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Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 4th?

So we've discussed what the Wizards' options are if they land in one of the top three spots. But if May 19 ends up being some other franchise's lucky day, it could very well bump Les Boules below the slot they deserve after finishing tied for the second-worst record. Not only would that be unlucky in general, but in a draft class like this one, there are varying degrees of excitement about Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and Hasheem Thabeet. If those three guys are gone, then what?

This is where we bring Bullets Forever in, to handle the heavy lifting. You guys know the drill by now; Michael Lee will take a crack at it too.

The Nos. 4 and 5 picks might be the most interesting places for the Wizards to land, because then conventional thinking really goes out the window, and Ernie Grunfeld might surprise us. I'm not suggesting any of you wish the Wizards would land this low. But if they do, at least there should be some suspense.

-- Keith McMillan


Bullets Forever's take: It is never easy to ascertain an NBA franchise's true roster-building intentions coming off a year where its highest-paid player missed all but two games, its second- or third-best player (depending on who you ask) missed 14, its shooting guard to begin the season missed 50 and its head coach was fired after 11 games.


Hey, Ernie. What about the guy on my right? (AP Photo)

Nevertheless, two things have become very clear. One is that Wizards management is completely committed to the Gilbert Arenas/Caron Butler/Antawn Jamison trio; otherwise, Jamison would have been traded to Cleveland and Arenas would have not been re-signed. The other is that the Big Three need another borderline all-star type of player to get this team to be a championship contender.

Reasonable minds can disagree about the hypothetical end results of the last four seasons had the Wizards been fully healthy, but nobody can reasonably argue that the Wizards were ever a true contender for the championship. To get to that point, the Big Three needs to become a Big Four.

How do these two conclusions have to do with the fourth pick? The case has been made that this draft has only two can't-miss all-star-quality players in it: Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio. The Wizards' dilemma is easily solved if they get the first or second pick -- all they need to do is draft Griffin or Rubio. After that, however, the talent in this draft really thins out.

Ernie Grunfeld and the players are fully aware of this dilemma, which is why there is so much talk about moving the draft pick. There is very little certainty that the fourth pick in this draft for this organization is going to yield a fourth building block. However, when you combine that pick with all the other assets this organization possesses -- two large expiring contracts, several promising young players and an owner seemingly willing to shell out luxury tax payments to help the team win -- the fourth building block can still be acquired. It will just require a little more effort and creativity to do so.

If the Wizards pick fourth, they should: Trade down in the draft, using the pick along with other assets to leverage a fourth building block player while still getting a rookie that can help later in the draft.

If the Wizards pick fourth, they will: Trade out of the draft, picking up a "veteran" who can "make an impact right away." I make this distinction only because I am reasonably confident that the key members of the organization equate age with ability and do not want to feel like they have to develop another young player unless he has "earned it," whatever that means. So while the prudent thing would be to try to get a role player on a cheap contract, I doubt that's high on the Wizards' list of priorities.

The Wizards' Possible Reasoning: This draft is widely felt to be a crapshoot after the first two picks, with very little difference in talent between the prospects considered for the third pick and those who will fall to the middle of the first round. The players being speculated as potential lottery picks --Tyreke Evans, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Jordan Hill, Demar DeRozan and Brandon Jennings, to name a few -- all could become building blocks, but each has a ways to go in order to reach his full potential. To get there, they need time, resources and support. The Wizards don't have time with the Big Three's ages (not to mention Abe Pollin's illness), they don't have extensive player development resources like, say, the Lakers do, and they don't always provide the best support and methodology for getting the most out of recent draft picks, as indicated by the lack of development from the current crop of youngsters. (Not saying that last point is exclusively the organization's fault, but it's not all on the players either).

Because of the slim difference in the quality of the prospects after Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio, teams will likely have very different draft boards, depending on their needs. The Wizards need to exploit this and offer their pick in order to provide these teams the certainty of getting their guy. Then, they need to combine that with their other assets in order to get a real difference-maker.
This will not be easy, of course. As Michael Lee pointed out, there is danger in trading away a top selection for a veteran player, ignoring the future of the franchise for the present. The returning player needs to be the right fit for the roster, and he should not be past his prime.

There's also the importance of staying in the draft with a lower pick. One of the problems with the Wizards' recent draft strategy is that they have continually emphasized potential over production, straining their player development shortcomings. The strongest organizations have succeeded in drafting polished rookies who can play smaller roles right away, as evidenced by the success of guys like Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis, Courtney Lee, Aaron Brooks and J.J. Barea, among others. There are several players in this draft with little superstar potential, but that are more ready to contribute right away. Guys like Stephen Curry, Gerald Henderson, Wayne Ellington, DeJuan Blair and Nick Cathales, to name a few, can be solid reserve players right away, all for less money than Andray Blatche currently makes. It's better to have a youngster get paid 1.5 million dollars to be the eighth man than signing a veteran to do the same for 6 million dollars.

What specific trades would work? Obviously, I'd talk to the Toronto Raptors and see if they would be willing to trade Chris Bosh. I'd talk to Milwaukee about Michael Redd, Charlotte about Gerald Wallace, Detroit about Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, Phoenix about Jason Richardson, Atlanta about Joe Johnson, and others. One hypothetical trade I particularly like is swapping the fourth pick, Mike James' expiring contract and Nick Young for Hamilton/Prince and the 15th pick. Detroit could then draft Harden to replace Rip, for example, and the Wizards could upgrade their wing by adding an ace catch-and-shoot player like Hamilton or a premier perimeter defender like Prince. Then, with the 15th pick, the Wizards could draft Blair, Henderson or someone else that could fill a role. The Wizards could offer a similar package for Wallace or Richardson or step up their offer for Johnson or Bosh (Young, Andray Blatche, Etan Thomas and the fourth pick for Johnson and the 19th pick, for example).

History shows that trades for impact veterans tend to be for packages centered around expiring contracts, draft picks and prospects. The Wizards have all three of those assets. The task is obviously difficult, but that's what Ernie Grunfeld needs to do if the fourth pick is acquired. And it would be nice if he stayed in the draft to boot.

Michael Lee's take: Despite his terrible performance in the NCAA Tournament, Arizona State shooting guard James Harden is still rated as the fourth-best prospect in the June draft. He isn't particularly athletic, but he is the best shooting guard available; a natural scorer whose left-handed stroke reminds me of Michael Redd when he was at Ohio State (Ernie Grunfeld drafted Redd, by the way, albeit in the second round).


You really want to trade me? (Photo by John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

That being said, this is the pick where the Wizards have to start getting a little creative and seriously explore making a trade. The Wizards are in a win-now mode but I'm against trading such a high choice to get one player who could leave after one season. The Wizards have to make sure that they get someone who will be here at least through 2011, multiple players or a player and a pick.

I like the idea of talking to the Detroit Pistons about Tayshaun Prince, who is owed about $21 million over the next two seasons and makes identical money to Caron Butler. He is also the type of the player that the Wizards will realistically get this summer -- a borderline all-star caliber player who fits a specific role. Prince is a defensive stopper (at least he was before this season) who can guard multiple positions, play a little point forward and also score in spurts.

I thought about bringing in someone like Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson, but those guys are owed $51 million over three seasons (with $33 million guaranteed), and $29 million over the next two seasons, respectively. That's a lot of money to commit when the Wizards will have to extend Brendan Haywood and Butler in each of the next two seasons. Money aside -- since the Wizards could easily move a contract down the road to make room -- I see Jefferson as a better fit, given his age (29), his friendship with former Arizona teammate Gilbert Arenas and his ability to play defense.

Gerald Wallace would be a great pickup -- especially since he always has big games against the Wizards -- but he makes $42 million over the next four years and I don't know how Arenas would feel about playing with the guy who landed on his left knee on April 4, 2007 and contributed to him losing two years of his prime.

