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Howard, Magic Another Roadblock in East

Everybody thought the East belonged to LeBron. Ha! (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

I was planning on writing something speculating about how Nike plans on kicking the LeBron James puppet out of the penthouse with the Kobe Bryant puppet, or how James desperately needs another elite talent with him, or how James was such a sore loser that he couldn't even congratulate Dwight Howard immediately after Howard led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals for the first time in 14 years.

But who cares about the team that lost? When I saw Howard flashing that megawatt grin, hugging teammates and holding that Eastern Conference trophy, something else came to mind: If it wasn't already obvious, the Washington Wizards have much more to worry about than James over the next 10 or so years.

Howard is already the most dominant big man in the game and he has reached that status without developing one consistent offensive move or a jump shot. And, even scarier, he won't turn 24 until next season. He's bound to get better and even if he's reached his peak, that's already good enough to get his team to the NBA Finals. In the biggest game of his career, Howard thrashed the heavily-favored Cavaliers to the tune of 40 points and 14 rebounds in the decisive Game 6. He has Orlando four wins from winning its first NBA championship in just his fifth season since going No. 1 overall in 2004.

Since the Magic hired Coach Stan Van Gundy and acquired Rashard Lewis in the summer of 2007, Orlando has won the Southeast Division in back-to-back years and gone from 52 wins to 59. During that time, Orlando is also 7-1 against the Wizards, with five of those victories decided by 12 or more points (Gilbert Arenas has only been on the floor for one of those games, a 94-82 loss in November of 2007).

For those of you thought that Orlando's dominance over Cleveland was a fluke, recognize that the Magic was responsible for six of the Cavaliers' 20 losses this season. So, for all the complaints about James's lousy supporting cast or Mike Brown's coaching, maybe it would be better to give credit to Orlando for having the personnel that simply gave Cleveland too much trouble.

Orlando also went 2-0 against the Lakers in the regular season, although I don't see the Magic defeating them in the NBA Finals this year.

I'm not going anywhere! (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Hedo Turkoglu will be a free agent this summer and it will be difficult for the Magic to retain the 6-foot-10 playmaker. But even if Turkoglu bolts, the Magic will bring back a healthy point guard Jameer Nelson next season (it's easy to forget but Orlando has gotten this far without one of its three all-stars). And wouldn't playing with Howard possibly be appealing to a free agent like Lamar Odom or Ron Artest? Just a thought. Either way, Howard and the Magic should continue to be difficult hurdle for years to come.

With the East expected to be stronger next season, the Wizards' failure to get one of the top two picks in the NBA draft this summer has to be a little disconcerting for fans of the team. Because while assembling the right pieces is essential to being a contender, it also takes a whole lot of luck. Cleveland and Orlando both were rewarded with the No. 1 pick -- in 2003 and 2004, respectively -- after finishing with the league's worst record.

The Lakers won three championships and Miami got one with former No. 1 pick Shaquille O'Neal. Would the San Antonio Spurs have won four championships the past 10 seasons if not for getting lucky and landing Tim Duncan in 1997?

I'm not saying that getting Blake Griffin would've immediately carried the Wizards to a championship, but it certainly would've made the task of building a contender slightly easier. The Boston Celtics got a championship last season because Minnesota delivered Kevin Garnett to them in a beautiful emerald-colored bow, and the Lakers became serious contenders -- and should win the title this season -- because Memphis gave away Pau Gasol in a fire sale.

So, the Wizards can't seriously talk about competing for championship just by getting a new coach or simply getting healthy. It's tough for teams to enter the title picture without having several lucky bounces, and with Dwyane Wade, James, Garnett and now Howard taking their teams to the NBA Finals the past four seasons, the job of reaching that rarefied air -- and getting out of the East -- just got a whole lot harder for the Wizards.

By Michael Lee  |  June 1, 2009; 1:07 PM ET
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Next: Thirty Years ... And Counting


Yes sadly as a big time wizards fan, that we are still miles away from trying to compete in an NBA championship style. We are like the Dallas Mavericks of the east.
an perenial playoff team that just cant get over the hump. And even the Mavericks made a finals appearance and won playoff series in the last couple of years.

