Five Offseason Concerns: No. 2

2. What do the Wizards do if they get the No. 1 pick?


I'm ready to play! I'm ready to play! (Getty Images)

Blake Griffin is a chiseled, nasty competitor who has a pretty good basketball IQ (this dunk not included). He is a ferocious rebounder and a decent scorer who could immediately provide a physical, interior presence for the Wizards if they get lucky next month. But what happens if the Wizards draft Griffin? Do they start him immediately or let him learn behind Jamison? Do they move Antawn Jamison to the role of sixth man?

Or do they start Haywood, Griffin, Jamison, Butler and Arenas? That would put the most talented five on the floor to start the game, but Butler showed this season that he is a solid small forward who lacks the ballhandling or playmaking ability to consistently play at shooting guard.

Jamison won the sixth man of the year award in 2004, but he was not particularly happy in that role. Even though he will be 33 next season, he likely wouldn't want to play that role on the Wizards, when he is the team captain and is coming off a season in which he averaged 22 points and nine rebounds. If Griffin is ready to contribute now, as scouts around the league contend, would it be a waste to have him playing spot minutes? Or would it be best to have Griffin learn the right way to play, the way Miami held back No. 2 pick Michael Beasley this season?

By Michael Lee |  April 20, 2009; 12:35 PM ET
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Trade the pick, Etan, and Mike james for Amare. Griffin may be decent but can't shoot beyond 10 feet. Phoenix was in trade talks with Amare & Memphis....we can use a solid 4.

Posted by: Gooddad | April 20, 2009 12:57 PM

Mike f'n Brown Coach of the Year! He lost to the worst team in the Eastern Conference twice,should of been 3 times! Griffin is the solution!He comes in NBA ready unlike Kwame Brown,who has developed into a good back up center with the Pistons 8 years late.

Posted by: jeremydvid | April 20, 2009 1:09 PM

Cart ..... Horse. We won't get the #1 anyway, curse of les boulettes

Posted by: lameotron | April 20, 2009 1:13 PM

I thought Antawn was the ultimate team player and always puts winning first. Are you saying he wouldn't be happy as the 6th man even if it is in the best interests of the team?

Posted by: read2 | April 20, 2009 1:24 PM

Please, lameotron, take a French lesson.

Mike, this is why Flip is a good hire. He can figure it out. You have to draft Griffin if you land the pick. There would be 96 forward minutes to split between Jamison, Butler and Griffin. Caron could possibly steal 5-10 MPG at guard. With the amount of pounding our big 3 have taken in recent years, scaling back their minutes a bit would be a blessing.

If Griffin proves to be an unstoppable force that needs 38 MPG+ at the 4, we can trade Jamison for help elsewhere. But let's see that happen first.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | April 20, 2009 1:25 PM

Griffin would likely come of the bench but play a lot of minutes with both Jamsion and Butler playing reduced ones next year. This would also be a nice problem to have as Jamison is 33 and likely won't put up the same numbers next year and beyond with the return of Arenas and Haywood. There also is the chance Jamision would be moved to the 3.

I also don't buy into Caron not being able to play the 2 with a good PG who can create his shots; none of the PG's who played this year could. Butler would have the ball in his hands less and not be expected to create for the other plays as much if Arenas was playing the point. His ability to hit the open 3 would need to improve but I think he showed signs of it the last two seasons.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 20, 2009 1:25 PM

I would bring Jamison off the bench. Ginobili and Terry are vital to their teams, and each of them come off the bench. Jamison would still get upwards of 30 mpg. Part of this depends on how good Stevenson is when he comes back, and how much progress Young makes on playing defense and passing the ball on occasion.

Either way, this is a true hypothetical. The Wizards have an 82.2% chance of not getting Griffin, in which case the team is stuck reaching at #2 in this pitiful draft.

Posted by: Dellis2 | April 20, 2009 1:30 PM

Jamison should already be a sixth man, he can flat out score and is a very savvy rebounder, but provides zero physical presence from the 4, coupled with a lot of ole d. If we get griffin hopefully the organization quits being so enamored with aj. No surprise that this would piss him off seeing as how he wasn't happy being the best bench player in the league because he wanted to start and be able to score 20. He'd be valuable to a championship caliber team off of the bench but not starting.

Posted by: bford1kb | April 20, 2009 2:17 PM

if they get the number one pick they would be nuts not to draft blake griffin. hes relatively going to be cheaper than any other veteran in the nba that can contribute like him so you draft him. as i mentioned before jamison will have to sacrifice for the team and be a 6th man off the bench. especially if griffin is absolutley ready to start. there would be a solid line up with

5 Haywood
4 Griffin
3 Mcguire
2 Butler
1 Arenas

6th man- Jamison
7th- Nick Young
8th- Crittenton
9th-Songalia

could improve to a high 40 low 50 win team, at least a 2nd round appearance in the playoffs

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | April 20, 2009 2:40 PM

Even if we get Griffin, the team needs at least two more veterans in order to have a good depth. Everyone next season must sacrifice for the team, Jamison should accept the 6th man role if he wants to win.