Some other options would be swapping lottery picks with Indiana to get a point guard like Jarrett Jack; or swapping lottery picks with Golden State and throwing in Etan Thomas's expiring contract for Jamal Crawford. The Wizards could then use the lower pick to select someone like Wake Forest power forward James Johnson, Louisville forward Earl Clark or possibly Pittsburgh forward DeJuan Blair. A move like this could help the Wizards address two issues -- getting another ball handler who can score and frontcourt help.

Coming Friday: WizzNutzz's take on the No. 5 pick.

By Keith McMillan  |  May 14, 2009; 11:58 AM ET
 | Tags: draft, draft lottery, draft pick, roundtable  
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Next: Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 5th?

Comments

Jarrett Jack ... eyebrows are raised.

But did Indy fall in love with him 'cause of his play towards the end of the season?

Posted by: truthaboutit | May 14, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I like the addition of Bosh and I also like the addition of a tayshaun/rip combination, but not really at the expense of nick young. I would give him at least one more season to see what he can do.

The idea i like the most though is acquiring David Lee, and nate robinson. And that is totally if we would draft them like a brandon jennings along with blatche, thomas, and cash considerations. David Lee's contract is cheap, but a solid point guard like jennings along with an expiring contract and a prospect(blatche) would be fitting..

I think utah wants to unload on Boozer, but Maybe the Bosh scenario wouldnt be that bad


5- Haywood
4- Bosh
3- Butler
2- Mcguire
1- Arenas

6th- jamison
7th- young
8- Songalia
9- Crittenton

and we keep the line up tight like that...2 seven footers in the line up would be awesome.


im not sure tho how the rip/prince trade would factor out..

1-Arenas
2-Hamilton
3- Butler
4- Prince
5- Haywood.......well maybe that would work tho

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 14, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

you're nuts. The 3 "all-stars" that we have play little to no defense and collectively, miss a lot of games....they will never compete in the upper tier of this league. If we get a fourth pick, we could use the baddest, nastiest thug out there to rebound both ends of the floor and take out some folks...we always had one when Dick Motta was here....

Posted by: outrbnksm | May 14, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

As a native Detroiter and longtime Pistons fan, I find the fascination around here with Detroit's players somewhat amusing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

In all types of trade scenarios Nick Young is often mentioned as a possible candidate. I'm telling you, the Wizards will regret it if they trade Young. He is a talent that is rare. Besides Arenas, he is the only other player on the roster who can take his man off the dribble without screens/plays and score. Discount the stupid Tapscott experiment to judge the young guys. Young, Blatche and McGee will be invaluable assets next year when their roles will be clearly defined by Saunders and we have our full compliment of players.

Posted by: garrybrown | May 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Playing Prince at the 4 is a terrible idea, as the Pistons found out early last season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

well we can live without detroit(s) players successfully.

we will Gladly take bosh or boozer at the 4

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 14, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think a team that's out there as a potential trade partner if we keep our pick is Chicago. The have their lineup of set at PG, SF, and C with Rose, Deng and Noah. Based on the playoffs, it looks as though they have given up on the Tyrus Thomas experiment. I'm also sure they wouldn't mind unloading the Hinrich contract. Send them Blatche and the two expirings for Hinrich and Thomas. That will give them more cap room to pursue Bosh or 2010 free agent.

Posted by: gorebd82 | May 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Despite his terrible performance in the NCAA Tournament, Arizona State shooting guard James Harden"

Yes, he was awful. Still, even if his jump shot caught the early bus home (1-8 against Temple, 2-10 against Syracuse), he managed to lead the team in rebounds and assists. The Cats just weren't prepared for Syracuse's 2-3 zone.I'd be comfortable taking Harden but have no illusions about him as a star. I'd love it if he turned out to be Mitch Richmond, but somehow that's not taking shape in my mind.

Jordan Hill I like because of his rebounding. He's a lot springier than Blatche, and probably quicker, but who knows how long it will take a Pac 10 guy to get used to NBA elbows?

Tyreke Evans is just plain unknown. Even more so than DeRozan. I think Ty will end up at PG some of the time in the NBA.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 14, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's go Penguins !

Breaking great - fantastic news - Maryland basketball lost out on a possible great recruit - Deshawn Painter announced he is going to NC State.

Maryland football will finish with a 2-10 record in 2009.

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record in 2009-10 -- No NCAA bid - No NIT bid.

Gary Williams is probably on the golf course.

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels

Posted by: hclark1 | May 14, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Based on the playoffs, it looks as though they have given up on the Tyrus Thomas experiment."

You must have seen a different playoffs than i did. in the one I watched, Thomas started every game and played fairly well, averaging 10 pts and 3 blocks and hitting a number of big shots.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

besides, Thomas doesn't provide any of what the Wiz really need at the 4: interior scoring or tough, physical rebounding.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

hclark..jump in front of a bus..

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | May 14, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

While trading the pick sounds like a good idea, I think it really hinges on who is available. I'm not sure the Wizards can get an above average player still in his prime for just the pick and contracts.

I still don't understand the Rip/Prince kick people are on. Considering how much we move arenas over to SG in games, having another guard who can't ball-handle at all doesn't help. And while Prince is a great defensive player, do we start him and bench Butler? or play Butler at the 2 again? Meaning we really only have one capable ball-handler on the starting 5?

Obviously, I agree with trying to get Bosh, as I've expressed before. But I think we'd have to give up one of our starting forwards to get him (which is fine by me). I would absolutely love to have Joe Johnson, but why in the world would Atlanta give him up after finally reaching the playoffs with him as their leader? You have to at least give up our pick, Butler, and an expiring contact to even have a hope. Though I would still take that trade in a heartbeat. Arenas, Johnson, McGuire, Jamison, Haywood would make a very formidable starting five. I just don't see Atlanta wanting to part with him.

Wallace is a great athlete and good player, but where does he fit in? We have 2 borderline All-Star players at the 3 and 4 spots. He can't play 2. And while younger, I don't think he brings much more to the table than Butler or Jamison. We wouldn't be gaining much.

Posted by: segastyle | May 14, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

sega, I'm with you up until the part about Gerald Wallace. While I don't think there's a chance in hell the Bobcats would trade him, if they did the Wiz should jump on it. He brings what the Wiz are currently lacking in their wing players, namely an aggressive, attacking style on both offense and defense. Is he a perfect fit? No (he can play some SG but, like Butler, he's not a guy who should be dedicated to the position) but he would definitely add a much needed dimension. But, like I said, it ain't gonna happen, so it's really moot.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forget the one real caveat about Wallace: injuries. He plays such an aggressive, physical style that he tends to spend a lot of time nursing injuries. He's only played 70 or more games three times in 8 years. That alone might be reason enough to stay away from him, given the Wiz's poor history of injury karma.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I think one thing not mentioned in these articles is cost. Its easy to say "take Harden at 5" without associating the cost involved. Prada gets near this point without saying it exactly.

Why guarantee the 5th pick 12M over 4 years (8.7 over 3, 4th is an option year that's almost always picked up) if he is only marginally better as a player available at 13 (7.4 over 4 years)? Picking a guy at 5 just because that's where you are is terrible business. Don't pay retail for a knock-off. Get the right guy at the right price (since its been established that this is not a great draft).

Did I mention that picking a guy at 5 just because is a terrible idea?

Posted by: heiser3@yahoo.com | May 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Let's go Penguins !
Breaking great - fantastic news - Maryland basketball lost out on a possible great recruit - Deshawn Painter announced he is going to NC State.
Maryland football will finish with a 2-10 record in 2009.
Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record in 2009-10 -- No NCAA bid - No NIT bid.
Gary Williams is probably on the golf course.
Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels"
Pathetic much there buddy? I hope you enjoyed posting on a wizards forum about every local sport that doesn't involve the magical team we for some reason watch

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

adding either wallace or tayshaun would be sweet but let's not forget picking 4th or 5th ain't too bad, how would devin harris look in a wiz uni right now?

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

despite being the man that fell into gil's knee, wallace remains one of my favorite players around the league and I'm a hater

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I like the Jamal Crawford idea. He can play a little point; he can score; he ain't 'The Worm' on D... but he ain't letting cats stroll to the bucket either.