I seriously hope the wizards do make a run at some serious talent, instead of being content with Antawn Jamison @ the 4 position. We need a crasher,banger, someone whos willing to put thier body on the line.

as many trade scenarios that i have come up with, it doesnt seem like anything will work for washington in the next couple of years. Flip Saunders ultimatley will quit after 2 failing seasons with the club and that will force polin to fire grunfield which will make way for a dreadful re-building campagn. very sad and I am less optimistic for this season upcoming

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 1, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess my post in the other blogs entry belongs here...

DHoward is not our main problem. It's Hedo who usually gives us problems. If we can ever solve the 3 point riddle and start playing some defense, we'll be ok.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Since they slayed the LeBonBon dragon - Go
Orlando and Superman!
P.S. - Can the Wiz somehow pick up one of the Magic's 3 pt. shooters in the offseason?

Posted by: bbtgrl | June 1, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

When healthy, Gilbert Arenas is the best player from the '01 draft, a notch above Pau Gasol and Tony Parker. Thus, the Wizards have the equivalent of the #1 pick of a draft where they actually did have the #1 pick (unfortunately used on Kwame). The big question is whether Agent Zero will return to '05-'07 form or not. Given that he hasn't flashed this form in nearly 3 years and his knee was allegedly aching in the limited playing time he had last year, I think the best guess is that Gilbert will not return to form. This team is doomed for the next 5 years of Arenas's dreadful extension.

Posted by: Dellis2 | June 1, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget about the Magic bench. Pietrus, Gortat, Courtney Lee, and JJ Reddick are the real deal.

Posted by: BillEmm | June 1, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

we'll be fine next year!!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | June 1, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

This team (the Wiz) needs an enima...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | June 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's just luck. Sure these teams needed luck to win the lottery but after that, their talent and organization took over. They drafted the right players and surrounded them with the right talent. The wizards drafted Kwame Brown.

Posted by: tundey | June 1, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

After reading the espn draft PG analysis, it sounded like Curry. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | June 1, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"When I saw Howard flashing that megawatt grin, hugging teammates and holding that Eastern Conference trophy, something else came to mind: If it wasn't already obvious, the Washington Wizards have much more to worry about than James over the next 10 or so years."

Yes, that's waht I wrote previously:
We all know that league officials often blow whistles based on a player's perceived status. (How often do we hear that commentators say "he won't get that call as a rookie?")

I am afraid that now Howard got the recognition, and the whistles will be going his way.

"maybe it would be better to give credit to Orlando for having the personnel that simply gave Cleveland too much trouble."

As I said before, Orlando presnts a tough match-up problem for Cleveland.

Well, Turkoglu looks like will want to be paid like Lewis, and hopefully, Orlando won't be able to re-sign him. But come to think of it, can Cleveland use the cap space left by Szczrbiak, and say, not re-siginging Varejao, and brining in Turkoglu instead? He certianly can be the #2 scorer! Besides, preying a good player from your rival is always a good move.

Posted by: sagaliba | June 1, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Stan the Man will coach circles around the Zen Master. Magic in 6. They're that good.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 1, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Don't forget about the Magic bench. Pietrus, Gortat, Courtney Lee, and JJ Reddick are the real deal.

Posted by: BillEmm | June 1, 2009 1:39 PM

Bill, I'll take Blatche, Nick Young, Crittenden and Javale over that bunch any day of the week.

Do our startes match up well with theirs in terms of production? Yep. The main difference is defense. If we get a coach who teaches us to halfway defend, we're a force.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

That is...COULD BE a force.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Orlando is the rising "Beast in the East".
Cleveland's supporting cast for LeBron is aging and only able to play crawl ball.

The Cavaliers one real shot was this year, LeBron walked off the court because he realized he'd missed his shot at being a "winner" in Cleveland. And it may never come around again.

He cost the team badly in game four with turnovers and terrible shot selection down the stretch. Game 6 he just looked like he couldn't get into a flow. Van Gundy showed him a new wrinkle on the pick and roll and he never adjusted. I don't think he really realized what they were doing until it was over.

He can say he's just a Yankee fan, but that cap's got to be sending shivers through Dan Ferry. He's going to be desperate to make a deal to surround LeBron with a better cast this summer.

