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John Wall to be Wizards top choice

When asked on Thursday if the Wizards planned to take Kentucky point guard John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, new owner Ted Leonsis said he was "not allowed to" make that announcement.


It's me. Me! (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

"It's good theater for the NBA to have people wondering what we're going to do," Leonsis said at his introductory press conference at Verizon Center. "I won't make the pick, our General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, will make the pick."

Wonder no more. Although the Wizards have yet to saying anything official, Wall will be Grunfeld's choice for the June 24 NBA draft. There was little mystery with the decision, but Wall is the only player the Wizards have scheduled for a workout for the top choice - and that will remain the case.

David Falk, agent for Ohio State junior Evan Turner, said that his client would not work out for the Wizards. Falk and Turner were both in attendance at Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Boston. Falk said Turner would only work out for Philadelphia, which holds the No. 2 pick, on June 17 - the same day Wall will work out for the Wizards. Wall is currently scheduled to workout for the 76ers the day before.

Turner has been preparing for the draft in Columbus, Ohio, but said he got away for a few days to spend time with D.C.-based trainer Idan Ravin who is known as the "Hoops Whisperer." The 21-year-old Turner, who swept nearly every player of the year award, conceded that Wall would go first, saying, "I did all that I could do."

Wall, the flashy, fast and athletic point guard, provides an immediate box office attraction for the Wizards, who have had back-to-back lottery seasons. Wall signed a shoe contract worth a reported five-years and $25-million with Reebok, which is hoping that the 19-year-old can carry the brand after the retirement of former league's most valuable player and Georgetown standout Allen Iverson.

The Wizards' leanings have not been a secret, with Coach Flip Saunders saying that Wall had the potential to "revolutionize the position." And, it was obvious from the night that the franchise won the NBA draft lottery, when Leonsis was spotted doing the teapot-inspired dance that Wall popularized in his one season in Lexington, K.Y.

By Michael Lee  |  June 11, 2010; 12:54 AM ET
 
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Comments

"When asked on Thursday if the Wizards planned to take Kentucky point guard John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, new owner Ted Leonsis said he was "not allowed to" make that announcement."

This is silly. The NBA should just follow the NFL's lead and allow the team with the #1 pick to sign their choice outright without having to wait for the actual draft.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 11, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

I wamt wall in a wiz uni, but they might not want to anounce it also to build hype around the team for it's own personel gain. shi- it seem's to be working for Lebron.

Posted by: dakel76 | June 11, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I recall hearing that the Baltimore Bullets were named after a type of shot in the game of pool. In the mid-20th century Baltimore was known as a famous pool playing town and there was a specific shot called a Baltimore Bullet.

Has anyone else ever heard this story? Incidentally, there is a movie with Lee Marvin (I believe) from around 1980 that is called "The Baltimore Bullet" and it is about pool hustling. I watched it hoping to learn what a Baltimore Bullet is but they never displayed the shot or even mentioned it.

Posted by: MeviousMan | June 11, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Ted did not spend hundreds of millions of dollars to just let Ernie make a pick...for the no.one choice.
A key in the draft will be what the Bullets (opps, the wizards) do with picks 30 and 35.
The team needs some inside power and rebounding. also, they are a terrible 3 point shooting team...not Wall`s strength.

Posted by: blazerguy234 | June 11, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

From what Ted was saying publicly, I was hoping he and Ernie were going to find a way to get more draft picks. I think that would be a good idea.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | June 11, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Wall
The Washington Bullets
New Start!
Smile

Posted by: shamken | June 11, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

For a name that's got nothing to do with Washington, the town or its people, I really prefer the Meat Packers over the Bullets.

It could gain a fame and identity just as incongruous as New York's team, the Knickerbockers, named after some Dutchman long forgotten. Or like Los Angeles's famous ten thousand lakes, and Utah's being named for its famed entertainment music Jazz.

But seriously folks, let's give it a try. Perhaps we do have the world's best thinkers, doers and problem solvers in our metropolis. Let's support the Wizards.

Posted by: rickgonz | June 11, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Disgaree. Gil as The Man is over. Wall gets the keys to the car, as in, he's the PG and will be the primary ball handler. He's going to be the decision maker on the floor and the guy running the offense. Flip is going to be trying to mold him into the PG he so frequently says he needs for his system to work.

That is exactly why it's difficult to envision Gil and Wall in the backcourt together, because unless Gill willingly takes a backseat- then you end up forcing Wall to spend time at the 2 position while Gil dominates the ball.