Remember, G.State wants him gone. I think Nelly would jump at the idea of Mike James (would fill their need at the point for a year.... a low budget B.D.) or Thomas (vet to school some of their young bigs) for a year; and swapping picks help us get a rebounder for the bench.

Only problem is Crawford makes like 9-10 mil.per. (they would have to take another guy from us) and we would be in the "TAX-ZONE" (DODODODO--DODODODO) for the next 2 years,plus (remember, still got to bring back Haywood and Butler within the next 2 years... plus future 1st round pick...) I don't know if increasing he payroll for that long is a good idea!?!???

Posted by: fishin41 | May 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Trading Etan for Jamal Crawford and trading picks? Golden State should be giving up their pick for that deal.

I don't think you can pass on Harden. Stevenson's an unknown for next year, Butler is awful as a 2, and the possible vets out there are injury prone and/or grossly overpaid.

Jordan Hill doesn't look to be much more than an energy guy. Not that he wouldn't be an improvement over Blatche. Who has the better NBA body Blatche or Brian Scalabrine?

Posted by: djnnnou | May 14, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Crawford is a terrible idea. He used to be a solid all-around player but over the last several years he's basically settled into being a lazy three-point chucker. He's one of those guys that's played on bad teams so long (basically his entire career) that he appears to have internalized all those losing habits.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah, and he's a terrible defender and ridiculously overpaid.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It is very surprising to me that the roundtable did not include any Tarheel player that can help a NBA Team right away.

Does this roundtable really understand the value of playing three - four years of Carolina ball and the implications of the value in that?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Smart analysis by bulletsforever.

I agree, though, with Michael Lee that if Harden is available at 4, you take him and keep him. I think on draftexpress they say that he is the kind of smart, complementary young player that can really fit in well with older players, and that's obviously the situation here.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 14, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Young, Blatche and McGee will be invaluable assets next year when their roles will be clearly defined by Saunders and we have our full compliment of players.
Posted by: garrybrown"

I think we all hope you're correct. The odds against are formidable -- three (count'em) THREE young players all hitting their stride as pros during the same season? I'm trying to think of an example.

Last season we got one -- McGuire -- and flashes from the others. The fact that he was the least touted is interesting. He's not the guy that will turn your team around, but is a nice complementary player.

If one of the three you mentioned made as much progress next season as McGuire did in 08, I'd be content.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 14, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

In a draft where everyone seems to want to trade out, why does anyone think that the Wiz will get value for the pick if the drop past the second pick?

The holders of picks 3-5 are going to get lowballed. Grin in bear it fellas, you're not going to get offered Allstars for Thabeet, Harden, or Hill. Unless somebody rockets up the boards and comes out of no where like, say a, Kwame Brown, There just aren't going to be teams clamoring to unload Allstars for that level of talent.

James and Thomas's contracts are becoming assets as they get nearer the summer of 2010. But my quess would be that unless Grunfeld has Rubio to dangle along with them, his best time to strike with those expiring deals is at the deadline.

If the Wiz are at 3-5 they're more likely to keep the pick, not because they want to, but because nobody else wants in those slots either.

You could actually contend that the 6-10 pick could be worth as much or more in a trade. Since these picks are slotted, and the Luxury Tax is a factor to so many teams, the cost difference between the 3rd pick and the 10th pick gets magnified.

If Thabeet is there anywhere between 3-5 the Wiz almost have to take him. This is still a league where teams going deep in the playoffs need depth up front.

The Wiz just played an entire season with Songaila and Blatche manning the post along with a young project in McGee. Just getting Brendan Haywood healthy is suddenly going to create a deep rotation at center?

Cleveland can hit a team with Big Z, former defensive player of the year Ben Wallace, Vareajo, and former first pick in the draft Joe Smith. All but Z can play stretches at power forward, but all physically out match the Wiz's depth at center.

A team can not advance deep in the playoffs without looking at who they have to get past. The Wiz don't have the manpower inside. The Cavaliers and Celtics manhandle them upfront more often then not. McGee matches up better as a high energy guy at the 4 then trying to fight in the blocks against Perkins or Z.

But all of the resident experts on this site keep calling for more wings on a team that's full of them. Thabeet's impact is twofold, he provides depth at center, and allows Blatche and Songaila to play effective minutes at the 4 instead of ineffective minutes at the 5.

I'd trust the development of Young and McGuire, Blatche is a guy that I'm still not sure is tough enough to excell in the playoffs. So losing him in a deal wouldn't keep me up at night. But the return of Gil changes everything at the guard spots. That's not going to really be a position of need.

3-5, I'd take Thabeet, Hill, and it might a reach, if the Wiz were at 5, and the other top 4 players are off the board, I'd consider taking Blair over Harden.

Harden isn't going to get Wiz past Cleveland, Blair could play a role in the kind of game the Wiz would have to play to beat the Cavaliers.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 14, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Keith McMillan,

Did you ever gavel this roundtable to order. Do they have any parameters on what they have to say.

You obviously know that brevity to the point analysis is always good.

And secondly, have they been following this blog. It seems they just regurgitated whats been blogged on this site the last couple of months, but with added facts.

I'm really surprised at Mike's comment.

And Bullets Forever, I sincerely hope that, when everyone finds out that Ricky Rubio cannot hunt in the NBA, he is not the property of the Wizards.

You guys can do better than that, bit clearly Keith, your post is clearly better than the others.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with getting Bosh. The biggest weakness this team has is inside. Haywood is not a threat. He's a nice player off the bench, but this team needs a true inside player. I would trade Jamison & the pick for Bosh all day. The last thing this team needs is another guard.

Posted by: Toochilled | May 14, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Keith McMillan,

Did you ever gavel this roundtable to order. Do they have any parameters on what they have to say.

You obviously know that brevity to the point analysis is always good.

And secondly, have they been following this blog. It seems they just regurgitated whats been blogged on this site the last couple of months, but with added facts.

I'm really surprised at Mike's comment.

And Bullets Forever, I sincerely hope that, when everyone finds out that Ricky Rubio cannot hunt in the NBA, he is not the property of the Wizards.

You guys can do better than that, bit clearly Keith, your post is clearly better than the others.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 3:47 PM

Larry, I'm confused by your comment. What didn't you like about the analysis? What does Ricky Rubio have to do with anything? Why must you call the site out like that instead of just not reading?

And of course we read Wizards Insider. What independent blogger worth their salt wouldn't?

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Something about this Wizards Team tends to tell me most of the trade comments seem to miss the point about the value of this Team.

Sometimes to make a marginal Team extremely better is to improve the weaknesses. Most bloggers here want to improve the Team by trading our strengths for someone else's strengths.

I think that is flawed and will not help this Team. For, if you do that you have not improved our obvious or shall I say our weakest weakness.

I feel that if we improve our depth, by adding a veteran player along with drafting players that sets this Team up for the long haul is where we need to go.

That being said, we should be trying every way possible to replace, Pech, Etan, MJ, DSon, and maybe DStev, with the best players/upgrades as possible.

Trading any of our core Vets or young players to me is like treading water.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Rocko (NY): Is the Tyrus Thomas experiment over in Chicago?

David Thorpe: Probably. There are clearly trust issues between him and VDN.

My comment about Tyrus falling out of favor in Chicago was based on a David Thorpe chat on 5/6. Thorpe trains Tyrus and has a close relationship with him. He talks about him in every chat.

Posted by: gorebd82 | May 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

i don't understand all this media speculation and fascination with ricky rubio. i vote to keep the pick and draft either wayne ellington, a drop dead shooter with a 4-year track record in a top college program... or stephen curry (who has a pedigree, but may not have an nba body. otherwise, i'd look at earl clark or terence williams to eventually replace jamison (andray blatche is NOT that guy). getting hinrich and tyrus thomas could be a boon, but i wouldn't trade the pick for them: one or both may soon be available as free agents. the bottom line is we ain't gonna get the 1st pick unless david stern chooses to give abe one last gift... (it's a business yawl!)

rip and prince? good specialty players, but rip can't play defense and tayshaun is a spotty (not even streaky) shooter. and can't check bigs. besides does anyone think we need TWO more skinny guys with limited athletic ability who are approaching 30 yrs of age?