Howard is the reason why the Wiz need to think strongly about shoring up the center position in this draft. McGee is no where near ready to guard Superman. Haywood needs some serious help. I still beleive the Wiz need to look a Thabeet in the draft.

They need pay the price to move up if that's what it takes...

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

We need lane filling shotblocking center to anchor that D. Getting Haywood back will help, but back up center is the Wiz's biggest need.

Fill that and a healthy Gil, the rest of the roster matches up pretty well against the top of the east.'

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Howard was 6'11, 240 coming out of high school. JM is 7'0, 237 after a couple years in college. I don't believe it's too late to start thinking about JM possibly developing into a monster down low. Weight training can do wonders for young bigs. JM already has the 'freakish athleticism' part down. Remember, more than one person compared him to Howard this past year..and this is with the handicap of working with Tap and our big man coach of the year candidate, Massenberg.

(dripping with sarcasm)

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

We need lane filling shotblocking center

I hear you, GM. Or we need a shotblocking PF. I wanted to get AK47 a couple years ago for that reason. All we need is for one big man to dedicate himself to playing defense and rebounding. He can come off the bench a la Birdman.

Is it unreasonable to expect that JM could gain 10 pounds of muscle this summer? 247 pounds is pretty good size and almost enough to hold his own in the paint. Have the Wiz even talked to him about it. How hard is it to hire a nutritionist and lift weights? maybe I'm too optimistic or idealistic. Im thinking that guys should want to dominate and should be motivated by what they see on tv. I think I'm just naive about their mindset.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Wiz need a dead on shooter. I like Steph Curry too. Would be a major upgrade over Critt/James. May put a little fire under Nick too if Curry eats into his minutes.

Posted by: t-train | June 1, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Mike, keep writing great posts like this. Any word on AI? Not too concerned about him coming to DC, but kinda interested in where he ends up? If he goes to Charlotte (which would be a good fit), we can add them to the list of teams in our way.

Posted by: CBell29 | June 1, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

originalmark: "Howard was 6'11, 240 coming out of high school. JM is 7'0, 237 after a couple years in college."

According to DraftExpress (and I don't know where they get these numbers), in 2004 Dwight Howard measured as follows:

Height: 6'9" in socks -- comparable to Chris Webber or Anthony Randolph. In Shoes: 6'10.25", comparable to Randolph. Weight: 240 lbs.

Wingspan: 7'4.5", comparable to Kevin Durant

Standing Reach: 9'3.5", comparable to Melvin Ely (and far better than most 6'9" guys).

His no-step vertical was 30.5, his max vertical 35.5.

By contrast, McGee is 6'11" in socks, 7'1.5" in shoes (same as Kevin Garnett), weighed 241, had a standing reach of 7'6", a max reach of 9'6.5", a no-step jump of 27 inches and a max leap of 32.5". (McGee says it's been measured at 36"). Like I said, I have no idea how much these have changed or how accurate they were in the first place.

Here's the fun part: they were each only able to do 7 bench presses.

So there is hope.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 1, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Is it unreasonable to expect that JM could gain 10 pounds of muscle this summer?

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:16 PM

LOL! 10 lbs? That would bring him up to 110 right?

Posted by: CBell29 | June 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz could use Drew Gooden as a rebounder, hustle man, and big man. I doubt that the Wiz will get someone who will make a difference in the next few years in the draft. Money can get Gooden without a draft choice with mid level exception. Abe needs him if he wants to see a playoff winner soon. Ernie it is your turn. Good luck!

Posted by: JoeC2 | June 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

jj reddick the real deal.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 1, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So there is hope.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 1, 2009 2:39 PM

Yes, there is hope, but Dwight has the burning desire to be the best big man ever. As talented as Mcgee is, all I saw was him wanting to be a highlight reel. Which is not a bad thing, but at the same time, it was the little things (like rotating on D, working out in the weight room) that he was missing. So lets hope he has the same qualities that make Dwight Howard that good.