There is major role for Gil on the team, but in drafting Wall #1 overall, the franchise is being turned over to him in a sense.

Both guys need the ball in their hands, you owe one of them $80mill and the other you drafted as a franchise player. Tricky situation...

Posted by: divi3

So Leonsis saying that Gil is the "most valuable asset" and "his major deliverable is to come back and be a great part of this next generation Wizard franchise and what we're trying to accomplish" not true? Based on what? Does anybody really believe that another team will pay Gil $80M after returning from the injury and then the suspension? For that matter it doesn't appear that a buyout is imminent as Ted is pushing "that Gil be re-embraced as a person and as a player".

Ted sounds like a person who has a forgiving nature, not a person who is holier than thou.

There are always #1 picks that don't get the keys to the franchise. And I don't mean Wall can't earn them, but it would be stupid of Ted to give them to him right from the jump. It will be proven on the court. Since 1990, the #1, #1 in my opinion, has gotten the keys about 7 to 9 times or less than 50% of the time.

Let it play out on the court.

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 11, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

"This is silly. The NBA should just follow the NFL's lead and allow the team with the #1 pick to sign their choice outright without having to wait for the actual draft."

See the culture around here is changing already, I 100% agree with Kalo on this. ;)

What is the world coming to? :)

"I recall hearing that the Baltimore Bullets were named after a type of shot in the game of pool."

I sent an email to Ted yesterday for kicks. I doubt he will return it, but urged him to use the old "Baltimore Bullet" insignia/logo for the Washington Wizards. I even came up with a quicky rendition of what "Washington Wizard" would look like on that logo with red, white, and blue.

I don't think they are ever going to change the name back to "Bullets" but they can erase the bad vibes associated with that hideous teal blue and that goofy looking "Wizard" as the team logo.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 11, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I hear all of you concerned about the overall pick, but we need to players with heart and intensity (Big Baby slobber and all). We have a shooter, Arenas (not quite Ray Allen) we just need to play fundamental defense and everything else will fall into place. Oh yea we should keep the Wizards and change the colors (adjust it) so it doesn't look like the Atlanta Hawks. I feel good about the future.

Posted by: Ty_the_DC_B-Ball_Fan | June 11, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"Does anybody really believe that another team will pay Gil $80M after returning from the injury and then the suspension?"

No, he's going to be here at least one more year. But if he doesn't put up 25 a night you're going to see him gone next year for sure.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 11, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

rmcazz

Do you really think he will put up 25 a night sharing the backcourt with Wall, but playing off the ball? Blatche needs to be involved too.

After next year, you still have to have a team who is willing to pick up $60M of remaining contract. Is it impossible? No. Is it likely. The answer to that is no too.

Ted realizes the reality. Y'all need to accept the reality.

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 11, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Yes, indeed.

Ernest Grunfeld will make the most important pick in recent franchise history and it will be the right pick for the Wizards.

Leonsis is letting the man do what he is paid to do and recognizes that Ernest's job would be made easier if he had the type of support most GMs enjoy. Ted knows the scouting department has been operating on a shoe-string budget for decades and will beef up that area of the organization, as suggested a few weeks ago.

Next on the agenda? Securing an additional first-rounder to add more talent to the roster. Ernest will make it happen.

In Grunfeld WE Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 11, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

G-Mann11, who will be the PG next season? John Wall or Gil?

If the answer is John Wall, then he's going to be the focal point of the offense. That doesnt mean he'll score more than Gil, but it means he'll be getting Gil buckets rather than Arenas dominating the ball.

That's a fundamental difference in the role Arenas has had here....no guarantees it will work.

Posted by: divi3 | June 11, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Considering we're going to stink for the next year or two anyway, I'd like to see both GV and Hayes in the heezy. Wall will generate excitement on the national level, GV and EH on the local level.

Gilbert's yesterday's news. And by the way, he's not the team's biggest asset, he's its biggest liability.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | June 11, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

divi

I agree. That is the big difference and is tantamount to putting a square peg in a round hole. I think that it will be a combo thing though like with Gil 60% of the time, and Larry 40%, in reverse with Wall getting 60% and Gil 40%. Wall pushing the break and Gil spotting up. Wall running the show most of the time with Gil playing 2-guard, but in crunch time, Gil will be Gil until Wall proves he can carry the team.

Defensively, it is a whole different story.