Posted by: dcjazzman | May 14, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

hclark1

Are you from PA or NC? You sound like the type of fan that just goes with who is winning. I mean a steelers fan the year they win the SB and a carolina fan the same year they win the NCAA? I bet you are a patriots and celtics fan as well just in case. Go Skins, Go Wizards and Lakers, Go caps, Go Nats. I did not see anything in your post about the Panthers or the Pirates. What gives?

Posted by: ged0386 | May 14, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read any of the local blogs, but after this week, I'm definitely going to give "Bullets Forever" a shot for their rational analysis, while adding "Wizards Extreme" to my banned sites for their contributions to idiotic NBA coverage everywhere.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 14, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Something about this Wizards Team tends to tell me most of the trade comments seem to miss the point about the value of this Team.

Sometimes to make a marginal Team extremely better is to improve the weaknesses. Most bloggers here want to improve the Team by trading our strengths for someone else's strengths.

I think that is flawed and will not help this Team. For, if you do that you have not improved our obvious or shall I say our weakest weakness.

I feel that if we improve our depth, by adding a veteran player along with drafting players that sets this Team up for the long haul is where we need to go.

That being said, we should be trying every way possible to replace, Pech, Etan, MJ, DSon, and maybe DStev, with the best players/upgrades as possible.

Trading any of our core Vets or young players to me is like treading water.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 4:08 PM

I agree with the general point. I disagree that it has to include every single one of our young players. This organization has yet to show that it can develop all of them. They failed even during a year where they were 19-63. Why will that change now that they expect to contend? You don't get a borderline all-star player for Mike James, Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov. You get closer if you include Blatche or Young.

I don't think I made clear enough in this write-up that part of the problem here is the Wizards' player development problems. Only McGuire developed this year. Now, you want to add another rookie that needs to be nurtured? I wish this problem didn't exist -- for the best organizations, like San Antonio, Detroit and Utah, it doesn't -- but it does, unfortunately.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read any of the local blogs, but after this week, I'm definitely going to give "Bullets Forever" a shot for their rational analysis, while adding "Wizards Extreme" to my banned sites for their contributions to idiotic NBA coverage everywhere.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 14, 2009 5:21 PM

Appreciate the compliment, Gshawn. Feel free to sign up for a BF account here. That goes for anyone else interested too.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Good piece BF and Prada. Always enjoy reading what you guys have going on.

GshawnJohnson - I'm sure Wizard's Extreme will miss you.

You take life way too serious Gshawn - are you related to prescrunk?

Posted by: jmg878 | May 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Larry, I'm confused by your comment. What didn't you like about the analysis? What does Ricky Rubio have to do with anything? Why must you call the site out like that instead of just not reading?

And of course we read Wizards Insider. What independent blogger worth their salt wouldn't?

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 3:52 PM

Pradamaster,

I don't think I was too harsh, but I was disappointed in the flowing rehashing of what we have all been saying for several months, one way or the other.

At least Keith posed an interesting slant on the question. The others were all rehash and even worse a rehashing of scenarios that are highly unlikely to occur and has been explained one way or the other on the blog.

I guess I expected a fresh slant from the roundtable in which Keith started out well with his comment, but the other two disappointed.

And I am not the only one on this blog that believes that Rubio is not the Real McCoy, so it is disengenious to me for the roundtable to present Rubio in the same light as Blake Griffin.

Way back a long time ago, I went through a back and forth with Kalo_rama with other inputs on where the Wizards stood in reference to contracts, slots available ecetera.

It was mostly a learning curve for me because I got schooled. Some of those comments made by the roundtable need some schooling. For instance, any sound good trade scenario for the Wizards has to take into account that we donot currently have a slot for our 2nd round pick. Every trade scenario that I have proposed on this blog takes that into account.

So, in my book any trade scenario that does not return to me a free slot is a non-starter.

You check the math, or better yet, have the roundtable check with Kalo_rama. They will be much more on point.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD---That makes the most sense that I've seen here in a long time.
Upgrade the bench.

What would you have to give up to upgrade AJ,CB,GA, or BH?????
My answer is a lot --- and you'd still be gambling that the upgrade would be better than the part replaced. You'd just be blowing up the team to get a star and you'd still be without adequate role players.
A healthy Wizzie team woulda won a lot of games this year.
As it will next year but to advance in the playoffs the bench will have to give much better support. Is there someone after the top 3 in the draft that could help??? Probbly but it's too hard to tell how someone will develop as a pro. There will probbly be a sleeper somewhere in the lower picks in the draft maybe we'll get him in the 2nd round.

Posted by: VBFan | May 14, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Trading any of our core Vets or young players to me is like treading water.

LarryInClintonMD.

This is the post that I was referring to in my previous post.

Posted by: VBFan | May 14, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Kal, I agree that Wallace is a different type of player, and has qualities we need, but he also lacks qualities that either Butler or Jamison have. So all in all, I don't think he brings more things, just different things. But you know, sometimes different is better, for chemistry sake.

I'm thinking we're going to find that any pick outside of the top 3 isn't going to bring much value this year, unless players really impress during workouts.

I still think our best realistic option is someone like Raja Bell. Maybe even offer our 3-5 pick and an expiring contract for Bell and Charlotte's 1st round pick next season instead, since we think this year's crop is not up to par. Pull a move out of the Spurs handbook. Their front office has certainly done a good job in the draft.

Posted by: segastyle | May 14, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Way back a long time ago, I went through a back and forth with Kalo_rama with other inputs on where the Wizards stood in reference to contracts, slots available ecetera.

It was mostly a learning curve for me because I got schooled. Some of those comments made by the roundtable need some schooling. For instance, any sound good trade scenario for the Wizards has to take into account that we donot currently have a slot for our 2nd round pick. Every trade scenario that I have proposed on this blog takes that into account.

So, in my book any trade scenario that does not return to me a free slot is a non-starter.

You check the math, or better yet, have the roundtable check with Kalo_rama. They will be much more on point.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 5:43 PM

A couple responses:

1. The Rubio/Griffin comment specifically referenced Chad Ford, not myself. That's why it was linked. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about Rubio myself.

2. I'm quite aware that we currently have a second-round pick which we currently don't have room for, because it'd be our 16th contract. However, in case you didn't notice, a potential Pick/James/Young for Price/Pick trade clears that up, assuming Juan isn't re-signed. It also works under the cap.

Otherwise, they'll probably sell the pick like they did last year, or draft-and-stash.

I was tasked with designing a plan specifically regarding the fourth pick. The second-rounder has nothing to do with it.

3. As far as approaching this from a unique angle, I tried, but I'll accept that criticism. I figured the "building block" thing was a "fresh slant," but whatever, can't please everyone. I also think there just aren't a ton of fresh scenarios to run through here. Keith painted things as Carlos Boozer vs. Blake Griffin, but there's really not a dichotomy there.

I appreciate that criticism, though. And I didn't mean to be nasty ... I was just confused.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

I think a lot of the reason it sounds redundant is because Bullets Forever and Wizards extreme and such comment here fairly often, and a lot of the commenters here read their stuff as well. ideas are going to get rehashed. And i think they were chosen to contribute because of their influence in the wizards....blogosphere i suppose is the word.

Posted by: crs-one | May 14, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read any of the local blogs, but after this week, I'm definitely going to give "Bullets Forever" a shot for their rational analysis, while adding "Wizards Extreme" to my banned sites for their contributions to idiotic NBA coverage everywhere.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 14, 2009 5:21 PM

Does seem a little hasty to judge them completely on that piece. I would take it for what it is...whereas everyone was doing somewhat safer, generally sound analysis, wizards extreme was going with something riskier and more off-the-wall for the sake of discussion.

as larry pointed out, sometimes a lot of the same ideas get repeated so often they become stale. i give wizards extreme a nod for having the stones to put themselves out there.