Posted by: CBell29 | June 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

orlando's gotta keep that team together to be a force in over the next couple years. i think they would take a huge hit losing turkey or lewis. that's the key with most championship caliber teams, keeping the core together. I think their big three turkey,lewis,and howard with nelson and lee would be super tough.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Does that little thingy that's growing on the back on Gooden's head come with him or do the Wiz have to pay extra for that?
Maybe if we yank his King Tut beard it'll suck into the back of his head. That thing annoys me. I think I watched too many cartoons growing up.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Funny you say that, CBell29. If you go back and read some draft profiles from 2004 on Howard, one of the things that was perceived as a weakness was his desire. Some said that he could be another 'Kwame Brown' and that was a quote. Based on the way JM reacts on the court, he appears to want to improve. We all could tell Kwame had no heart early on.
Show me a big man who tries to dunk every time he gets the ball within 3 feet and I'll show you a big man worth investing time and money into. I like JM. The big variable is our coaching.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I like him alot as well. I can't wait to see him at the 4 and Brendan at the 5 at the same time. That's scary just thinking about it!

Posted by: CBell29 | June 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Howard is the reason why the Wiz need to think strongly about shoring up the center position in this draft. McGee is no where near ready to guard Superman. Haywood needs some serious help. I still beleive the Wiz need to look a Thabeet in the draft."

While the Wiz could certainly use a guy like that, Thabeet is nowhere near that player. If Dejuan Blair can make Thabeet look foolish by playing physical, I shudder to think what Howard would do.

Posted by: psps23 | June 1, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DHoward is not our main problem. It's Hedo who usually gives us problems. If we can ever solve the 3 point riddle and start playing some defense, we'll be ok.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 1:33 PM

That's the issue. Here's what we need:

1) BTH and a beefed-up McGee to defend the rim. CHECK.
2) A Coach that teaches players to trust interior D and not leave open all those uncontested 3's. CHECK (maybe, we'll see with flip).
3) A long-armed SG that can defend both wings and can make his own open 3's. NOT CHECKED. But we have a #5 Pick and a bunch of expiring contracts. We should be able to get the proper role player with those assets.

Posted by: cballer | June 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think a 6'5.52" 315 pound guy can cause a lot of havoc for a lot of ppl. I can't see even DH or Shaq getting the position he wants to get.
Blair's got a WHOLE LOT of leverage and physics on his side.

Shaq was probbly 7'1" 315 in his prime. Just imagine...I'm 6'2", 195. If a 5'5" 195 pound guy wanted to keep me out of the paint, he probably could.

Posted by: original_mark | June 1, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Blair hyperextended Thabeet's shoulder in the first 2 minutes of their first meeting. He outplayed Thabeet the rest of that game, but Thabeet outplayed him the second time around.

I've watched quite a few of Thabeet's game's the last few years, contrary to what gets posted on this site, the guy doesn't shy away from a physical matchup.

He's not physically overpowering yet, but he's improved by leaps and bounds each year. He will probably mature into playing
another 20-30 lbs. heavier and stronger without losing anything on the rest of his game.
I don't expect Thabeet or Haywood to go head to head with Howard for 40 minutes. If Howard has a weakness at this point, it's is inability to not throw elbows if guys get tough with him inside.

You need to have centers to throw at him in waves. Thabeet is as good as any center that I think the Wiz would be able to trade for.

I like McGee alot too. Against the Magic I could see him playing some power forward in stretches as well as some minutes at center. I'd like to see Blatche and Songaila become the 4th and 5th options at center.

Best way to defend agianst Lewis is to make him run back on defense. The Cav's walked the ball up most of the time. Lewis only really likes to run in one direction. Take his legs on defense and he loses his shot more often then not.

I'd be real surprised if Thomas's deal doesn't get moved in a trade. There are shooters that we can trade for.

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Depressing. Can Matt Wieters play the 4 for us?

Posted by: lavar609 | June 1, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As much as some on here want to belittle Blair at times, he'll most likely be the 2nd 4 picked.

Some seem to indicate he'll be a top ten pick. The guy's a tough player that knows how to use his leverage in the paint. If he can stay in shape he will be a very good NBA player.

Cballer, I think the Wiz may check off that 2-3 that can shoot via a trade.