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 11, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse


Gilbert's yesterday's news. And by the way, he's not the team's biggest asset, he's its biggest liability.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | June 11, 2010 9:13 AM

Agreed. Ted realizes he has to put the best spin on it to enhance the chances of dumping this guy. If his devious plan works out, Gil will be in another uni no later than October. ;-)

Posted by: bobabuie | June 11, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Accept reality

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 11, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

You do realize Ted's reality is different from ours, don't you?

Posted by: bobabuie | June 11, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Everyone that thinks Gilbert switching to the 2 spot is bad for Gil are wrong. Gilbert isn't a true point guard anyway. He is a shooter. The point guard is the floor general that gets his team involved. A point should never have to be the primary scorer for your team. The shooting guard should be with as many open looks as he should get.

Posted by: psock1 | June 11, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I would love to have Wall @ #1; as it has been adequately stated we need another big man. It would be nice if we could parlay those picks for a Stoudimire or take pick #30 & #35 and move up to #15- #20. Between this year and next we should be setting ourselves up for a continued presence in the NBA playoff dance with perhaps an appearance to the big dance within 5 years. Still a huge Lakers fan but I'm starting to look at the new girl on the block and since I grew up in her neighborhood she is sure starting to look good and one I can fantacize about. Now for the Redksins...

Posted by: anointedebony | June 11, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards got the number one pick in the draft and Gilbert is an afterthought now. What did Ted say about Gilbert...he said Gilbert's major deliverable is that he come back and be a great part of the next-generation Wizards franchise and what we're trying to accomplish. Gilbert is no longer the franchise player, he will just be another role player with a large contract like so many in the league already. Ted Leonsis said we're moving on to the next generation, of the John Wall's not the Gilbert Arenas's.

Posted by: ania2007 | June 11, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

just as incongruous as New York's team, the Knickerbockers, named after some Dutchman long forgotten. Or like Los Angeles's famous ten thousand lakes, and Utah's being named for its famed entertainment music Jazz.

Posted by: rickgonz

I don't think they can do it because of tradition and marketing issues, etc, but even since the Hornets moved to New Orleans, I have thought they should be allowed to swap names with Utah aka 'The Beehive State'. The New Orleans Jazz and the Utah Hornets makes much more sense.

Posted by: ts35 | June 11, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

For anybody that heard Flip's interview the morning after the lottery drawing this should be no surprise at all. He let the cat out of the bag then. He was asked if he was doing the John Wall dance and he said "we're all doing the John Wall dance", and then he caught himself and said, "and we're doing the Evan Turner dance and all those other dances."

As for Wall and Gil together I think if Gil embraces the change it could be a great backcourt. The two guard could be great for him. He'll still get opportunities to break down the defense himself, but he'll also have Wall getting him some easy shots. I really think together they can create some matchup problems for other teams.

Posted by: drfunknsoul | June 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Everyone that thinks Gilbert switching to the 2 spot is bad for Gil are wrong. Gilbert isn't a true point guard anyway. He is a shooter. The point guard is the floor general that gets his team involved. A point should never have to be the primary scorer for your team. The shooting guard should be with as many open looks as he should get.

Posted by: psock1 | June 11, 2010 9:52 AM

psock1,

There are some here that totally understand what you have just written and it is so true. But there are others that can't let the haterism for Gilbert see past the fact that the basketball on the floor is perfectly suited for Gill playing the two and Wall running the show.

They also are unwilling to believe that Gilbert can be a team player and an asset to the team on and off the floor.

All of that being said, that doesn't mean that Gilbert has and must stay here. But for people to still be of the opinion that Gilbert is done, overthehill, and just shoudn't be given the light of day is just plain foolish.

Gilbert Arenas got a max money contract mostly because of his own personal drive and hard work put out by his own self motivation to prove people wrong so that they would see that he could and would be a very good NBA player.

Now a player with that type of self motivation, drive, I would not bet against. It still amazes me however, how many bloggers here think that Gilbert is a dud.

We will see, whether it is here or somewhereselse'.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | June 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

For the record, the Baltimore Bullets were so named to recognize the major munitions plants in Baltimore during WW2 (Sparrows Point and Fells Point), combined with being "faster than a speeding bullet" from Superman.