Posted by: crs-one | May 14, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think I made clear enough in this write-up that part of the problem here is the Wizards' player development problems. Only McGuire developed this year. Now, you want to add another rookie that needs to be nurtured? I wish this problem didn't exist -- for the best organizations, like San Antonio, Detroit and Utah, it doesn't -- but it does, unfortunately."

As I've stated before, player development generally has little to do with the organization and almost everything to do with the players.

The fact is that there have been young players who have improved during their time with the Wiz. Butler came to the Wiz a 3rd-year supporting player and blossomed into an All-Star. Mason went from a 2nd round nobody to a starter on a 50 win team. McGuire went from a 2nd round bubble guy to the kind of utility/energy guy that any coach would love to have. What do all of these guys have in common? Simple (and well-documented): work ethic, desire, drive. In other words, they got better because they wanted to get better and were willing to put in the hard work to do so. It's that simple, and pretty much how it always works. The organizations you mentioned with a track record of developing young players don't have any kind of magic formula for making guys become better players. They're simply better at evaluating talent and finding guys with the right combo of talent, drive, and work ethic that most often results in players who are willing to put in the hard work necessary to improve without making excuses.

The only "player development problems" the Wizards have is their seemingly recurring inability to pick players who have both the physical/skill potential for improvement and the attitude/mindset to do what's necessary to actualize that potential.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"Kal, I agree that Wallace is a different type of player, and has qualities we need, but he also lacks qualities that either Butler or Jamison have."

Such as? Because I can't think of anything he doesn't do that either Butler or Jamison excels at.

On the Flip side, Bell doesn't provide anything the Wiz can get in a younger, cheaper package from the combo of Stevenson and McGuire. A spot up shooter doesn't provide much value-added on a team that lacks the kind of in-the-paint scoring presence that creates open perimeter shots.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The only "player development problems" the Wizards have is their seemingly recurring inability to pick players who have both the physical/skill potential for improvement and the attitude/mindset to do what's necessary to actualize that potential.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 6:24 PM

Kalo,
It is a combination responsibility of the player and the organization that develops someone into a star or they just tread water and stay the same.
Dom M. developed by himself. If he'd had someone to push him and show him how to improve his game he may be a real star. If Nick Y, wudda approached his game like Dom did the sky would be the limit for him.
Do the Wizzies have someone that can bring out the desire and develop young players????
If not then we don't need to draft anybody ----just trade the pick for someone that has already been developed.
We don't need a Pech, NY or a Javale to play for the next 3 years like they did this year.
Someone needs to light a fire under their butts and push them to the next level. Schools out time to go to work.

Posted by: VBFan | May 14, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to read all the diverse thinking, but the Wiz are in a bind. As has been pointed out here before, they've got beaucoup cash tied up in the current roster, and one glaring hole in the starting lineup: at the 4 spot.

Ideally, they'd get Griffin. Odds are against that. The only other PF in the top 10 is likely Jordan Hill, and he's not a power player anyway.

If we're talking trades, we really should be focusing on people who can play that 4 position the way the Wiz need it played.

So to my mind, that eliminates Tyrus Thomas, Raja Bell, Jamal Crawford, and anybody else who plays a different position. They may be terrific talents, but they're not what the Wiz need. This ain't the NFL; we don't always get to take the best player available.

You could argue for Rasheed Wallace but not Gerald. But other factors eliminate Rasheed who'll probably wind up in San Antonio trying to keep that franchise from slipping out of the playoffs.

Nobody expects Blatche or McGee to mature into the sort of banging, scoring PF we seek -- their talents, while considerable, lie elsewhere.

The Wiz are backed into a corner. Or at least that's how I see it.
So everything else is scrambling. they probably won't -- Nobody really thinks that any of the current bunch of kids is going to step up and become a star over the next twelve months. So they've got to fill the hole

Posted by: Samson151 | May 14, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Whoops -- last 3 lines of the prior post should have been deleted. Mea culpa.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 14, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

"If Nick Y, wudda approached his game like Dom did the sky would be the limit for him."

Exactly. And the responsibility for that lies primarily, if not entirely, with Nick Young. Player improvement is simply a matter of hard work, desire, and dedication to craft. You can't impose that on someone. Either they have it/want it or they don't.

McGuire get better because he worked at it. The others didn't get better because they didn't. That simple, really.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Dmac got the minutes last season b/c of the injury situation and a general lack of depth in the frontcourt.Dom's role was defined more as being a utility man type of player which suited his talents well. NY is a scorer. He was a scorer when we drafted him and that's just his makeup. I envision him as a ben gordon type but he has to get those minutes to get that level production.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

there was also little conflict with tawn or cb b/c dmac was so reluctant at times to shoot the ball he played well off of them. Nick was more of a conflict to those two because of his shot selection (at times questionable) and occasional mental lapses.I would say that nick got better this year amd i would expect a better season next year, somewhere around 15 pts per game and a general better knowledge of the pro game.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I've come to the conclusion that Blatche is just not that talented. He's a solid 6'11" backup who can't jump over a Sunday newspaper.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | May 14, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

DMac got minutes because NY wasn't improving. For the first half of the season NY was Gerald Green awful, but I think his play improved significantly the rest of the season. He attacked more and actually picked up some D.

Posted by: djnnnou | May 14, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

blatche has been terribly out of shape. he's lost the atheleticism that made him look like a keeper in the past.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"McGuire get better because he worked at it. The others didn't get better because they didn't. That simple, really." scary to know you're at practice these days

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

also it is the only job of a coach to get the most out of the players and the team, to put them in the situations where they're most likely to succeed, it's a two-way street and of course there will always be the kwame's of the world that with an ounce of heart would be a monster

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

all the tools but won't ever pick em up

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"I've come to the conclusion that Blatche is just not that talented."

huh? have you seen other guys 6'11 pass, dribble and shoot before, it ain't easy for em, he's got the talent the question, if it is still a question, is if he has any dedication to his craft, having no muscle definition and visible flab as a "big man" is his issue, not his skill set. Sadly doing the work to be ready is his problem it seems. I still think there is a chance flip could turn on the switch for him just because of how blatantly EJ threw him in the doghouse, he also has yet to play the four primarily, a big problem for him, he is no center, just a soft, skilled 4 who insults everyone who wishes they were 6'11 and dunking when he finishes with the finger roll. His athleticism has certainly declined since he came into the league, so will he look like kevin duckworth when his career is over?

Posted by: bford1kb | May 14, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

ESPN has a teaser about Amare to wiz in the NBA section but you need to be an "insider" to read. Is anybody a ESPN "insider" that can post the story here?

Posted by: toohoes | May 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

definitely a taller rodney rogers antoine walker-ish guy . i've seen him out at the club, the guy is tall but definitely not an imposing figure. it concerns me that he doesn't see the big picture that he can be an elite player if he puts the work into it.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"also it is the only job of a coach to get the most out of the players and the team, to put them in the situations where they're most likely to succeed, it's a two-way street and of course there will always be the kwame's of the world that with an ounce of heart would be a monster">


The only job of a coach is to win games, by whatever means necessary. A coach who "gets the most" out of an under-talented team and still loses is going to get fired. A coach who gets less than all from an overly talented team but manages to win anyway is going to keep his job.

That being said . . .

No coach can get more out of a player than what the player himself is willing to give. He can push, prod, cajole, teach, trick, whatever. But he'll only get the best the player has to offer when the player makes a conscious decision to give the best he has to offer. That's not just basketball. That's basic human nature.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the general point. I disagree that it has to include every single one of our young players. This organization has yet to show that it can develop all of them. They failed even during a year where they were 19-63. Why will that change now that they expect to contend? You don't get a borderline all-star player for Mike James, Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov. You get closer if you include Blatche or Young.