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the trade for a shooting/defending 2/3 as well. I'm comfortable with the front court and don't understand the need for a "banging" 4. The Magic are going to the finals with Rashard Lewis there and the Lakers with Lamar Odom - both much closer to Jamison (though LESS productive) than the "beast" type role some are envisioning Blair in. Haywood is plenty physical on defense and what he lacks in rebounding, Jamison and Butler (and even the surprisingly good rebounder Arenas) can make up for. Between Songaila, McGee and Blatche I think we'll come up with the 30 minutes of bench time (Haywood for 30 and Jamison for 36?) we need.

At any rate, it seems more solid than the Young/Stevenson/McGuire trio giving us 48 minutes at the 2 and 10 at the 3.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | June 1, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Evans-Super athelete, no shot yet.

Curry-Great shot, point body, 6'2" rail thin.

Harden-It will fool me if OK City doesn't grab him before the Wiz pick.

The other 2-3's seem to be a reach at the 5th pick.

I still think draft big. then use some expiring contracts to pick up a shooter.

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking the same thing about the two starting 4's in the finals. Not a dimes worth of difference in their game's and Jamison.

A 3-4 hybred forward maybe the next big thing in the NBA. Jamison could have just been ahead of his time.

I know this, put a great shotblocker behind Jamison and he's a great forward. Cleveland could have sure used him...

Posted by: flohrtv | June 1, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards haven't been able to compete with the Magic for two seasons...although I think Turkoglu presented even worse matchup problems on the defensive end for Caron. Given a healthy BTH, we have a decent matchup for Howard but agree that the Wiz are light years from being able to contend for the Eastern title regardless of where LeBron is playing in two years.

If the Wiz don't get a strong 4 or 5 via a trade to compliment BTH who can score and defend inthe post, we'll continue to be run over by teams like Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 1, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"If the Wiz don't get a strong 4 or 5 via a trade to compliment BTH who can score and defend inthe post, we'll continue to be run over by teams like Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston."

We can compete with all three of these teams. They don't run us over when healthy. With health, we will be an ESPN staple once again and the bandwagon will fill up. Endurance my wizzies!!!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | June 1, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

This is all moot if Hedo leaves, because the Magic won't be anywhere near as good as they are now. R. Lewis is a good spot-up perimeter shooter, but he can't put the ball on the floor, create shots and make passes the way that Hedo does. Subtract Hedo, and it becomes a lot easier to keep Howard from getting the ball down low.

btw, to whoever mentioned Redick...he's not even a rotation player at this point. The really valuable bench player is Gortat, because he enables them to rest Howard without going totally soft in the middle.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | June 1, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

if I remember right, the Magic's two wins against the Lakers this season were largely due to Jameer Nelson. His penetration and scoring.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 1, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse


What 2/3 defender/shooter do you think can be had in a trade for our ONLY our expirings and young players? I think those guys are getting more and more valued and harder to find. Lewis signed for megabucks, Posey got a huge deal even though he's old.

Most of the good young SG's are not for sale at all let alone for trash (Kev martin, Mayo, Roy, JR Smith). The list of others is filled with no-D guys (Redd), guys too old or expensive to be practical a the $6-15 mil in expirings(Tmac, Rip, Mike Miller, Redd again, Carter, Igudala, AI, etc.)

That leaves us with Hienrich, Gordon, J Richardson, Crawford, Joe Johnson. I don't see those teams doing a sign 'n trade for just expriring trash. I don't think we have the assets to get that level of talent back in a trade even if we send our expirings, the #5 AND a young player.

I'm curious...who are you thinking that is available on a team that would want expirings and immaturity in return?

Posted by: cballer | June 1, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about what james did ,it is hurting my attitude towards the game.He is playing the most intertaining game , paid in millions but still he has no clue that it is sport.An immature, who has no parental guide how to behave as asport player does not deserve to be MVP.He need to apologize on his action, even there is no rule about post game behaving NBA has to creat one to teach such immature self centered people like james.What hurts me is what he is teaching to our kids, if NBA is not doing some thing on his action, I personaly would not allow my kids to wach this game.I am not taking it lightly, I do not like the kids to learn such behaviours.This behaviour is as toxic as advertizing drug use. I want NBA to say some thing.

Posted by: gtefferra | June 1, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

cballer, check out the proposed trade in the comments to "Pre-draft Quotables Part II" from May 29th at 2:13pm.

