay?

Comments

THABEET in this upcoming draft not GRIFFIN. We need a franchise center. We need players that deliver knock-out punches instead of receiving them.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 5, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

That's the most idiotic thing I've ever read..............

THABEET in this upcoming draft not GRIFFIN. We need a franchise center. We need players that deliver knock-out punches instead of receiving them.

Posted by: restonhoops | March 5, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

A center next year we do not need. A nasty ass power forward is what we need and that will be Tyler Hansboro.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 5, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Seriously...Thabeet has BUST written all over him. If he put up some points, then maybe he'd be a worthy top 5 pick. Frankly Pitt's Blair exposed him for what he is.

Posted by: rgm34 | March 5, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Griffin is a way better pro prospect than Hansboro. Hansboro isn't going to be able to go to the line every time down the court in the NBA.

Posted by: rgm34 | March 5, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

McGee can be a very serviceable center. The Wiz need a true power forward and Griffin fits that mold. The team can then move Antawn and his finesse ways to the 3 spot.

Thabeet is still too raw and has no offensive game. He will get pushed around in his first few years in the league.

Posted by: LonnieBeale | March 5, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Larry, I have no idea what you see in Hansboro that you don't in Griffin. Griffin is Hansboro, except better in every single imaginable way.

As far a Thabeet, he'll be a decent project. Worthy of a top 5 pick, but no sir, not a #1 overall.

Posted by: psps23 | March 5, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Why would on earth the Wiz would draft ThaBeet? I take Haywood and Javale over ThaBeet, anyday! Griffin is the way to go at this point (I am still watching out for Rubio which he will unlikely enter the draft). Draft Griffin, Trade Jamison/thomas/dsteveson/dsong for some three point specialist and PG. But to be honest it's hard to really decide who should go and not go, pending on who will be our coach. Who will fit into the new coach system?

Posted by: demonj21 | March 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Tabscott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 5, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

PSPS23,

Both guys are tough and either would appear to be good picks. Though, I think Hansboro's game will need no adjusting to playing in the NBA right away. He is Alonzo Mourning tough.

However, the reason I keep saying Hansboro over anyone else is because of my gut feeling of how the Wizards will pick.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 5, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hansborough is not even a lottery pick -- may not go in the first round. He is the Mark Madsen at UNC. Anyone who thinks he will be drafted by Wiz in the lottery has zero basketball intelligence.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 5, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the trade value of the pick in combination with a player already on the team can bring in a missing link.

Posted by: G-Man11 | March 5, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'd only want an elite big man in exchange for the pick...someone like Chris Bosh.

Posted by: LonnieBeale | March 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Rubio may declare for the draft but he doesn't have to come over.

Considering that the wiz don't have room to pay a high pick I'd bet that the wiz manuver to draft Rubio and let him play another year abroad.

Rubio is the only candidate in the draft that has shown superstar potential. If they draft him and let him marinate overseas, they have more time to asses his progress and their PG situation. By the end of next season they'll know for sure if Gil is healthy and if Crit is legit. Then we can decide to bring Rubio over or trade his rights.

The Rubio scenario sounds a lot better than praying we get Griffin (maybe he's the next Paul Milsap!!! Hard to get excited about that).

Posted by: cballer | March 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There's no money to sign a high 2009 pick. Trade it, preferably with a toxic contract, to a team live the Clippers for the 2010 pick.

Posted by: lrmc623 | March 5, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Can you say RUBIO???? Please don't sign Thabeet or Hansborough. PLEASE! Hansborough??? I can see the smirk on Gil's face now if the Wiz waste another Number 1 overall on a bust like either of these two. Now Thabeet can block shots but as noted, Blair at Pitt exposed him completely as a long-term NBA project. Hansborough should not even be in the conversation when you haven't had a decent PG since Rod Strickland. Sorry folks, Gilbert Arenas has and never will be a reliable and sound 1. Draft Rubio. Move Gil to 2. Caron, Antwaan and a healthy Brenda will get you into the playoffs in 2010 EASILY in the Leastern.

Posted by: glacier626 | March 5, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

That Rubio scenario could work out. This is a weak draft and I'd hate to see the Wiz trade their pick just to save cash.

Posted by: LonnieBeale | March 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

cballer, love the way you think man. That probably the best thing the Wiz can do for now since they do not have the $$ to pay on high draft pick.