I don't think I made clear enough in this write-up that part of the problem here is the Wizards' player development problems. Only McGuire developed this year. Now, you want to add another rookie that needs to be nurtured? I wish this problem didn't exist -- for the best organizations, like San Antonio, Detroit and Utah, it doesn't -- but it does, unfortunately.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 5:29 PM

Pradamaster, that makes very good sense except that the Team has changed the most important piece in developing young talent and the Team for that matter.

Our biggest problem with development has been coaching. Flip Saunders hopefully does not have that flaw and if not, thats why we would be smart to add a sound veteran and use our draftpicks to build the team for the future.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the general point. I disagree that it has to include every single one of our young players. This organization has yet to show that it can develop all of them. They failed even during a year where they were 19-63. Why will that change now that they expect to contend? You don't get a borderline all-star player for Mike James, Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov. You get closer if you include Blatche or Young.

I don't think I made clear enough in this write-up that part of the problem here is the Wizards' player development problems. Only McGuire developed this year. Now, you want to add another rookie that needs to be nurtured? I wish this problem didn't exist -- for the best organizations, like San Antonio, Detroit and Utah, it doesn't -- but it does, unfortunately.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 5:29 PM

Pradamaster, that makes very good sense except that the Team has changed the most important piece in developing young talent and the Team for that matter.

Our biggest problem with development has been coaching. Flip Saunders hopefully does not have that flaw and if not, thats why we would be smart to add a sound veteran and use our draftpicks to build the team for the future.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Which of the options below best resembles actions the WIZARDS brain-trust should take on the 19th in the event they get the fourth pick?

A-Shoot the person pulling the numbers.
B-Pray.
C-Hold their collective breath until they pass out.
D-Commit suicide.

Posted by: glawrence007 | May 14, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

3. As far as approaching this from a unique angle, I tried, but I'll accept that criticism. I figured the "building block" thing was a "fresh slant," but whatever, can't please everyone. I also think there just aren't a ton of fresh scenarios to run through here. Keith painted things as Carlos Boozer vs. Blake Griffin, but there's really not a dichotomy there.

I appreciate that criticism, though. And I didn't mean to be nasty ... I was just confused.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 14, 2009 6:01 PM

Actually, I like the building block scenario. No problem with it. It was the responses.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

As I've stated before, player development generally has little to do with the organization and almost everything to do with the players.

The fact is that there have been young players who have improved during their time with the Wiz. Butler came to the Wiz a 3rd-year supporting player and blossomed into an All-Star. Mason went from a 2nd round nobody to a starter on a 50 win team. McGuire went from a 2nd round bubble guy to the kind of utility/energy guy that any coach would love to have. What do all of these guys have in common? Simple (and well-documented): work ethic, desire, drive. In other words, they got better because they wanted to get better and were willing to put in the hard work to do so. It's that simple, and pretty much how it always works. The organizations you mentioned with a track record of developing young players don't have any kind of magic formula for making guys become better players. They're simply better at evaluating talent and finding guys with the right combo of talent, drive, and work ethic that most often results in players who are willing to put in the hard work necessary to improve without making excuses.

The only "player development problems" the Wizards have is their seemingly recurring inability to pick players who have both the physical/skill potential for improvement and the attitude/mindset to do what's necessary to actualize that potential.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 6:24 PM

Kalo_rama,

I agree with that 99%. The one piece that must be critical is that the organization/coach must demand it as a part of their tradition to win.

When a player walks through the door, he must know that individual sacrifise to get better is a must to be a success in the organization and that the organization/coach demands it.

That is where the Wizards have failed along with those players that do not have that iniative on there own.

So once the Wizards have made this obvious to all there players, as they haven't been, then any player that does not conform to those core principles should be shown the door very quickly.

Under Flip, I think that will be understood.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. And the responsibility for that lies primarily, if not entirely, with Nick Young. Player improvement is simply a matter of hard work, desire, and dedication to craft. You can't impose that on someone. Either they have it/want it or they don't.

McGuire get better because he worked at it. The others didn't get better because they didn't. That simple, really.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 8:47 PM

Kalo_rama, if that were mostly true coaching would be quite insignificant.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 15, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

"Such as? Because I can't think of anything he doesn't do that either Butler or Jamison excels at.

On the Flip side, Bell doesn't provide anything the Wiz can get in a younger, cheaper package from the combo of Stevenson and McGuire. A spot up shooter doesn't provide much value-added on a team that lacks the kind of in-the-paint scoring presence that creates open perimeter shots." - kal

A bit extreme there...Jamison has an outside shot, Wallace has none. Jamison is also a better rebounder. Butler? Yeah, you're probably right, but we already have Butler, and while Wallace is maybe slightly better at defense, Butler is currently still a better offensive player. Would I trade Butler for Wallace straight up? Sure. Do i think that makes us significantly stronger asa team? Not really. I'd call it about even.

If Bell came to Washington, he'd instantly be our best outside shooter. Arenas is a driver, he needs someone to kick it out to. Butler used to be a driver/slasher, and a good one. Hopefully he'll go back to that more now that Arenas is back. Last season, we were second to last in 3pt%. Yes part of that is lack of open shots for our shooters, bt a large part is also not having more than one guy who can consistently knock them down.

Bell would also come in and be our best defender, by a solid margin. Well, one good defender does not make the whole team good at defense, it certainly doesn't hurt. He's also a better rebounder than our current crop of SG.

Is Bell as good as Wallace? No. But he fills a major hole for us. Wallace would require us to find a new spot for Butler. But let's not forget, I mentioned Bell specifically as a person we'd have a reasonably good shot at getting in a fair deal. Wallace is not such a player.

Posted by: segastyle | May 15, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

"Kalo_rama, if that were mostly true coaching would be quite insignificant. LarryInClintonMD."

Don't you think that, in some ways at least, it is?

At the pro level, it's a player's game. The system is set up (contractually and otherwise) to make it that way.

30 teams, 15 on a roster, maybe 9 or 10 who ever get to play... there are 300 or so players in the NBA. It's exclusive in a way the NFL or MLB can't approach.

It's also a terrible place to develop young players. That's partly why they had to come up with the D-league. Once camp ends and the 82-game schedule starts, how much court time will a young guy get unless he's already developed considerably on his own? Coaches want players to earn time on the court with solid play and few mistakes, and that's not the way many young guys play -- especially if they only spent a year or two in college.

Most fans at the games aren't like the bloggers here -- they don't want to fork over big $$ for a good seat only to watch their team lose by 20 with a gaggle of talented kids on the court.

They want to see kids, they'll go to a Maryland game.

The NBA is all about stars. How does a coach manage a star? Very, very gently. It's in college that you get the Ks, the Roy and Gary Williamses. Phil Jackson doesn't coach like that. He makes 'suggestions'.

The HC is a figurehead. The majority of ordinary coaching tasks are done by assistants, probably better than The Man could do them.

You get positions like "VP of Player Development' but how much time do such folks really get with players once camp ends?

It's just not a coaches' league.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

To say the Wiz have several "promising young players" is home-town self-delusion, IMO.

Young, McGuire, Blache, Pecherov, and Critt are borderline guys at best. And McGee is probably a couple of years away from being a useful NBA player.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | May 15, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

For those with short memories...DM is one of the guys who was singled out with NY and AB for being immature and goofing around in the locker room. Sure, his game improved but a good part of the reason is because he was given pt because of injuries. Also, is anyone besides me noticing that when DM has a game where he scores 4, has 3 rebounds in 30 minutes, not a peep is heard from fans and coaches. But if NY has a bad game, everyone screams about his shot selection and lack of defense.
There's a dbl standard when it comes to NY. Comparing his first year to last year his numbers across the board (except for 3point fg% are all up). Turnovers are down, assists, rebounds, points, fg%, blocks are ALL up. NY started 5 games last year. Give him minutes and stop jerking him around and he might take the game more seriously.

