Five Offseason Concerns: No. 4
4. Do the Wizards keep the youngsters?
An unforeseen injury problem opened the door for Dominic McGuire, Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Javaris Crittenton and Oleksiy Pecherov to earn minutes with the Washington Wizards this season. Of the sextet, McGuire was the only player to provide consistent, reliable production for interim Coach Ed Tapscott, which resulting in him finishing the season as a starter.
Blatche was a starter for most of the season, but saw his minutes reduced after he suffered a knee injury in late January. He still battled with consistency, which proved to be frustrating given the broad range of production -- from double-doubles to disappearing. Blatche, the most experienced and second-youngest player on the roster, feels that he was unnecessarily blamed for a lot of the problems, considering that this was the first season he received consistent minutes.
Crittenton survived the backcourt attrition and finished as a starter, but his questionable decision-making and inaccurate jump shot give him a lot to improve upon if he wishes to be a regular rotation player next season. Young started showing signs that he can be more than a scorer, but he needs to become more of a student of the game to be a consistent contributor. McGee showed oodles of potential, and regularly drew raves with his athleticism, but he still lacks a non-dunking, go-to-move on offense and appears lost on defense. Pecherov was the most disappointing, because he was nothing more than a 7-foot, three-point shooter. That he couldn't make the rotation on nights when the team had just eight, nine players is a sign that he has a loooong way to go.
In the defense of the youngsters, they were all asked to assume roles that may have been bigger than their talents, and since they were often on the floor together, the mistakes were magnified. Surrounded by better talent, they might learn more and improve. But Grunfeld will have to decide if this was a good enough sample size to decide whether to hold onto Blatche, Young or Pecherov beyond this season. Saunders typically has a tight rotation of nine or 10 players, so the Wizards might need to include one of the young players in a trade in order to updgrade in other areas.
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