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Did the Wizards get lucky or was it fate?


I knew we'd win it, Irene. (AP Photo)


If you believe in conspiracy theories, as I'm sure some of you do, then you probably knew that the Wizards were the only team that was going to win the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern never hid his affinity for Abe Pollin, a confidant and sometimes combatant whose time within the league predated Stern. Stern expressed his deep sadness last November when Pollin died at age 85 of rare brain disease, and reiterated his feelings a few weeks ago, after it was announced that the Pollin family was selling the franchise it owned for nearly 46 years to Ted Leonsis.

So what better way to pay back the man for all of his years of service to the league than to reward his franchise with the No. 1 overall pick?

I sat in the back room last season to witness how the lottery works, so I know it is next to impossible to rig the gusts of wind that boost ping-pong balls out the drum. But after the Wizards overcame 89.7 percent odds against winning the lottery, I had to wonder if the balls that formed the Wizards' number combinations were perhaps a little lighter than the others.

"I'm not that shocked," Leonsis said immediately after landing the rights to get either Kentucky point guard John Wall or Ohio State forward Evan Turner. "I just feel lucky. That's how I believe. That's how I behave. You get what you deserve. We deserve the first pick."

Did he know something? You have to admit that it's a little strange that Wizards not only claimed the top pick but also had the combinations for the third pick and fourth pick. How do you explain that? Fate?

Let's just roll with fate for now, because there arguably wasn't a more downtrodden, last-all-hope franchise than Washington that arrived in Secaucus, N.J. You had death, dissension, guns in the locker room, felony convictions, cost-cutting trades, season-ending suspensions, season-ending injuries, and a player-coach dustup. And, oh yeah, horrible basketball throughout.

The season was so bad the stink followed the players who got away as they had earlier than expected playoff ousters. Forget hope. The Wizards had a season full of nope.

Yes, the New Jersey Nets became just the third 70-loss team in the lottery era, but they can't claim that their star player was recently released from a halfway house. The Wizards had just completed the most miserable campaign in recent memory, coming off the heels of a terrible season the year before.

A year after landing the fifth pick despite the second-best odds of winning the lottery, the Wizards had the fifth-best chances in the lottery. Wizards fans, conditioned to pessimism, had to assume that the team would drop to eighth (especially after reading Dan Steinberg's blog item about the disaster that is the Wizards' luck in the lottery).

But now, the Wizards and their fans have finally been given reason for optimism. As Peter Biche, the Wizards president of business operations and chief financial officer, said afterward, "The bottom is behind us and we're on the upswing now."


Ready for me, D.C.? (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It's hard to argue with him now. It's also funny how the Wizards won the tiebreaker against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Clippers wound up winning Blake Griffin, then lost the tiebreaker against Golden State only to get the No. 1 pick this year.

The Wizards should've felt pretty confident before the ceremony. They became the fifth team with the fifth-best odds to win the lottery - the Charlotte Hornets (1991), the Golden State Warriors (1995), the Houston Rockets (2002) and the Toronto Raptors (2006). The team with the best odds has only won the lottery three times.

Irene Pollin, wearing the her late husband's 1978 Bullets championship ring, truly delivered in one of her final acts as majority owner of the Wizards. And her reaction when discovering that the Wizards had claimed the No. 1 pick was priceless.

"Oh my god," she said to no one in particular.

The District finally has some buzz surrounding its basketball team. About an hour after the lottery results came in, Grunfeld finally turned on his cellphone to find 63 text messages and 45 phone messages from friends and colleagues. "I didn't know you could store that many," Grunfeld said.

Wall, the dazzling point guard with the dashing dance skills, has been considered the consensus choice to go first overall, but I would dismiss Turner as an option. He was national player of the year and he's represented by David Falk, who has a long history with Leonsis (Remember, Falk helped broker the meeting with Leonsis that led to Michael Jordan joining the organization in 2000).

I can guarantee you that Leonsis probably didn't leave NBA Entertainment studios without getting a call - or two or five - from Falk pushing his client. And, with Gilbert Arenas playing the same position as Wall, you'd have to wonder if the Wizards decide to take a wing player.