We started DM out of necessity last year and he responded. Perhaps if we had some confidence in NY, he'd also respond. He gets criticized because he's an offensive player on a team that needs defense. DM is a defensive player who is below average on offense so he gets a pass. Not really fair.

Posted by: original_mark | May 15, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

And player development IS a concern. We have talent. We'll see when we trade one of our young guys and he flourishes elsewhere. We've already seen with the Wallaces, Rip, CWebb, etc. Trading NY or Ab would be a similar mistake unless we were to get a youngish player who contributes immediately. Prince/Bosh would be good pickups.

Posted by: original_mark | May 15, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

chad ford did a pretty interesting blog about Thabeet today on ESPN.COM. His opinion is changing for the positive.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 15, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think I made clear enough in this write-up that part of the problem here is the Wizards' player development problems. Only McGuire developed this year. Now, you want to add another rookie that needs to be nurtured? I wish this problem didn't exist -- for the best organizations, like San Antonio, Detroit and Utah, it doesn't -- but it does, unfortunately."

As I've stated before, player development generally has little to do with the organization and almost everything to do with the players.

The fact is that there have been young players who have improved during their time with the Wiz. Butler came to the Wiz a 3rd-year supporting player and blossomed into an All-Star. Mason went from a 2nd round nobody to a starter on a 50 win team. McGuire went from a 2nd round bubble guy to the kind of utility/energy guy that any coach would love to have. What do all of these guys have in common? Simple (and well-documented): work ethic, desire, drive. In other words, they got better because they wanted to get better and were willing to put in the hard work to do so. It's that simple, and pretty much how it always works. The organizations you mentioned with a track record of developing young players don't have any kind of magic formula for making guys become better players. They're simply better at evaluating talent and finding guys with the right combo of talent, drive, and work ethic that most often results in players who are willing to put in the hard work necessary to improve without making excuses.

The only "player development problems" the Wizards have is their seemingly recurring inability to pick players who have both the physical/skill potential for improvement and the attitude/mindset to do what's necessary to actualize that potential.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2009 6:24 PM

I could write five blog posts (I mean blog posts, not comments) about why this is a ridiculous oversimplification, but then I'd get in a stupid pissing match with you, like you always do, where you move the goalposts and miss the points. Besides, some posters have already made my points for me.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 15, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Yes I saw Chad Ford's piece on Thabeet too, but I am still not convinced that we are looking at the second coming of Dikembe Mutombo.

The Okefor influence at Uconn has to be looked at with some suspicion. Yes, Okefor's parents are Nigerian but he was born in Houston! And Tanzania is a LONG WAY from Nigeria even within Africa...

I will concede that Ford has rightly observed that Thabeet now demonstrates a greater sense of mission and will to succeed, but in my mind's eye I keep seeing players like DeJuan Blair and Luke Haranguey outplay him.

Assuming we can get a decent player (plenty of names have been tossed out) who fills a positional need and a mid first round draft pick for Thabeet, Etan Thomas and our second round pick I would take the deal

Posted by: khrabb | May 15, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

original: "DM has a game where he scores 4, has 3 rebounds in 30 minutes, not a peep is heard from fans and coaches. But if NY has a bad game, everyone screams about his shot selection and lack of defense."

I guess I don't see the contradiction. McGuire is out there to play defense and enhance the effectiveness of others on the court. Young is out there to score points in a hurry. McGuire can contribute without rippling the box score; Young can't.

original: "There's a dbl standard when it comes to NY. Comparing his first year to last year his numbers across the board (except for 3point fg% are all up). Turnovers are down, assists, rebounds, points, fg%, blocks are ALL up."

That's great. He's getting better.

"NY started 5 games last year. Give him minutes and stop jerking him around and he might take the game more seriously."

A coach might say: start taking the game more seriously and I'll give you minutes.

"We started DM out of necessity last year and he responded. Perhaps if we had some confidence in NY, he'd also respond. He gets criticized because he's an offensive player on a team that needs defense. DM is a defensive player who is below average on offense so he gets a pass. Not really fair."

Who said life is... never mind.

Posted by: original_mark

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"And player development IS a concern. We have talent. We'll see when we trade one of our young guys and he flourishes elsewhere. We've already seen with the Wallaces, Rip, CWebb, etc. Trading NY or Ab would be a similar mistake unless we were to get a youngish player who contributes immediately. Prince/Bosh would be good pickups.Posted by: original_mark"

The Wiz certainly have made some ill-advised trades in the past. Rasheed to Portland for Rod Strickland and Harvey Grant. Rip Hamilton to Detroit for Stackhouse. Webber to Sacramento for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe.

Ben Wallace is different; he was an undrafted FA that we sent to Orlando, from whence he became a throw-in in the Grant Hill trade. Nobody in the NBA expected Ben to be that good, and it may be that on any other team, he wouldn't have been.

A lot of it is fit. When Webber went to the Kings, they had also just signed Jason Williams, Vlade, and Stojakovic. Sacramento turned into the Phoenix of their day, fan interest went through the roof, and Web's passing was the best in the NBA for a couple years. Would he have been that sort of star if he stayed here, or if he'd stayed with Nelson in SF? Nelson made him play center; 'nuff said.

To me, the two really unwise moves were Rasheed and Hamilton.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I hear you, Samson151. I guess I'm still smarting over the other give aways that the Wiz/Bullets made that came back to haunt us. Perhaps NY is really not that good. I sure would like to find out with him in a Wiz uni rather than somewhere else, though.

Posted by: original_mark | May 15, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Following the supposed logic of player development is up to the players, are we saying that the Wizards young players would be no further along if the Wiz had a HOF coach?

In other words Tapscott is as good for player development as a guy like Chuck Daley on the bench?

So,Chuck Daley have had nothing to do with turning Rodman into an NBA player? Being from Detroit that's some serious revisionist history...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 15, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

But I do remember a game in which Ben Wallace blocked Rik Smits' shot 4 times and we still never had any pt time for him. I thought he looked like a player back then but he never really got a shot.
In 28 minutes per game, he averaged 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Starting alongside Juwan, we might have been a much better team.

Posted by: original_mark | May 15, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with a point that Kal made, though. (I think he made, at least)

WE need to look at the strengths and weaknesses of players before we draft them. AB and NY are talented offensive players..no doubt. I beleive that AB could give a team 17-20 points per night easily if given the shots. Problem is his help D is poor and individual D is average most nights. On some nights, we've all seen him lock down on defense ad play very well for stretches. It's a matter of consistency as with most young players.

Perhaps if a player is given a role and he knows exactly what is expected of him and how many minutes he will be given, he will respond.

For example, Nick scored in dbl figures a few games in a row for a few games and then saw his minutes cut. Not sure whether it was based on matchups or what. No excuses for NY but it certainly doesn't help when guys produce yet still see uneven playing time.

Posted by: original_mark | May 15, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Don't you think that, in some ways at least, it is?

At the pro level, it's a player's game. The system is set up (contractually and otherwise) to make it that way.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 10:04 AM

I absolutely do not, for if that was true it would be easier for 1 and 2 collegiate players to make in the NBA. All the time spent in on the floor and off the floor is a controlled environment, predominantly by your coach. A Coach cannot stand on the sideline and direct and expect his players to perform like an orchestra.

His influence in gametime, practice, management, and demands on players time off the court has a major impact on player development.

Need I site again when Haywood was given the time because of injury how he responded.

And look at the example that Original_Mark gave above.

I think I blogged some time ago that one of the flaws of the Wizard coaching philosophy is that they want players that already know how to play, they think, so they can just put them on floor and voila, you got a champion. Dosen't work like that.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 15, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the topic of the day is player development.
I think after you get past the first 3 in this draft that the talent will be about equal til
about late in the 2nd round.