Posted by: demonj21 | March 5, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz will not trade their pick. Still betting a youngster gets moved along with a contract (depending on the pick) in the offseason. If we land the #1, Griffin is the pick, Blatche gets moved with Etan. If it's a top 5 and we select Thabeet, same thing. If it's a top 5 and we select Harden, Young gets moved with James. It's possible a future draft pick gets thrown in as well.

Just wait and see.

Posted by: psps23 | March 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Glacier626,

Donot know what you been watching, but the point issue is solved. JC will run point next year with Gil at the two.

Chad 32, the Wizs do not have top 5 signing money. Unless Mr. Polin decides to to take a hit next year the top pick if we get it probably will be traded along with ETon, or DSon, or MJ to a spot where guess who's still on the board.

Tyler Hansboro. And for those of yawl that think he can't play and ain't NBA ready, we will soon see.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 5, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Just for fun, some good wings that I think are available to trade our expiring contracts and picks for are: V. Carter, M. Redd, J. Richardson, T. McGrady, and G. Wallace.

My preference would be Redd.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | March 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

How about we just wait and see if we win the ping pong ball champioship(draft lottery) and then we will have plenty of time to discuss the pro's and con's of Thabeet,Griffin,Rubio and the like,i watched Atlanta lose to the Knicks last night they have lost five of seven and the owners of the Hawks are fighting in court(its a real mess)there's talk that Woodson's on the hot seat(unbelievable!!!) because the team's not responding, WHAT?? See that's the problem when expectations exceed reallity last year they barely made the playoffs and took the world champs to seven games(first round) and now the fans and the media want more, and basketball(college/pro) is not even on the radar down here its football 24/7/365 college,pro,and high school hell they have the high school playoffs on public television live from the GA.Dome!!!,and they wonder why all the top notch BB recruits leave the state.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 5, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry you have to cover a team that no one cares about.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 5, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If the Wiz get the top pick, it should be Griffin all the way (and I'm not just saying that because he has my last name lol). I'm not sure what "LarryInClintonMD" is thinking about. Tyler Hansboro is not even projected as a lottery pick.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | March 5, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

only way they draft hansborough is if they trade their pick for a player and a pick in the 20s

Posted by: jnicol2 | March 5, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hansborough will be a nice shot of Red Bull off someone's bench, but he won't be a starter and drafting him with a high lottery pick would be waste. And with Arensa back and Crittenton's development preceding at a rapid pace, drafting an 18 year old foreign-born PG wouldn't make much sense, either.

Assuming everyone comes back healthy and in shape (big if) the Wiz will have two glaring needs: A legit sized big with athleticism who can score and rebound in the trenches and a scoring wing player (SG/SF) who can get his own shot (and until he stops settling for fadeaways and starts realizing there are 4 other guys on the court, Young doesn't count).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 5, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Okay, let's keep it real here. Hansboro is going to a marginal player and so is Thabeet. Griffin has star written all over him. He can come in and produce right away. The last thing we need is another project.

PF: Griffin
SF: Jameson
C: McGee
SG: Butler
PG: Arenas

Posted by: tudhuynh | March 5, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

You guys are missing the fact that the Luxury Tax hit does not come until the end of the season. So basically the tax is on the season ending roster. The point in all of this, is that we are going to have 3 sizable expiring contracts coming off our books in 2010. MEANING TEAMS WILL WANT TO DEAL FOR THESE GUYS BEFORE NEXT YEARS TRADE DEADLINE.

Contracts coming off the books for 2010:

Etan Thomas- $7,350,000
Mike James- $6,466,600
Brendan Haywood- $6,000,000
Dominic McGuire- $825,497

Thats $20,642,097 worth of expiring contracts. Now obviously, if Haywood is playing well we can factor his out and count on signing him again in the offseason. Also, Dom won't be traded and he will need a better contract in the offseason.

So basically, say we get the #1 overall pick and take a player (obviously Griffin) EG would have to make some deals basically moving Etan Thomas and Mike James before the trade deadline. Teams will be all over that for cap relief for 2010. And if we dump those guys and take on some crap contracts we should be fine.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | March 5, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards do not get the #1 overall pick, they should look at Jordan Hill. He is a legit 6'11 Power Forward. I think he is the second best player in the draft.

Top 5:
1. Blake Griffin
2. Jordan Hill
3. Jeff Teague
4. James Harden
5. Gerald Henderson

Posted by: dominic10464 | March 5, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

LooseCannon1 - Wouldn't the contracts have to match up for an in-season trade?