"Right now, there seems to be a consensus on the No. 1 and No. 2 picks and I don't think we can go wrong either way," Leonsis said. "I'm going to let our staff do their work. Ultimately, it's the general manager's call. But if he wants to trade it, he'll have to come through me."

President Ernie Grunfeld has no plans of trading the pick. He planned on keeping the choice no matter where the Wizards landed. When asked about choosing between Wall and Turner, Grunfeld was noncommittal. He added that the presence of Arenas would not keep them from taking Wall.

Wall is also represented by Dan Fegan, who wanted to steer his client, Ricky Rubio, away from the Wizards last season. Fegan, Arenas's former agent, advised Arenas in the wake of his gun suspension, so he might be more amenable to having Wall sharing the same backcourt with him. If you recall, Coach Flip Saunders actually began to run a two-guard offense in which Shaun Livingston shined in the final weeks, with the hope of freeing Arenas of being the lone decision-maker on the court (Wait, did Saunders see Wall coming back then? Hmmm).

"It's not going to affect us in any way," Grunfeld said of picking Wall. "We've said all along, we expect Gilbert to back with us and he'll be back with us. You can never have enough good players. We're going to go with the best player available to us in our situation. Good players can play together, if that's what we need to do."

He then added, "Both of those players are outstanding players. Right now we're going to enjoy the moment."

When was the last time the Wizards could say that?

By Michael Lee  |  May 19, 2010; 1:41 AM ET
 
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Next: Q&A: First Things First with Dan Steinberg, 9:30 a.m.

Comments

JOHN WALL!!!!

Too good to be true actually.....

Posted by: Goelez | May 19, 2010 2:17 AM | Report abuse

To Dargreg and everyone else who falsely assumed Ted would axe either EG or FS or perhaps both upon taking over the team - told you so! Staying as they should.

As far as the lottery, I'm happy about it. But not as happy as I would be if there was a Duncan or O'Neil or some other franchise changing pick, which I don't believe there is in this draft. Instead there are a lot of very very good players. Franchise improvers - Yes. Franchise changers - I don't think so. Wall, to me, is Derrick Rose. And while DR is a very nice player, he is not a great player by any means. Right now, I would not even rank him as a top 5 PG in the NBA. I still say Turner is and will be the better of the two players while acknowledging the importance of the PG in today's NBA. It's not as much of a big man's league as it used to be, and I say this with a straight face as the Lakers and Celtics are probably heading to the Finals - two of the biggest teams in the league. Go figure!

Looks like Wall is going to be the guy, but I will not be surprised whatsoever if 2 or 3 other players in the lottery have much better NBA careers (i.e. Turner). Hell, this draft is so deep, that may be low balling.

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 19, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

should be one of the most exciting off-seasons in Wiz history...

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | May 19, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Neither luck nor fate had a hand in this. Thank you, David Stern.

I knew something was up the minute I saw him sitting down talking to Irene in the background during the pre-drawing commentary.

Now if we can only manage to not screw this up. Wall is the ONLY choice we should make. We have needs elsewhere but you can't [pass on a franchise type guy.

As much as I hate LeBron, this is now the best place for him. He has has surrounding talent, he has his Robin (Gil), he has young guys who excel when they run (Wall, AB, AB, NY), there's no incumbent sf (not that it would matter) and he has a city that is easily marketable.In addition, we have the cap space to afford to pay him him the max.

If we were smart (and I think Leonsis is) we would start an all out recruiting effort. A team with these guys could easily dominate for the next 5-7 years if we had the right coach and right philosophy.

pg- wall
sg- gil
sf - lebron
pf- blatche
c - mcgee

6th man - nick young


Run, baby. all out sprint.

I know what everyone will say. Those guards couldnt stop anybody. Well, nobody could stop us, either.

With James, Ab and JM behind them, they're good enough on D.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

I disagree a little, rphilli721. I think D Rose is a great player surrounded by average players. Put him in Boston and he's another Rondo.