What determines who makes it & who doesn't. It is something that won't show in their stat sheets.
Some teams seem to always find players that slip under the radar and develop very good team players (STEELERS for one). Other teams go for the big names with big stats (SKINS) and play in the middle of the pack and no one seems to develop into a playmaker/game changer.
There is no test to provide a score to indicate that "He's got it or not". It falls on the GM & Head Coach to figger it out. Seems like the Wizzies didn't have it figgered out. Maybe with Mr. Flip things will change.

Posted by: VBFan | May 15, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think this year will go a long way in determining what our young players are capable of doing. Except for McGee, they've all been in the league for 2 or more seasons. Blatche, Young, McGuire, and Crittenton all averaged 20+ minutes a game last season, though as some have noted, very inconsistently.

And with a new coach, who very clearly has a different coaching style and very different x&o gameplan, after this season, we'd be hard pressed to blame the coaching staff once again.

Posted by: segastyle | May 15, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"lord bein willin and the creek don't rise," the wiz should be able to finisgh the season with the coach who started it. that means to me that barring something extremely catastrophic flip will have a gameplan for his team and will try to execute the plan. I think the production will improve in regards to the players who played with undefined roles and sporadic PT. Those that don't show improvement will have to be re-evaluated to see if they're worth the wait( or in blatche's case worth the weight) or need to be moved.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

flohr: "Following the supposed logic of player development is up to the players, are we saying that the Wizards young players would be no further along if the Wiz had a HOF coach?"

That's entirely possible. Great coaches come in different shapes and sizes. A great coach for a talented team may not be so great with a less talented squad. Some succeed with young players, some with established stars.

Rick Adelman should be Coach of the Year this season for what he did in Houston, but Rick 'failed' in prior stints with the Warriors, Kings, and Blazers. I doubt Adelman is better this year than he was during those other years. He's got players who perform at a higher level.

What he and his assistants do is to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The individual development of players is, IMO, something that largely occurs because of the player's own effort.

You know who develops players? People like Gary Williams and Mike K.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I don't know why anybody wouldn't want Chris Bosh. I thought in some ways he was the second-best big man at the Olympics. Something must have happened in Toronto this season.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 15, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Anyone that believes that player development is left soley to the vices of the players alone are simply not looking at the facts.

If that were the case, why do good Teams have Special Assistant coaches to help there players along. Some even employ freethrow specialist. It would be great if all the players worked hard to be good on there on accord, like Gilbert Arenas,...

but organizations like the Wizards have been, that believe that, probably end up with the same results the Wizards have been getting.

However, I am sure that Flip Saunders will not continue such foolishness. Winners do not suffer fools.

I am glad Ernie picked Saunders and my choice was Mark Jackson as you all know, but I am sure that Jackson would have demanded and instituted organizational player development as well.

LarryInClintonMD.

Player Development Is Crucial To The Success Of This Team And I Sincerely Hope That This New Regime Will Not Leave This Important Piece Up To The Players Themselves.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 15, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

And one last comment on player development and I'll leave it. Anyone looking at the Wizards this past year, would see clearly, that with our quote player development guy being named the coach, the results you get by leaving it to the players and mismanging them on top of it.

Enough said.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Pradamaster, that makes very good sense except that the Team has changed the most important piece in developing young talent and the Team for that matter.

Our biggest problem with development has been coaching. Flip Saunders hopefully does not have that flaw and if not, thats why we would be smart to add a sound veteran and use our draftpicks to build the team for the future.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 14, 2009 11:05 PM

That's a good point, and it's true. We'll see. Flip's record on developing young talent is pretty spotty, though.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 15, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone that believes that player development is left soley to the vices of the players alone are simply not looking at the facts.

If that were the case, why do good Teams have Special Assistant coaches to help there players along. Some even employ freethrow specialist. It would be great if all the players worked hard to be good on there on accord, like Gilbert Arenas,...

but organizations like the Wizards have been, that believe that, probably end up with the same results the Wizards have been getting.

However, I am sure that Flip Saunders will not continue such foolishness. Winners do not suffer fools.

I am glad Ernie picked Saunders and my choice was Mark Jackson as you all know, but I am sure that Jackson would have demanded and instituted organizational player development as well.

LarryInClintonMD.

Player Development Is Crucial To The Success Of This Team And I Sincerely Hope That This New Regime Will Not Leave This Important Piece Up To The Players Themselves.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 15, 2009 12:30 PM

Well said, Larry.

Posted by: Pradamaster | May 15, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Cwebb for rithcmond was the worst of the group considering what both players did after the move, and ben wallace was only a throw in if you didnt watch him play all those minutes right before we traded him, the man obviously had no offensive game but was a physical beast, we wanted ike, who could score a bit, not the rock of muscle from virginia union, now I don't think anyone would have expected the defensive player of year awards he racked up but damn why continually give up on young guys? he was averaging 6p, 8.3 r, 2 b and a steal in 26 minutes the season we traded him, doesn't that sound like better rebounding and blocked shot numbers than haywood has ever put up?

Posted by: bford1kb | May 15, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

some of the comments are a little far from the reality,some are totaly ignoring coast, some are talking about trade on players who have the right to depart right away.
I am personaly mad when i saw the name of craword.If we have to win we need to improve our defense.I think harden is a better defender and an excellent shooter with a good basketball IQ, why do we have to trade him ? he could be a starter in washington in 2011, By all means he would be a good fit than most of the trades i saw above. hamilton's coast will never put us over the cup but we will not have the obtion to get another veteran for 4 position. Prince is either injured or totaly eaten up. No body knows what his problem is.He can pick a SG position and help arenas in defenssive rotations, he can also take the ball to the board and can shoot from out side But he is not cheap to take a risk, he might not play in 2010.(we all think stevenson is too expenssive). players like jason richardson are not going to improve our team( bad defender), too expenssive, why do we have to give up on Nick young for players like him? I personaly saw a better defensive improvment on NY, we need to see him more. wallace, for what? why do we have to trade such an expenssive player who could play well in only SF position? of all the positions ,it is the SF position that we have 2 good players, we are also considering that jamison need to move to SF.
joe johanson, he is a perfect fit if complex trade activities are going to be done, why do we all think atlanta will trade him? hinrich is an excellent fit for our SG position, he can be traded with thomas, stevenson,second round pick if chicago is trying to clear salary to sign gordon and have flexibility in 2010., his maximum salary is less than 9 million, he is young, he could be easily traded if young is developing.
I will pull a trade triger in summer only to get hinrich, james posey,joe johanson and bosh if our primary interest is to send jamison and try to have agood salary flexiblity for 2010 if bosh is not going to sign extension with us. send jamison, lotery pick except griffin,and perch to toronto, pay lexury tax for 6 months or less to maximize the value of the two expiring contract if hinrich could not come.washington will be in the eastern confrence with Arenas, bosh, Hinirich, haywood and butler( see how the team defense will change from one end to the other).If bosh is not interested to stay we will have 10 million after we lock with butler and haywood in 2010, hopefully blache will be the man for PF.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 15, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Eric Maynor in a Wiz uniform next season.

Posted by: wiz_fan | May 15, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

heres what i would like to do, if we get the no 3 pick, draft demar derozan. then trade deshawn stevenson, derozan, etan thomas to the nuggets for dahanty jones, Jr Smith, and chris andersen. Jones, who has been giving opponets migranes with his perimter defense JR smith would fit in with the flip's offense beautifully. and andersen is going to be the energy guy off the bench. and since stevenson & thomas makes about 15 mil combined per season. thats some win win sitiuation. recieve 2 young players for a low price in exchange for two old players that costs more.

Posted by: kingofdamuthapuckkinhill | May 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Enough Steelers already, this is a Wizards post! Steelers go from 1980 for the next 25 years without bupkiss! One SB appearance and the rest is hapless Chuck and boring Cohwer-power... then all of the sudden they pull a rabbits foot out of their Rooney as a wild card team and get lots of help from refs against Seattle and a lucky catch in the SB by Nose-candy Holmes and the bandwagon fills up! I wipe my Big Ben with the terrible tissue!!

Posted by: jwabell | May 19, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

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