Ernie Grunfeld: "We still have a lot of work ahead of us"
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld spoke with reporters at Verizon Center to discuss the recent trade with Atlanta Hawks that yielded Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a first-round draft pick. He offered an assessment of the team and the course that it plans to take going forward. Gene Wang was in attendance and here's the rundown:
"I think for one year we've come a long way considering where we were last year at this time. We had a game plan to rebuild the team and to get assets and to build through the draft and to develop our young players, so right now between last year and this year's draft, we'll have six first-round picks. Some of our young players who've been with us like JaVale [McGee], Andray [Blatche] and Nick [Young] are developing. They're going to get considerable minutes, and then we've put ourselves in a real good financial situation going forward as far as the salary cap is concerned. We still have a lot of work to do. We know that, but considering where we were at last year and where we are right now, we have to feel pretty good about that."
On such a fast roster turnover: "You never know. We just wanted to buckle down and do the best job we possibly could. It's never an easy process. Obviously we're all very competitive, and we want to win, and losing hurts us, and I hope it always hurts us. That's the way it should be. We understood what we were getting into with this rebuild, and we're going to keep going forward, and we're going to keep working hard. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're headed in the right direction, and I think we've left ourselves some good flexibility."
On when the team can be judged solely on wins and losses: "I don't think that's what we went into the season with. We didn't go in it with being judged on wins and losses. What we want to be judged on is the assets we accumulate, how hard we play, how competitive we are, player development and making progress as we go along and putting ourselves in a financial situation where we can make some moves down the road. I think we've accomplished some of those things, but as I said we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
On Leonsis saying team is done stockpiling picks: "Obviously every year you have a draft pick unless you trade it, so we're going to keep working through that, but right now like I said and Ted has said, the plan was to get assets and to get a substantial amount of draft picks. At the same time, we understand that you do need some veterans, and you need some players maybe through free agency or through a draft type of situation that may bolster the team."
On handling 20-point losses: "Those are difficult. One of things we're going to be looking for is that everybody is going to be evaluated as we move forward, and nobody likes to lose, and we want to see effort every single night. We want to see our young players improve. We want to see player development continue as the season progresses, and we hopefully can improve as the season goes along. Those are several things we'll be looking for, and we're not going to be happy if we're not winning, and I hope our players feel the same way."
On letting Hinrich go: "Kirk is a very good player, very good in the locker room, hard-nosed competitor, very professional, but when you want to get something in this business, you've got to give up something. We're heading in a different direction. Kirk is in his 30s now, and we're a few years away from being where we want to be, and hopefully the assets that we picked up in this trade will help us down the road and for many years to come."
On Jordan Crawford: "He's a very athletic player. He's a good shooter. He's a good scorer. He's a competitive kid. He can play both positions, but right now he's probably more of a scorer than a point guard. He's a competitive kid who likes to play the game. He was first-round pick. We followed him very closely throughout his college career, and then last year we liked him in the draft. He's someone who has potential. How much he's going to get out of it will be up to him and how hard he competes and how much he improves, but we're looking forward to seeing what he can do for us."
On the moves around the league: "This is probably one of the busiest trade deadlines in a long time. Big, big names being traded. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, and there's a lot of good players who got traded also. Jeff Green getting trade. Obviously Kirk getting traded, so there were a lot of name players getting trade, and lot of the playoff teams were loading up for playoff runs, and there were a lot of opportunities. Of course everybody needs to know what happens in the new rules, the new CBA, so I think teams that in the playoffs are loading up, and other teams are positioning themselves for the new day."
On Bibby helping Wall: "He's a veteran guy. John obviously is averaging a lot of minutes, and we want him to play a lot of minutes to get the experience that he needs, and I think he's making good progress, so I think Bibby will be a good complement for him, try to team. Bibby's been around a long time."
On what positions are most needed: "When you have a young team like ours, we need help at most positions, and really the players will tell us what positions we need to bolster by how they perform the rest of the season and what kind of potential we feel they have going forward."
| February 25, 2011; 8:02 PM ET
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