Times like this are when we second guess ourselves and wind up with guys like Greg Monroe. Turner should not even be a consideration. I've watched them both and Wall is far and away the best player. He will immediately be a top 5 PG in this league.
If we decide to play uptempo, he'll be top 2 or three.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Rose is a phenom, you are crazy rphill! Choosing Wall is a no-brainer and it is the pick EG is going to make despite all the nonsense that will get thrown around between now and the draft.

Thank you Abe from above, this is just what the franchise desperately needed

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

EG Flip and TEd are not going to plan on Arenas any more.No need to trust him at this point.He should take what ever he is given and proff himself. no hesitation to pick wall, he is a future superstar.turner could be better at this pint but that is not going to be areason to pick him before wall.The smartest deision should be to sign livingston as a bak up PG.
The worest out come for this plan is the expeted distruction from Arenas.But it should be helpful to make the right deision.for the slightest sign of destrution arenas should be a bench warmer for a year.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 19, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Now this is really exciting.
I would really consider trading GA for draft choices.
We would then enter the season with optimism...
No more watching AJ floating beyond the arc...
No more CB turning it over forcing one on ones...
No more fumbled passes to BH...
No more GA laying 5 Ft off his man in Torreador defense...
An actual bball team with a true PG pushing the ball under control and feeding his team mates!
A young athletic and exciting unit, with even hungrier youngins fighting to get playing time.
Say what you will about EG and Twitch, but this turnaround though maybe not with immediate success, certainly is going to be exciting and fun!!!!
Remarkable to behold, me thinks!!!!

Posted by: mricklen | May 19, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Also the only top free agent I would be interested in is David Lee. A fighter with skills and not a me first team mate. A great addition, though understandably a long shot. But maybe not so much now?

Posted by: mricklen | May 19, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

If it were possible to move Arenas we would, but it's not, so he will be here next season. How that will work I am not sure, really cant allow him to dribble out the clock while Wall finds himself playing 2guard.

what say you lilhollywood??

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

David Lee would be a great FA target. I'd also like to see Blatche dealt for anyone that's not a headcase and can rebound. Take a big with 30 and Jordan Crawford with 34. Or I could see them trying to package those picks to move up a bit in the first round.

Oh and tell Gilbert that he's embarrassed and nearly ruined this franchise with his antics - but now he has a shot at redemption. Play your a$$ off at 2 with Wall running the show or become Stephon Marbury, choice is his.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 19, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse


Forget LeTravel - let someone else break the bank on him.

The Wizards play is to draft Wall and save their ammo for 2011 when we bring Kevin Durant home. A team built around Wall-Durant will be poised to compete in the East for the next decade.

Posted by: p1funk | May 19, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh and by the way, Kiss MY AZZ, Shaun Livingston.

It was clear that he just used the Wiz to get a better contract and was planning on bolting or trying to hold us up for more money. We gave him a shot and he acted like all he wanted was a fast one way ticket out of town.

Get out and STAY OUT! Good luck trying to stay in front of Wall on one good leg.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh please. The WIzards paid Shaun Livingston to play basketball. He played basketball and got paid. Both parties did what they were contractually obligated to do and both got all they had any right to expect out of the arrangement.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

So who do the clubs behind the Wiz draft?

76ers - consensus Turner, but do the Sixers really need another wing player? Dalembert wants out and Derrick Favors is still there. I dunno, it's a possibility.

NJ -- more consensus: the team doesn't need another big offensive guy to play beside Brook Lopez. If Favors is there, they take him; if Turner is there, they leap like bunnies.

Wolves -- altogether my favorite GM for sheer entertainment value. Who knows what this guy will do? If you draft Cousins, you move Jefferson to PF, but what do you do with Kevin Love? What Minkasota needs is a wing player. Is Aminu tempting enough? We know these people like the splashy trade...

Kings -- not really as unlucky as the pundits make out, because Cousins might still be there, and that's what they need. Monroe might go here as well, although scouts don't seem to love him as much as the local fans do.

Warriors -- Maybe Monroe is a Don Nelson sort of player. Big men seldom excel in a Nelson scheme, so maybe we should hope not.

Pistons -- well, they need almost everything. DraftExpress thinks they take Cole Aldrich, but IMO that's mostly a wild guess.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 19, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Oh and by the way, Kiss MY AZZ, Shaun Livingston."