It has nothing to do with pool.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | June 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD - Good points. however, i am hesitant to buy in on Arenas not out of hater-ade but because he is an incomplete player. No doubt Arenas is a baller pending good health. The aspect of Arenas game i am looking for vast improvement is defense. if he's not going to pull his own weight on the defensive end he will continue to be a cancer to this team. I love teh NBA playoffs, but they are so long you tend to forget how bad the Wiz actually are. the disparity between the Wiz and these teams are cavernous! Just the defense being played alone is monumental. And the Wiz are no where on the radar for playing defense like these teams. they have not adopted it all.

I can tell you know basketball. you know if your man guy gives a shtty effort, the rest will follow suit. Arenas must step this part of his game up. i want him back, and with his me against the world attitude he has a lot to prove this year. if healthy, Arenas is going to be incredible this year.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 11, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

You all can twist and turn Ted's words all you want but Gilbert will be a Wizard next year and all of you summarizing is for naught.The one thing I learned about this new owner is he shoots from the hip and says what he means. Why is it so hard to believe that he wants Gil as a part of "his" organizaion. Unlike most on this supposedly Wizard blog, Ted believes in forgiveness. Wow, what a novel concept. But, I guess you all will continue with your dream trades of Gilbert until Gil actually appears on court in a uni. Maybe then you will get it. If Ted did not believe Gibert was going to be part of this team, he would not have answered. He has answered this question time and time again in favor of Gil, but you all refuse to believe it.

Posted by: ivyleague

So we should expect Crit to be forgiven and embraced and resigned and be on the team next year?

Posted by: ts35 | June 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

You all can twist and turn Ted's words all you want but Gilbert will be a Wizard next year and all of you summarizing is for naught.The one thing I learned about this new owner is he shoots from the hip and says what he means. Why is it so hard to believe that he wants Gil as a part of "his" organizaion. Unlike most on this supposedly Wizard blog, Ted believes in forgiveness. Wow, what a novel concept. But, I guess you all will continue with your dream trades of Gilbert until Gil actually appears on court in a uni. Maybe then you will get it. If Ted did not believe Gibert was going to be part of this team, he would not have answered. He has answered this question time and time again in favor of Gil, but you all refuse to believe it.

Posted by: ivyleague

So we should expect Crit to be forgiven and embraced and resigned and be on the team next year?

Posted by: ts35 | June 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So we should expect Crit to be forgiven and embraced and resigned and be on the team next year?

Posted by: ts35

Crit hasn't done what Gil has. Crit was and is a marginal role player. No more no less.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | June 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

You all can twist and turn Ted's words all you want but Gilbert will be a Wizard next year and all of you summarizing is for naught.The one thing I learned about this new owner is he shoots from the hip and says what he means. Why is it so hard to believe that he wants Gil as a part of "his" organizaion. Unlike most on this supposedly Wizard blog, Ted believes in forgiveness. Wow, what a novel concept. But, I guess you all will continue with your dream trades of Gilbert until Gil actually appears on court in a uni. Maybe then you will get it. If Ted did not believe Gibert was going to be part of this team, he would not have answered. He has answered this question time and time again in favor of Gil, but you all refuse to believe it.

Posted by: ivyleague

So we should expect Crit to be forgiven and embraced and resigned and be on the team next year?

Posted by: ts35 | June 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

crit doesnt have an 80 mill dollar contract like gill or a history of major injury thats hard to trade away.

Posted by: ltpeach2 | June 11, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Crit hasn't done what Gil has. Crit was and is a marginal role player. No more no less.

Posted by: thecomedian1
So it goes without saying he shouldn't be forgiven.
Next!

Posted by: bobabuie | June 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

How can you say that Wall is the ONLY player the Wizards are working out when TODAY, 6/11, they worked out EVAN TURNER? Some Insider!

Posted by: PhillyCats | June 11, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Gil has proven already in this league no one else on the team or prospect has proven them self yet. Let's not forget the extent of time off Gil had due to his injury was more based on his work ethic. He could have sat out like Stackhouse, larry Hughes but he came back early. What if Caron or Blatche developed that work ethic. I'll wait till next season. Right nowthis is still the Wizards and Wall is still an unproven rookie just like Blake Griffin. No to Stoudemire his defense is just as bad as the big three. I don't care how many dunks he gets the difference between the Lakers and Suns was not just Kobe but the Lakers were able to make stops and score. Who can Stoudemire stop.

Posted by: bonggong | June 11, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

How can you say that Wall is the ONLY player the Wizards are working out when TODAY, 6/11, they worked out EVAN TURNER? Some Insider!

