As if our nation’s capitol didn’t have enough problems. The Washington Wizards have been an absolute atrocity since they last made the playoffs in 2007-2008. The days of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are long gone and so are the days of preparing for playoff games, at least for the time being.
Since the 2008-2009 season, the Wizards have won 88 games, including the 20 games they won this season. They have a promising point guard (John Wall), but the rest of the roster is very poor. They traded JaVale McGee and Nick Young during the current season and received Nene’s $13 mil-a-year contract in return. McGee and Young were guys who have never won anything in their careers, cared about themselves more than their teammates, and didn’t possess the mental-toughness that it takes to succeed in the league. Do I still think McGee and Young can be good players? Of course I do, but they weren’t a good fit for the Wizards current roster.
Washington has a lot of needs to fill this upcoming offseason and they can fill some of them in the draft. They have a few players that have outrageous contracts, including Rashard Lewis ($22,699,550 not guaranteed) and Andray Blatche ($7,118,502). For their entire contract situation you can find the complete list here.
Washington has three draft picks in the upcoming draft (one in the first round and two in the second round). More than likely, they will end up with a top five pick in the draft and possibly a top three pick if the balls roll their way. They have their point guard (Wall) and a decent two guard (Jordan Crawford). I don’t know if they have a lot of faith in Jan Vesely being the answer at the small forward spot, but they also have Chris Singleton, who I think is a nice player. Their power forward spot is ridiculous; they have money tied into Blatche, Trevor Booker, and Kevin Seraphin, and the center spot is filled by Nene.
They have five unrestricted free agents and might end up not re-signing any of them. That would leave them with 10 players on their current roster (guys I didn’t mention were [Rashard] Lewis and Shelvin Mack). If Lewis is paid his $22+ million next season, the Wizards will have a total of $58,632,447 under contract for next season and if the current salary cap stays at $60,000,000, they wouldn’t have much money to spend on adding a free agent. But if they can somehow get rid of Lewis’ contract, they would have $35,932,897 under contract, giving them $24,067,103 to spend on signing draft picks, free agents, and re-signing players.
I covered some of their positional needs in a previous paragraph, but who and what position should they take in the draft? If they get lucky and end up with the #1 pick, they will take Kentucky’s power forward Anthony Davis. But I am thinking they will end up with the #2 pick in the draft and they should take Kansas’ power forward Thomas Robinson. Robinson will give Wall some to throw the ball to inside and he will give the Wizards an inside presence they desperately need.
If they fall out of the top two in the draft here’s what they should do:
If they get the third pick, they should draft Kentucky’s small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (he would bring a work ethic that most players on the Wizards lack).
If they get the fourth pick, they should draft Florida’s shooting guard Bradley Beal (despite having Crawford, Beal will be a better fit for the Wizards).
If they get the fifth pick, they should draft North Carolina’s small forward Harrison Barnes.
With their two second round picks they should be looking to add depth to their roster. You can find some good glue-guys in the second round. Michigan State’s Draymond Green would be an excellent fit for this team. Despite being a “tweener”, Green would bring leadership to the Wizards. Another name to watch for would be Ohio State’s William Buford.
As far as adding free agents to this team, I think they should look at Andre Miller (PG), Leandro Barbosa (SG), Matt Barnes (SF), and Spencer Hawes (C).
The Wizards are in need of some tough, defensive-minded players as well as veteran players who have accomplished things at this level.
The rebuilding process is something that no team wants to take a lot of time.
But if they go about it the right way they should become relevant, again.
- NBA Amnesty Watch: Washington Wizards Must Rid Themselves of Andray Blatche (bleacherreport.com)
- NBA Draft: Where Do The Charlotte Bobcats Go From Here? (jarrodpeterson4.wordpress.com)
- Ernie Grunfeld on Contract Extension: “I wasn’t that concerned about it. This is the second year of our rebuild.” (sportsradiointerviews.com)