Or as Shaq would say "Yo Shaun, tell me how my...."

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

LeBron wants three things

(1) A max deal, everybody knows that and has been lining up to prepare for that for 3 years.

(2)A city that is a major media center where he can be part of the celebrity scene. Everyone has assumed that NY or LA fit that bill. But as sports, politics, and the media, have blended into a melting pot for the mega rich, and mega powerful, DC is emerging as a new destination for the rich and famous.

Think BronBron wouldn't like to smooze with the most powerful people in the world? Or play for a man that's been a marketing genius in the new emerging forms of media?

DC isn't as far out of a choice as it might seem at first glance.

(3)LeBron wants to be competitive NEXT Year. No two year, three year building plan. He wants to step on the court with an instant contender. Doesn't need to be the favorite, but he wants to be the hero on a team that's starving to win.

With the addition of Wall, along with Arenas returning and adding a player like LeBron the Wiz could vault to the middle or top of the pack in the east, and could be instantly poised for a playoff run.

Speaking of run, O'Mark is right, LeBron is sick and tired of the plow horse plodding style of Cleveland. He was apparently chaffing under orders to pull up and slow the tempo and grind it out in the playoffs.

LeBron's game is built to run, in that way he's more similar to Magic then Jordan. He loves to create in the open floor.

With another scorer on the floor like Arenas, a playmaker like Wall, and two bigs that can run and fill it up on the break LeBron could have some real fun here.

Ted may have to go over the dreaded Luxury Tax to find a couple of additional peices. But his marketing will make up the difference plus a whole lot more. Imagine how many Red, White, and Blue LeBron Jerseys he'd sell.

It all may sound crazy, but nobody thought the Wiz would win the lottery either...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Warriors -- Maybe Monroe is a Don Nelson sort of player. Big men seldom excel in a Nelson scheme, so maybe we should hope not. "

It's probably a bit premature to assume that Nelson will still be around next season. But if he is, I could certainly see him going after Monroe. Nellie has always had a jones for the "point forward" (remember him in NY, trying to run the offense through Anthony Mason while Ewing stood around and watched?) Monroe is just the kind of big man Nellie likes, a guy with high all-around skill level who can face, the basket and pass well enough to initiate the offense.

The Pistons are in desperate need of a big man.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Lebron is not going to append his hopes to a 19-win team whose only proven playoff performer hasn't played more than half-a-season in three years and whose best, shining hope is a 19-year-old kid who hasn't played a nanosecond of NBA ball. Even with Wall, the Wiz have nothing to suggest that adding Lebron will vault them into immediate contention.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Every player/franchise deal is a two way financial obligation. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't show some appreciation to the team that gave you a shot when you were clearly on your way out of the league. We gave him a shot and showcased him. Sure, we needed him because we had no PG. Still, badmouthing a team on your way out that did nothing to you is low class.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Where and how exactly did Shaun Livingston "badmouth" the Wizards? Quotes and links, if you please.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Even with Wall, the Wiz have nothing to suggest that adding Lebron will vault them into immediate contention.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 9:59 AM

Of course it will, the Cavs took the #1 seed with a cast that wouldnt win 25 games without Lebron. And Flohr's point about DC being way more of a big deal (city wise) than it used to be is absolutely true. So is the part about Leonsis being a draw of sorts.

I'm not saying Lebron is coming here (or even that I want him to), but if he did the team would instantly be a top seed in the East

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

To follow up on my previous comment:

While I can definitely see Nellie being interested in Monroe, going to G.S. to play Nellie-ballcould be possibly the worst thing that could happen to Monroe in the draft.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

If Stern was going to rig the lottery for his old buddy Abe Pollin, I think he would have done it when we were positioned #2 in the lottery and gunning for a big run last year. Not AFTER Abe died.

Posted by: VeCente115 | May 19, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Even with Wall, the Wiz have nothing to suggest that adding Lebron will vault them into immediate contention."

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 9:59 AM

"Of course it will, the Cavs took the #1 seed with a cast that wouldnt win 25 games without Lebron."