Posted by: PhillyCats | June 11, 2010 4:23 PM


The Wizards canceled the workout with Turner.

Posted by: bobabuie | June 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon's been ranting about getting a Turkoglu for Arenas deal together and I agree with him. Sorry, too much water under the bridge with Arenas for him to ever truly flourish again in DC. I don't see him returning to anything close to hero status here. Time to move on bc it's in the interest of both parties.

Posted by: rphilli721 | June 11, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Arenas is welcome back as long as he agrees to play off-guard and in the system the coach is running.

It's a brave new world, Gilbert :-)

Posted by: leopard09 | June 11, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Arenas is welcome back as long as he agrees to play off-guard and in the system the coach is running.

It's a brave new world, Gilbert :-)

Posted by: leopard09 | June 11, 2010 10:14 PM

100% AGREE WITH YOU HOWEVER WE EATHER PLAY ARENAS OR EAT 80 MILLON DOLLARS BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WHATS THAT BIG CONTRACT FOR A PLAYER THAT HAS PLAYED VERY LITTLE OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS WITH THAT SAID I DO BELEAVE GIL CAN COME BACK AND BE CLOSE TO THE PLAYER HE WONCE WAS YOU CAN DO IT GIL :)

Posted by: ltpeach2 | June 12, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't let Arenas within a hundred miles of Wall, unless it's with another team!

Posted by: slimjim21787 | June 12, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Great comments but lets not forget Gil ran the 2 position with another great PG in Mike Bibby at AZ for two years with no problems back in college. Plus the C's seem to have the best blueprint for winning a championship on the eastcoast, so why not keep Gil for atleast a year to see if he could be like Ray Allen in Boston. In terms of shooting and energy, I think they have the same daddy. Wall would cancel out Rondo and Blache could atleast attempt to hold Paul, and get abused. And the Wiz could draft players w/ #30-#35 to contend in the paint w/ the C's bigs. I like Dexter Pittman, Travor Booker, Omar Sanham, The kid they call big Tiny and the guy from GT.

Posted by: jerryharper19 | June 12, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Wilbon's been ranting about getting a Turkoglu for Arenas deal together and I agree with him. "

HELL no. Turkoglu is a paycheck player. He's got notoriously bad work habits, little interest in conditioning, and is now apparently a locker room problem. And really, why the hell do the Wizards need to start bringing in more guys with big man size and little man game when they've finally gotten rid of (almost) all the ones they had?

It show be a huge red flag that Turk has played for a number of very good, playoff caliber teams in his time but, come contract time, not a single one of them has been willing to pony up the cash to keep him around. Apparently he's real good at wearing out his welcome.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 12, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

good analysis, larry: the haters are stupid to not recognize how it will play out. this kid's speed will allow him to get downcourt for layups AND gil and whomever else to spot up for the j or otherwise secondary break action. i say again: we will have a good team next season. still think we got the wrong coach, though...

Posted by: dcjazzman | June 13, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

turkoglu for gilbert??? is wilbon crazy? or just plain stupid. turkoglu did squat this season with his new team. know why? cuz there were MANY options when he was in orlando that allowed him to "sneak up" on defenders. this guy is NOT an exceptional player.

Posted by: dcjazzman | June 13, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

So we should expect Crit to be forgiven and embraced and resigned and be on the team next year?

Posted by: ts35

Crit hasn't done what Gil has. Crit was and is a marginal role player. No more no less.

Posted by: thecomedian1

Ahh, so it's not so much about understanding and forgiveness as business....

Posted by: ts35 | June 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

How can you say that Wall is the ONLY player the Wizards are working out when TODAY, 6/11, they worked out EVAN TURNER? Some Insider!

Posted by: PhillyCats | June 11, 2010 4:23 PM

The Wizards canceled the workout with Turner.

Posted by: bobabuie

I thought his agent David Falk cancelled the workout with the Wiz. But the overall point is the same. It was cancelled because no one expects the Wiz to take anyone but Wall.

Posted by: ts35 | June 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

My friends, the one thing most of you are forgetting is that all this time off has allowed Gilbert Arenas time to heal.

He will be ice cold and focused. At his natural position of shooting gaurd he will average over 40 point per game.

You heard it here first.

PS. Mr. Leonis, please make them keep Josh Howard. When he came on board, we started winning. Josh is dangerous.

One more thing and I am out.

Picture this, John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, Andrea Blatch, ...the very tough Mike Miller and any center

Posted by: upscalechef | June 15, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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