Posted by: MOrgil | April 20, 2009 3:18 PM

If they get the #1 pick, drafting Griffin is a no-brainer. What comes after that will work itself out over training camp and the early season, as Flip gets a feel for the roster.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 20, 2009 3:31 PM

Yes please. Griffin at PF, Jamison to the bench. I love Jamison for what he brings: scoring, professionalism, consistency. I also hate what he doesn't bring: defense and toughness. Don't let Jamison's numbers fool you. The double digit rebounds are nice, but none of them is when we need one. When that ball comes off the board, we need someone to snatch it down. Griffin, Haywood & Butler on the frontline, and Jamison off the bench would be ideal. If not next year, then definitely the year after.

Posted by: mdaggie98 | April 20, 2009 3:52 PM

Flip would be able to balance out the problem of too many forwards.

First of all if he ran Butler at the two some, he'd run some plays to get him the ball where he could overpower the opposing guard. Butler never got that this year when playing the two. He was left on the perimeter trying to beat a guard off the dribble or out run him on a backdoor cut. At the three he can loose a lot of guys at the two it's not his strength.

I dread typing the words, but the Wiz could also go small sometimes with Griffin playing short stints at center. Again as a different look, when Suanders wanted to change things up a bit. But God! Please! not every 4th quarter.

When Suanders was coaching Garnett he sometimes slid him from center, PF, SF, and the two in order to create matchup problems for the other team. Suanders will play much more of typical NBA ball where he seeks a mismatch and then rides it.

Picking Griffin would probably trigger a trade. Blatche's only real playing time would be at center. It could work, but i'd wager either Blatche or Songaila would be shipped out if a trade partner could be found.

I'd also have to wonder if a deal involving Redd and Butler would be a possible. I'm not sure I like the swap, but I could see where there could be a fit.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | April 20, 2009 3:57 PM

If we get Griffin, AJ immediately becomes a candidate for 6th man of the year. Sure he won't like it, but the dude is way too classy to throw a hissy fit.

Besides, it just makes sense to have a guy that can flat out score coming off the bench. If you don't, God help us if our second unit is led by an inconsistent AB.

Posted by: tundey | April 20, 2009 4:38 PM

I didn't follow jamison back in his sixth man days. What was his complaint with being a sixth man?

He obviously doesn't have to play for a contract anymore, so I would imagine stats would be less important. if anything, I would guess it's just a passion to stay out on the floor and be involved.

Michael, if it becomes possible to ask jamison what his thoughts are on sixth man, we'd love to know.

Posted by: crs-one | April 20, 2009 4:56 PM

If MeTawn had trouble guarding 4's in this league, imagine him trying to guard 3's.

He'll blow out both knees like how he almost blew out his knee when trying to guard a slow 7-0 Dirk Nowitzki.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 20, 2009 7:42 PM

Blake Griffin is the number one pick if we get it.

Juan Dixon is not resigned and Darius Songaila, Eton Thomas, and Mike James go to the inactive 13, 14, and 15 slots.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 20, 2009 8:35 PM

Your basketball IQ is severley challenged for even suggesting the following:

"Trade the pick, Etan, and Mike james for Amare. Griffin may be decent but can't shoot beyond 10 feet. Phoenix was in trade talks with Amare & Memphis....we can use a solid 4."

If the Bullets get the number 1 pick Griffin should be the choice period. Jamison the ultimate team player making 10 million a year should graciously become the 6th man.
Posted by: Gooddad | April 20, 2009 12:57 PM

Posted by: TheBeatDontStop | April 21, 2009 8:24 AM

i think should trade haywood. he's ok. very good rebounder and shot blocker but they some one who is more talented offensively at center.

Posted by: glenarden5 | April 21, 2009 8:54 AM

flohrtv wrote:

I'd also have to wonder if a deal involving Redd and Butler would be a possible. I'm not sure I like the swap, but I could see where there could be a fit.
GM

That would be an instersting trade as we would get a true SG and be able to move AJ to SF. Butler has demonstrated that he is not a capable SG so this would solve our dillema. Another solution would be to just trade AJ for a capable SG. And I almost forgot, Stevenson needs to be exhiled to Siberia.

Posted by: Fontana1 | April 21, 2009 11:17 AM

I would suggest by all means that they do whatever they can to get Blake Griffin. Even if it means trading other players or future draft picks. I think this guy is a stud for years to come.

Even with a healthy Arenas and Haywood, the Wizards still lack a low post presence. Even their BIGS (Blatche, Songaila, Jamison) fall in love with their jump shots too much.

As far as Jamison, he should be coming off the bench and would benefit the younger players in that role by showing them how professional all NBA players should be whether you're coming off the bench or starting.

Posted by: opdnite | April 21, 2009 12:35 PM

Trading Haywood, our only defensively sound Big, for a offensive one...??? Why??? Don't we have enough offense on this damn team...??? If anything we should at another defensive Big on this team...

Posted by: CaribbeaSkillz | April 22, 2009 7:43 AM

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