A cast that it took them 6 years to put together (that's not "immediate contention" by any measure), featured three veteran all-stars other than Lebron, including one future unanimous 1st ballot HoFer (that takes care of the "proven playoff performer" part of my post), and that got unceremoniously bounced from the second round (which tends to undercut their "contender" status). What happened in Cleveland has jack-all to do with what's happening in Washington.

"And Flohr's point about DC being way more of a big deal (city wise) than it used to be is absolutely true."

No, it's not. Getting the #1 pick is nice and all, but it's not a free pass to the front of the line. A team still has to be built, games still have to be played and won. The only people who think getting the number one pick will instantly solve every problem are fans. Players know better.

"So is the part about Leonsis being a draw of sorts."

Why? What has Leonsis done in the NBA to make him a draw? Be the minority owner of a moribund franchise? His success in the NHL is of negligible value (if any) because the cultures of the two sports are different (as are the economics). Moreover, for all the positive PR and good vibes he's brought the Caps, what have they actually accomplished? Lots of regular season wins and a couple of disappointing early playoff exits. Yeah, there's a drawing card. Hell, the Wizards were doing that 5 years ago.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Even with Wall, the Wiz have nothing to suggest that adding Lebron will vault them into immediate contention.

No team does unless they are already in contention.

What we have is a combination of things that not many other teams have...

Lotsa cap room, a city with international exposure built in, a relatively new arena, a guy who doesnt want to be the leader and can be be a subordinate star (Gil), a big who commands some attention (AB), a young shotblocker (JM), young wing players who like to run and are better running (JM, AB, NY), a proven coach who's also a player's coach (Flip), an owner who is willing to spend money.

I'm not saying we should be his top choice. But do the Bulls have a better offering? Not in my opinion. The Bulls have Michael's legacy. Unless James wins 6 titles there, he will always be in that shadow no matter what he does. Here, he could win one and be a legend.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If wizards don't take Wall the Sixers will 110%. Their most glaring need is PG since andre miller left. Don't let wall be taken by another eastern conf rival.

Also nobody has addressed the Wizard's most dire need, LOW POST GAME. Wall and Arenas would be a great backcourt combo but we are still built like a jumpshooting team. Look where the Mavs ended up and Nowitzki is a step ahead of blatche in his jumpshots. Draft wall and give him a low post player to hand it to with the 30th pick. Better yet sign a free agent all-star. Theres plenty of them this summer Bosh, Boozer, Stoudemire, David Lee.
PG: Wall
SG: Arenas
SF: Thornton/ (Howard?)
PF: (Bosh, Boozer, Stoudemire, David Lee) / Blatche
C: MgGee / 30th pick

Posted by: jefferu | May 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Your opinion and mine of 'badmouthing' may be different.

"It's coming along, but we're still so far, so far from being a playoff-caliber team," he said. "I've been around winning basketball and have seen what it takes, and there's still that progression.

We're not that far from being a playoff caliber team. For a veteran to say so during the season means you've given up, IMO.
The word 'badmouthing' was perhaps a little strong. But I'm glad he's gone. I want guys on my team that are optimistic.
Anyway, let's pick nits about the draft comments and Wall, not some one-legged guy who made us his latest pitstop.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"But do the Bulls have a better offering?"

Yes. The Bulls have a young, All-Star pg who hasn't even hit his prime yet is a proven playoff performer. They have a stud big man who is a proven playoff performer. They have a proven playoff caliber team. They also have lots of cap space and play in a major market.

The Wizards have nothing but maybes and could-bes. If that's what Lebron wanted, he could stay in Cleveland (which it's entirely possible he may do).

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Who says Lebron wants to take the chincy way out and engineer a trade that puts him and DWade in the same city? There is a lot to be said (legacy) for doing it more on his own...if he still has the guts to try.

As to DC, we are talking the actual CITY, not the team. This aint the sleepy southern town of the '70s, DC is the real mccoy these days. As much exposure and market as any player needs.

And the Cavs went to the Finals in James' 2nd year didnt they? Of course any team that signs him is instantly contending

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Your opinion and mine of 'badmouthing' may be different."