It's a trade that gets us Vince Carter. It gives up Haywood but replaces him with Brook Lopez, who may be a better fit for us.

When it comes time for Vince to re-sign, maybe he will give us a discount in order to finish out his career to play alongside Antawn, one of his best friends from back in their UNC days.

Posted by: yop32 | June 1, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how the Eastern Conference Finals changed the equation for next year.

The Magic along with Cleveland were the two top teams going into next season. Boston is an x-factor depending on KG's health.

Then there's Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Charlotte, the Wizards, and then everyone else.

Things can change quick in a game where one or two injuries to key players can have a major impact on on-the-court performance. Plus there's the draft and free agency.

Even with the challenges, can the Wizards compete for a Title next year?

Is Tonya Harding out on parole?

Posted by: JPRS | June 1, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I've been against Thabeet... but I'm starting to wonder. If he falls to #5 should we take Thabeet and move McGee to PF? A twin towers is unique in today's NBA, and that size could cause serious matchup problems against pretty much any team.

Thabeet can learn playing behind Haywood. McGee can backup Jamison, and allow Antawn to play more SF. I'm not sure how I feel about it really so I'd like to hear more opinions. Coming off the bench with Thabeet and McGee could be a heck of a game changing boost for us with some rebounding and shot blocking.

Also, I am wondering about bringing back Larry Hughes to strengthen our backcourt. Specifically I am looking at a trade sending Etan, James, Blatche with our 2nd rounder (33rd) to the Knicks for Hughes and Jeffries.

The Knicks are supposedly looking to move both players, and we reportedly were looking to reaquire both at last season's trade deadline.

If this deal takes place, and Thabeet is our pick...

Haywood, Jamison, Butler, Hughes, Arenas

Thabeet, McGee, Songaila, Pecherov, Jeffries, McGuire, Young, Stevenson, Dixon, Crittenton

Posted by: Darnell1 | June 1, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

"cballer, check out the proposed trade in the comments to "Pre-draft Quotables Part II" from May 29th at 2:13pm."

But be careful not to eat too much beforehand, otherwise you risk making yourself sick when you start laughing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 1, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Dwight Howard has averaged over 80 games a year and over 32 minutes a game over his 5 year career. He has steadily improved.

Javale McGee averaged 15 minutes a game and played only 75 games -- despite having better per minute stats than Howard in his first year.

You can't expect much improvement from JM next year given this lack of commitment from the coach last year. But I think it's time for the Wiz to commit to developing this kid, including getting a big man coach.

Only 2-3 of the youngsters will see any time next year, and it is not McGuire that will take the Wiz to the next level. Maybe Young and Blatche can take a step up, assuming that they aren't traded.

The Wiz need to focus on fixing a few holes in the ship before worrying about the competition.

Posted by: Izman | June 1, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse


I don't understand your constant belittling of D-Mac. It comes off a bit like another (Gil) hater on this board, except that in your case your posts are otherwise generally intelligent and well thought out....

Posted by: pk24 | June 2, 2009 3:33 AM | Report abuse

If the Wiz try to save money and start McGuire (or Stevenson) at the 2, that will undermine any title ambitions. The team needs to upgrade the 2 and improve the bench play.

In particulara, there should be specific targets for these areas (e.g., a PER of 17 or greater, or whatever). Then, the coaches ought to assess who can deliver.

In some sense, it's like the draft. Pick the wrong guy, and you indirectly hurt the team (a la Kwame).

There ought to be a way for players like McGuire and Crit to play full-time overseas for a year or two to develop their game.

Posted by: Izman | June 2, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

If we bring larry for the pick, stevenson and thomas, we will have the best situation in 2010-11, fre agent larry and sangalia will put as ingetting a dominant big man or we will resign them with penny, but i do not know how Larry is going to improve our back court .

Posted by: gtefferra | June 2, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Bset move:

Draft a young sg/sf, play the old team we had (GA, DS, CB,, AJ, BTH) and integrate the young players that showed us something (Critt, JM, AB, DM).

That 9 man rotation is good enough to get us to 45-50 wins if we stay healthy and at least attempt good defense. Alternately, keep DM as a starter and leave DS on the bench. DM can play the 3 on defense and 2 on offense just so CB is comfortable at his old position.