One thing I could see Abe do, if it came down to it after the trade deadline...buy out Etan's contract. It would save the team from having to pay the luxury tax, and it's not like Etan figures to be a part of the rotation next season anyway. Etan gets paid, Abe saves money, Wiz keep their pick. Everyone wins.

Posted by: psps23 | March 5, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

LooseCannon1,

Trading Thomas and James would not only not reduce the team's tax burden, it would actually increase it because they'd be trading expiring contracts for ongoing ones, adding to the teams' future salary obligations. The only way they can use those contracts to reduce the tax burden immediately after next season would be to not trade them and let their deals expire.

In any case, none of that will have any bearing on the luxury tax hit the team will take at the end of this season, which is when they'll need the room to sign their draft pick(s).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 5, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse


In any case, none of that will have any bearing on the luxury tax hit the team will take at the end of this season, which is when they'll need the room to sign their draft pick(s).

______

Thats not correct. At this point as our team is constructed, we are not over the luxury tax. Any moves over the summer will go towards next years total salary.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | March 5, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"Thats not correct.

Yes, actually, it is.

"At this point as our team is constructed, we are not over the luxury tax. Any moves over the summer will go towards next years total salary."

That's exactly the point. The team is not currently over the tax, but signing the team's first round pick will put them over the tax for next season. The only way to avoid it would be to reduce the salary burden this summer prior to signing him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 5, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I think I see where our disconnect is:

You're right, in that they won't have to pay any luxury tax on this season. But in order to avoid the tax for next season, they'll have to move salaries over the summer. Moving Thomas and James in trades at next season's deadline won't really help them with that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 5, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

^ Okay well maybe I read your post wrong, but it sure seems like you are making it sound like if we sign our 1st round pick then it counts toward this year. That is why I said you were not correct.

So anyways, yeah, signing our 1st round pick and our roster as currently constructed, we would most definitely by over the luxury tax for NEXT season.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | March 5, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

If you have time, read over this article.

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q67

I have been reading from post #67 and on, which is regarding trades. It is very confusing and complex, but it does appear that using simultaneous and non-simultaneous trade exceptions that teams are able to take on more salary then they trade for, or vice versa. Not sure they exact numbers yet.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | March 5, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I still think LooseCannon1's original point was correct, which is that the luxury tax is calculated retroactively for the season that just ended.

We can sign our pick, go "over the cap" to start the season but if we unload contracts at next seasons trade deadline (IOW, before the end of the season), we will be under the cap at season's end and thus will NOT pay the luxury tax. So we have some flexibility.

Posted by: uptownjive | March 5, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

A possible example: Team A is under the cap but wants to get far enough under to sign TWO big-time free agents. They take back more salary in 2010 expiring contracts to clear more money for the summer spending spree. While the Wiz take back less salary to reduce the cap figure and get back under the tax.

Posted by: uptownjive | March 5, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

larryinclinton: "A nasty ass power forward is what we need and that will be Tyler Hansboro."

He's certainly nasty, I'll give you that. Also brutish and short, sort of like life.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 5, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

gshawnjohnson: "V. Carter, M. Redd, J. Richardson, T. McGrady, and G. Wallace."

Problems with all those guys, aren't there? Redd, McGrady, & Wallace will be coming off injuries. Carter plays the same position Butler does, and Jason Richardson has been traded around the league.

I dunno, I'd rather go with the rookie.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 5, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I confess I like Jordan Hill. He's got a lot of the big-man offensive skills the Wiz need, and he plays defense. But I'm also suspicious of Arizona players. Clearly a prejudice, but I think they're soft. Maybe less so without Olson, but still, the one time I've seen them play this season, they looked like an Olson team.

Soft.

One way to look at the relative strengths of the possible top choices is to identify the 'core skill' their respective games are built around.

Griffin: rebounding. This is the best rebounder I've seen since Dwight Howard (who is the best rebounder I've seen in ten years.)

Thabeet: shot-blocking. He's an amazing shotblocker. Better than McGee, and a lot harder to move out of the low post.

Rubio: passing. He also plays defense like he means it, but basically he's a true PG.

James Harden: all-around. Few skills he doesn't have.

Jordan Hill: scoring -- inside and out.

So I guess I ask myself, which feature does the team need most?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 5, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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