Yeah, because my definition includes actually saying something negative while yours, based on that quote, simply means not expressing unbridled joy, enthusiasm, and unwavering commitment to re-signing with a team that won 19 games.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"And the Cavs went to the Finals in James' 2nd year didnt they? Of course any team that signs him is instantly contending""

They went to the Finals in his 4th year. Not exactly "instantly contending." To say nothing of the fact that (A) their getting to the Finals was a huge, unexpected upset and (B) they got swept.

"As to DC, we are talking the actual CITY, not the team. This aint the sleepy southern town of the '70s, DC is the real mccoy these days. As much exposure and market as any player needs."

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"As to DC, we are talking the actual CITY, not the team. This aint the sleepy southern town of the '70s, DC is the real mccoy these days. As much exposure and market as any player needs."

And that helps the team win games/titles how, exactly?

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

It has to do with the idea of being the billionaire, global icon he strives for and why a team like Oklahoma or Memphis could never dream of signing a player like that.

As for contending- what team is really offering that without also signing another mega-player? Is Lebron really going to team up with DWade (a past champion and in his prime) and get the kudos he is craving? Who knows, but DC has no shortage of CAP room, is a superb city, and just landed John Wall.

Posted by: divi3 | May 19, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Bosh is more of a a jumpshooter.

Boozer took 51% of his shots inside and he's physical.

No LeBron, fine. Move AB to sf and start Booz at the 4.

No matter what we do, we should win our share. Considering what we went through, we still won 26 games. Add Wall, pay Booz, speed up the pace, win 45 games this year.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, because my definition includes actually saying something negative while yours, based on that quote, simply means not expressing unbridled joy, enthusiasm, and unwavering commitment to re-signing with a team that won 19 games.

Which 19 win team are you talking about? We won 26 last year.

And that's with a bunch of castoffs. Wall and Rose are comparable. I'd take Wall and I've watched a lot of both.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

And that helps the team win games/titles how, exactly?

Despite your assertions and James's proclamations, he's in it more than just to win. Witness allowing his team to give up and not foul in the last minutes of a crucial game.
While it's politically correct to say that winning is the end all, the truth is that money is the main key. Sure he can get the highest salary in Cleveland. But will he get the media exposure and endorsement opportunities (read $$) that a NY, LA, Chicago or DC offers? Nope. He's already stated his real goal of becoming a global icon. He can do that anywhere but DC offers a little more of that exposure that he wants than Chicago...with no MJ shadow.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

But will he get the media exposure and endorsement opportunities (read $$) that a NY, LA, Chicago or DC offers? Nope. He's already stated his real goal of becoming a global icon. He can do that anywhere but DC offers a little more of that exposure that he wants than Chicago...with no MJ shadow.
Posted by: original_mark

In terms of marketing and advertising, DC is not in the same category as NY, LA or Chicago. He may stay out of Chicago to avoid MJ's shadow, but in terms of marketing and advertising opportunities, Chicago is far ahead of DC.

Posted by: ts35 | May 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Who says Lebron wants to take the chincy way out and engineer a trade that puts him and DWade in the same city? There is a lot to be said (legacy) for doing it more on his own...if he still has the guts to try.
Posted by: divi3

Why is that the chincy way out? Is MJ's legacy lessened because he had Pippen? Wishful thinking on your part.

O_m and divi, everything you're talking about as an appeal the Wizards might have, other teams have as well. New York is the only team in real contention for LeBron that doesn't have at least a couple of good players already present. But it is the biggest market and has MSG and cap space to sign another max player. Chicago has Rose and Noah and Deng will either be there or be traded for another good player; New Jersey has Harris, Lopez, Yi, Favors (or Turner), and a billionaire owner who's talking LeBron's language about becoming a global icon. Miami has a proven champ in Wade, other tested playoff players and South Beach.

I think Wall at least puts DC in the picture as a possible destination in the LeBron lottery, but I think we have about the same probability as the 14th team did in the NBA lottery. We went from no chance at all to slim-to-none.

Also, everyone keeps talking about our 'running' bigs in JM and AB. I grant you players run harder when they know someone like Wall is running the break and will give up the rock. But have ou seriously watched those guys run? In particular, did y'all watch JM consistently get beaten down court by guys like Bogut and Okur? I'm sure his asthma or whatever condition he has, and his conditioning play a role, but let's not overestimate his running until we see actual improvement in his conditioning.

