Roundtable: What Do the Wizards Do If They Pick 3rd?
We advised our guest bloggers to have a little fun with the potential scenarios, so long as they're feasible, if not likely. Since we don't know how the draft lottery will pan out, which teams pick in front of the Wizards was in play too.
Wizards Extreme's crack at it brings some big names into the fray. Following Michael Lee's take, feel free to agree, disagree, share your own scenarios or drive the conversation off on a tangent.
The Wizards taking the third-best player on the board with the third overall pick? Way too easy ...
Wizards Extreme's take:
With Blake Griffin coming off the board at No. 1, W.E. were left to wonder not only who would go at the No. 2 spot, but who would be picking there as well.
First Pick: The L.A. Clippers take Blake Griffin
Second Pick: The Sacramento Kings take Hasheem Thabeet
Before we go into the Wizards' selection at No. 3, WE wanted to give our explanation for Thabeet over Rubio to the Kings. Our first assumption is that Eddie Jordan is the coach of the Sacramento Kings. Based on that assumption, our decision on Thabeet over Rubio was helped by two interviews from this past season.
First, Eddie Jordan had an interview on Comcast SportsNet where he stated that he never really got the defensive-minded big to help him, although he asked for it. While Thabeet is very much a work in progress, the old adage is you cannot teach height. The comparisons for Thabeet have been anywhere from Dikembe Mutombo to Samuel Dalembert to DeSagana Diop. Our belief is that he will be much closer to Mutumbo and a significant improvement over Spencer Hawes.
The second quote came from Gilbert Arenas's interview with Ivan Carter on Washington Post Live, where he talks about how in the Princeton offense there is no need for a "true" point guard. So if you are the Kings, why take a chance on a European PG for a system that does not require a true PG? Eddie Jordan as he has shown in his past relies heavily on veterans and our bet is that he will focus on the 7-foot-3 Thabeet to help a team defensively that gave up close to 109 points a game and thus rely on Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni to provide the scoring punch.
After drafting Thabeet second, the Kings could then go after somebody like Ty Lawson or Eric Maynor with their second first-round pick. Thabeet plus Lawson or Maynor in one draft doesn't sound like a bad proposition to us.
If the Wizards pick 3rd, they should: Draft Ricky Rubio. Then trade him.
Here is the blockbuster trade of the summer:
Wizards get: Amare Stoudemire
Suns get: Ricky Rubio, Andray Blatche, Mike James, Etan Thomas, and Chris Bosh
Raptors get: Suns' first-round pick in 2009 draft, Steve Nash
Here is the trade at RealGM trade tracker sans the draft picks.
The Wizards' Possible Reasoning: After losing out in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes, the best available option is to package the asset of the No. 3 pick and the expiring contracts of Mike James and Etan Thomas to get a proven NBA commodity.
Adding Amare to the lineup of Gil, Caron, and 'Twan would give the Wizards one of the most potent offenses in the Eastern Conference.
While we can talk all day about needing defense, WE believe that this team is constructed to put up points. If we were built with a bunch of Bruce Bowen- and Raja Bell-type players, then Avery Johnson should have been the coach.
But seeing as Flip Saunders -- offensive genius -- is the coach, you give him more ammunition. Adding Amare, if the Suns are willing as a trade partner is a no brainer.
The loss of Blatche is an easy one for Ernie Grunfeld to swallow as the best thing for Andray would be a fresh start and getting away from the rest of the Wiz kids. Best line for this -- addition by subtraction.
Why do it if you are Phoenix? You are getting a Euro super stud that is 17 years younger and compared to the current guard on your team who dreams of playing for the Raptors. You also get back a power forward in Chris Bosh, who essentially replaces the offensive output you lose by trading Amare. Blatche is taken as a project, James and Thomas are taken because you can absorb the cap space of their salaries. This also allows Phoenix to be a player in the 2010 sweepstakes.
Why do it if you are the Raptors? They get to bring in a point guard who might be in the twilight of his career, but will be helped by Jose Calderon to extend it further. Not to mention, how many people dream of playing for the Raptors? Frankly WE believe the Raptors are stuck in a bad situation being that they could stand to lose Bosh for nothing, so why not get Nash and a top-14 pick from the Suns to go along with your own top-10 pick in this draft?
For the Wizards, the decision ultimately comes down to the fact that this team is built to win now, not down the road. There is perhaps a three- to four-year window for this team to do something, as constructed.
Bringing in an 18-year-old kid to run the point, or a 7-3 center with potential but no offensive game just doesn't make sense for this team at this pick. Thabeet won't unseat Haywood. Rubio won't unseat Gilbert. And yes, our belief is that Gilbert is the point guard in this new system.
The reality is that the Wizards are very much in the same situation the Celtics were in with the fifth pick a few years earlier, Grunfeld and all of us Bullets fans will be hoping that these moves will have similar success.
Michael Lee's Take: Since I cannot fathom Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio slipping out of the top two, I'd have to say that Hasheem Thabeet is the third-best prospect in this draft. He's a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who led Connecticut to the Final Four as a junior. Problem is, he plays center and the Washington Wizards are set at that position with Brendan Haywood and JaVale McGee, who could be a monster if he commited himself to being a shotblocker and rebounder and stopped focusing on trying to score. But I digress.
Thabeet is a deterrent to the rim but he's not ready to take Haywood's spot. The native of Tanzania could develop into a dominant defender like Dikembe Mutombo or become a frustrating presence like Samuel Dalembert, but the Wizards cannot take him unless they intend to lose Haywood in free agency in 2010.
So, the Wizards will have to either look into the viability of selecting Arizona forward Jordan Hill or Arizona State guard James Harden at such a high pick - or consider moving it (which I've already said is a risky move). There always is a chance that a player can rise up the draft boards once teams start working out players (who saw Russell Westbrook going No. 4 this time last season?). So current draft positions are not set in stone.
There is a lot of chatter here and elsewhere about the Wizards trading their top five pick to acquire an established all-star veteran like Amare Stoudemire and/or Chris Bosh. That is not happening. The Wizards would have to surrender the pick and at least one of their three all-stars in any package for a player of that caliber (expiring contracts are not going to cut it). And that still might not be enough.
Right now, Toronto does not need to move Bosh and Phoenix does to need move Stoudemire. Next year's trade deadline is the most likely time that either player would get moved -- if they get moved. Yes, Toronto gave away Vince Carter for a quarter on a Benjamin Franklin and let Tracy McGrady walk, but Raptors President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo was not around for those mistakes and he is not going to trade Bosh unless he can get an established, all-star player or several prospects in return.
The same goes for Phoenix General Manager Steve Kerr, who decided to hang on to Amare Stoudemire after dangling him last season. The Suns commitment to hiring Alvin Gentry and returning to former Coach Mike D'Antoni's wide-open offense is a signal that Phoenix wants to give it at least one more run with Stoudemire.
While it's good to dream big, let's deal with reality for a minute. The win-now Wizards will likely look to acquire a veteran starter or adding some depth if they trade the pick. Ernie Grunfeld pulled off a major coup when he acquired Caron Butler for Kwame Brown, but Butler was not an established star when he arrived. When Grunfeld used Devin Harris to get Antawn Jamison in 2004, Jamison had yet to reach the all-star team as well.
And, from what I hear, a lot of teams are looking to trade out of this draft. So, I don't see teams offering up young, all-star, Olympic-caliber big men for a pick in this draft, which doesn't have potential franchise-changer like Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant or Dwight Howard after the top one or two spots. If those type of players were available this year, then why would the Wizards even consider moving the pick?
Coming Thursday: Bullets Forever's take on the No. 4 pick.
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