I would prefer to have DS in there because he's at least a threat to shoot the 3 point shot and we need to have 3 threats on the floor as starters. GA and Aj have no problem with it but until CB decides to make it permanent part of his game, we need another guy out there who'll take it.

On the outside chance that DeRozan or Harden show us something special during summer league, we could potentially start one of them at the Sg position (assuming we draft one of 'em, of course)

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

making big changes or bringing in another FA will probably not help us all that much. We've made our bed with the signings. We need to lay in it before we scrap it for a new one.

Who knows? Maybe the original plan of the big 3 that has yet to be played out will work. I know we've been hearing it for a while now but lets' at least see what we have b4 we start trading pieces. Larry Hughes? Dunno about that one.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

NY and DS are good enough at the 2 with Cb moved there in case of emergency if we have the big 3 healthy.
I'm convinced that Hill is the pick we should make.

Posted by: original_mark | June 2, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: glawrence007 | June 2, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

We need that #5 and the only one available is THABEET. And that's far from a given, but I say you gotta' get him and try. Time to rebuild the team. Which is the exact opposite of what the owner wants. Time for new ownership. Time to move on.

Posted by: glawrence007 | June 2, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz need to upgrade all 15 slots by moving most starters to the bench AND fixing the medical staff. Who on the Wiz, considering that Agent Zero will probably be a shadow of his former self (much as DeShawn deteriorated after his injury) and may be a 3-point specialist, could play significant minutes for the healthy Lakers, Magic, or Celtics?
Can Flip develop players? Eddie and Ed did not. If the young players and/or the Wiz really cared, these guys would be in Chicago for a strength and conditioning summer. Gym rats are wonderful, but shooting practice just allows them to press a basketball 100 times.
As long as contracts are guaranteed, and the Wiz have two toxic player options, there may not even be 15 bodies on the roster. Dixon is gone. OP should be gone. Unless they trade the pick for a future (I would) "the poet" would sit every game, accompanied by one of a rotation of non-starters while everyone stayed healthy.
My current over/under is 31 wins.

Posted by: lrmc623 | June 2, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

The Orlando Majic Team with there starters and bench players quietly positioned themselves into a very fine bunch. They donot carry any stiffs. They have players that come in and perform to the best of the players abilities and not some preconceived notion of a coach that dosen't have a clue.

This is why, I have been against trading any of our nucleus, but instead to upgrade our bench. Pech, DSon, ETon, MJ, and DStev by default.

Get Thabeet with our pick. Red Auerbach the rest of these guys to free our 2nd pick and one other slot.

With those six slots we need only bring back three by draft/trade.

Upgrade the bench with quality, Thabeet, a Tarheel, a trade, ecertara.

And Mike, Orlando, Boston, Cleveland, would be tops in the East next year, but you're right Orlando may hold the edge even with Garnett back.

But the Wizards, as I predicted should still finish no less than 4th in the East next year.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | June 2, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree. Every team in the East has gotten much better, and the Wizards are just trying to get healthy enough to put them back where they were two to three years ago minus Roger Mason Jr. Which is essentially a team able to reach, but unable to win the first round in the playoffs. Thriftiness ensures that the Wizards remain the team that almost was.

Unfortunately, Abe Polin always does the bare minimum, financially, and then crosses his fingers. He keeps from going over the salary cap, but is always missing key ingredients in the mix to truly contend. The Wizards are never deep. They depend on rookies and near rookies every year for their depth.

If Grunfeld isn't able to bundle the #5 pick with others to add something big to this roster, then next year will be just another uneventful year in the life of an eternally mediocre franchise.

Abe should have stuck with real estate and let someone with deeper pockets and a willingness to part with money buy this team.

Posted by: Independent11 | June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

izman: "There ought to be a way for players like McGuire and Crit to play full-time overseas for a year or two to develop their game."

They do it with foreign nationals like Pecherov. Why not US players? I'm not sure McGuire needed it, but Crittenton wasted several years on the bench of various teams.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 2, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

gerald wallace destroyed all the wizards dreams of ever winning a championship and thats final.BRING BACK ROGER MASON!!

Posted by: we_miss_roger_mason | June 4, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

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