Posted by: ts35 | May 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"Rose is a phenom"

lol....and you called me crazy??? He was a college phenom perhaps, but to call him a pro phenom is absurd. Like I said, at this point, he is just a very good player. If DR is your best player, you are NEVER winning an NBA championship, which is something you hope to get with the 1st pick in the draft. That was the whole point of my post. Derron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo are all better than Rose with players like Westbrook, Evans, and Jennings being in the same ballpark as him. That hardly puts him in a phenom category.

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 19, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

So who do the clubs behind the Wiz draft?

76ers - consensus Turner, but do the Sixers really need another wing player? Dalembert wants out and Derrick Favors is still there. I dunno, it's a possibility.

NJ -- more consensus: the team doesn't need another big offensive guy to play beside Brook Lopez. If Favors is there, they take him; if Turner is there, they leap like bunnies.

Wolves -- altogether my favorite GM for sheer entertainment value. Who knows what this guy will do? If you draft Cousins, you move Jefferson to PF, but what do you do with Kevin Love? What Minkasota needs is a wing player. Is Aminu tempting enough? We know these people like the splashy trade...

Kings -- not really as unlucky as the pundits make out, because Cousins might still be there, and that's what they need. Monroe might go here as well, although scouts don't seem to love him as much as the local fans do.

Warriors -- Maybe Monroe is a Don Nelson sort of player. Big men seldom excel in a Nelson scheme, so maybe we should hope not.

Pistons -- well, they need almost everything. DraftExpress thinks they take Cole Aldrich, but IMO that's mostly a wild guess.

Posted by: Samson151

Obviously assuming (and hopefully you're right) that the Wiz take Wall

So Johnson is out of your top 7?

The Sixers will work out Favors and Turner. If Favors makes a big impression they might go that route, but my thought is that they take Turner and get rid of other pieces that don't fit.

NJ takes whoever out of the top 3 drops to them (Wall, Favors, Turner)

Wolves - Probably whoever they like better between Johnson and Aminu. I think Johnson because he's a better shooter right now. But if someone wants to come up and get Cousins, they definitely could trade it. They have a lot of flexibility with their extra picks. There are a lot of good perimeter players they can pick up later. Because Jefferson and Love tend to occupy the same area, there's an outside chance they try to move one of those two and draft Monroe who pairs better with either one.

Kings - Cousins probably makes the most sense if he drops. Because they have a good young PF/C type in Thompson, they could also take Monroe and play them together with Casspi as a decent frontcourt. They could also reach for someone like Avery Bradley to form an interesting tandem in the backcourt with Evans

Warriors - If it's Nelson and Aminu drops to them, I think that's who he takes. Without Aminu, he picks whoever he likes best between Monroe, Davis, or Cousins.

Pistons - Monroe. He doesn't exactly fit what they need, but if he's there he represents the best value.

Posted by: ts35 | May 19, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

In terms of marketing and advertising, DC is not in the same category as NY, LA or Chicago. He may stay out of Chicago to avoid MJ's shadow, but in terms of marketing and advertising opportunities, Chicago is far ahead of DC.

Ok. I'm a homer. I see a lot of potential in DC.

Posted by: original_mark | May 19, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

You ABSOLUTELY have to go with Wall! Like Magic said Turner is great player but Wall is a game changer and brings instant excitement. Also, am I the only one seeing this but I think putting him alongside Gilbert would give the Wiz an Incredible backcourt! People seem to forget that Arenas was one of the best players in the NBA just a few years ago. If he can even come close to where he was then, he and wall would put tremendous pressure on any opposing team (like Double Jeopardy - Anyone remember Isiah Thomas/Joe Dumars who played together?) Throw in an up and coming Andray Blatche, LOT's of money to spend on free agents, 2 additional draft picks and other possibilies (if Josh Howard can return to form - he could come off the bench)....The Wizards could have a very interesting year.

Posted by: goscott2 | May 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Neither luck nor fate had a hand in this. Thank you, David Stern."

I think that also. :)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | May 19, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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