Could this be Sully’s “I can’t believe I just got drafted by the Wizards” face?
Well with the Wizards win streak lasting a matter of hours, I decided to do what I know a lot of fans have already done- look ahead to the 2012 draft.
It’s what we’ve become accustomed to here in DC. In fact, it’s really all we’ve had to look forward to (and even the Redskins have taken it away from us at times).
And like I know many have already talked about, there’s good news concerning next years NBA draft class- it’s loaded.
EB from the Junkies was one that I know of that took a quick look at the upcoming class and he chose University of Connecticut freshman big man Andre Drummond as his leader in the clubhouse.
And while Drummond is oozing with potential greatness, he’s not the guy I’d go with. And while guys like Anthony Davis, Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes and Jeremy Lamb also appear to be can’t-miss prospects, none of them jumped out at me as the right guys for the Wizards to take.
And let’s get this straight- I am using literally nothing but my own opinions to draw this conclusion. I have seen very little of all these prospects play this year and have relied mostly on internet research and youtube clips.
But when I took my short peak into what many are projecting to be the top picks in next years draft, one name stood out above the rest- Ohio State PF Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger, who surprised many by returning to Ohio State for his sophomore season, is who I’d have slide right into that starting power forward role next to JaVale McGee.
Sullinger is big (I’ve seen him listed as anywhere from 6’8” to 6’10”- let’s hope it’s the latter) and strong with good hands and footwork. He can pass the ball and already has an arsenal full of some pretty good post moves. He’s been a little banged up since coming back to Ohio State this year, but I fully expect him to lead the Buckeyes deep into the tournament again this year.
Is he all perfect and polished? No way. And I am almost positive that I’m being too hard on some of the other guys that are projected top-5 when it comes to their overall talent and basketball IQ. I’m sure these guys are smart and polished and will be great players.
But look, if you remind me of JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche in ANY way, I don’t want you. I’m sorry. And unfortunately a couple of them just do. Or, in my very amateur basketball brain, I find it hard for them to co-exist on the court with the Wizards I envision being back and apart of this team next year then I don’t want them either.
Here’s the way I breakdown the Wizards roster, as of today, looking ahead to next year:
Keepers – John Wall, JaVale McGee, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely
Goners (I know it’ll be tough, but figure out a way) - Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford
Take em’ or Leave em’ – Roger Mason, Jr and well…the rest of the team.
So, for me, that leaves your PG, Center, and three forwards as returning contributors.
John Wall is obviously your starting point guard. JaVale McGee your starting center.
Singleton could develop into a worthy starting small forward if he:
A- starts shooting the ball better
and B- continues to improve and becomes a legitimate shut-down defender of multiple positions.
There’s plenty of playing time to be had if those things happen (though “developing” is something Wizards players seem to be allergic to).
I also really like the potential (though you’ll find out later I’m tired in general of that word) of Jan Vesely as a high-energy guy off the bench that can play the 3 or 4. Hustle, steal, dunk. Sixth pick in the draft everybody. But I’ll take it.
The real question mark out of that “keepers” list is, in my opinion, whether or not Trevor Booker is a starting NBA Power Forward. As of right now, while he’s been a breath of fresh air whenever he’s in the game, it’d be tough not to pencil in his position as one that could be upgraded. Though many will argue, and I’d completely agree, that finding any way possible to be rid of Andray Blatche would automatically be an upgrade. Maybe the greatest single example of addition by subtraction the sports world has ever seen.
So using this thinking, that leaves the Wizards next year void of a starting shooting guard and a legit, game-changing (Redskins fans are already in love with that term) power forward.
Now look, I know the NBA is NOT about filling specific holes, specifically at the top of drafts. It’s about picking the best player available on the board, especially if that guy is a once-in-a-generation type of talent. And we ALL know what happened when the Trail Blazers tried filling a need instead of drafting the best player available in 1984 (two words: six championships).
But having said all that, what this Wizards team seems to need more than a franchise-saving potential NBA superstar with off-the-chart measurables (we already have one anyway, don’t we?) is a rock-solid, “NBA-ready” player that works hard and has a high basketball IQ. Is that too much to ask?
Currently, NBAdraft.net projects him going 5th. The Wizards will probably end up with a pick higher than that, maybe even as high as #1 again.
But as hard as it’d be to do, and as many times as I’ll probably change my mind on this, I’d explore the possibility of trading down. Now realize I didn’t say trade away (see Miller, Mike and Foye, Randy instead of Rubio, Ricky) but simply DOWN and still acquiring a more NBA-ready player like Jared Sullinger.
And who knows, maybe with trading down you also acquire a sharp-shooting wing player who can consistently knock down 3’s (upgrade over Mason, Jr).
I know the #5 pick trade for Mike Miller and Randy Foye set this team back exponentially. In fact, I think it was the single move that doomed Ernie in DC. But I also know another project big man, no matter the talent potential, is also not an avenue I want to drive back down.
I may not have all the answers to fixing this mess. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have none (but I have an opinion!)
And that would be to add a player like Jared Sullinger to the mix in next years draft.
Just make sure to check back in a couple months when my mind has completely changed and I’m obsessed with Andre Drummond or Harrison Barnes again.