Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Can I Help You? Washington Wizards

John Wall is looking to get some help from the draft.
The Wizards are a young and talented team that made a late surge at the end of last season to encourage fans and show that good things are on the way. Led by John Wall, the team has certainly made strides in the past few drafts and is on its way to a playoff contender status. Let's take a look at what they've got to work with.

Wall is the point guard for the Wizards and although he may not be at an All Star level just yet, the potential is there. A former #1 overall pick, Wall averaged 16.3 points and 8 assists last season. He excels at scoring and passing but needs to work on his shooting and taking care of the ball. With all that being said, he is the cornerstone of this franchise and they will not draft a point guard too high. With Shelvin Mack also in the fold, they may not draft one at all. At shooting guard, Jordan Crawford is the starter after the Nick Young trade, and will be solid for Washington with his knack for scoring. With these two young and talented guards, the Wizards may not want to draft a backcourt player.

Small Forward is a very interesting position for Washington. They have two players in Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton that were drafted in the first round by the team last year. While neither were major contributors this past season, they will likely get more playing time in the next one, meaning that the team whether or not they need another small forward. Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker both spent time at power forward and while each had their moments of glory, one has to wonder if they are considered long term options for the team. Rashard Lewis is not, as the Wizards want nothing more than to dump his ugly contract. They'll also want to get rid of Andray Blatche who has greatly underachieved.

At center sits the 6' 11" man they got from the Nuggets, Nene. Many people think that Washington doesn't want to hold on to Nene, but then why would they have traded Javale McGee for him in the first place? My thoughts are that the team wants him to be a Wizard, and that they will move forward with that plan in mind. Nene is one of the better players at his position in the league, so there's nothing wrong him patrolling your paint.

From this, we've gathered that the Wizards are in the market for a forward, more specifically a power forward, and some much needed depth. The teams picks #3, #32, and #46. Let's take a look at some possible moves.

It seems clear that Washington would love to draft Thomas Robinson and pair him next to Nene, so I see that being the best possible move for them. However, in my previous article, I have the Bobcats taking Robinson, so we'll move on as if he is off the board, but keep in mind that if he's available, I see the Wizards snatching him up.

Kidd-Gilchrist has the tools to be a champion.
With the best PF prospects available being John Henson or Arnett Moultrie, Washington could opt to trade this pick. We'll act as if they will keep it. When looking at their draft big board, one talent will stand out to them that they won't be able to pass up: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Kidd-Gilchrist, although he has work to do on his game, is a rare prospect; one with incredible athleticism, premier speed, and a nonstop motor. His defensive ability is superb, and he will be able to cover shooting guards and even bigger small forwards because of his physicality. While his offensive abilities with both shooting and creating are limited, there's no doubt that he'll work his ass off to maximize his talent. Above all things, the Wizards will see a leader in Kidd-Gilchrist, which is something their team desperately needs. Because of Vesely's height (6'11"), Washington can try to slide him to the 4 and have Kidd-Gilchrist and Singleton occupy the 3. That will be a duo that can lock down defensively in a conference that has small forwards like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul Pierce.

There are a couple of other options that the Wizards can explore with the #3 pick. They can take Harrison Barnes if they want to pair a scorer with Singleton and give the team more offense. Barnes is raw, but could develop into an All Star one day. Also, if they decide to get rid of Nene, they could risk the pick on a future center in Andre Drummond. I find that hard to believe, however, because they've experienced enough with Blatch as a bust.

At #32 and #46, there are a handful of players that the Wizards can add to the depth of their squad.

John Jenkins from Vanderbilt would be a good pick as a lights out shooter off the bench. He has NBA range, a silky smooth release, and if Washington drafts defensively and takes Kidd-Gilchrist third overall, they may want to go offense with their next pick.

Tyshawn Taylor from Kansas is another guard who can provide offense off the bench. He can defend both guard positions as well, and greatly improved his three point shot after his breakout season with the Jayhawks.

William Buford, a senior out of Ohio St., has leadership and intangibles, but that's not all. His size and shooting ability are exceptional, and because he still has room for improvement makes him worth a pick.

Scott helped return Virginia to relevance.
Finally, there are a trio of power forwards that could attract Washington's eye. Kevin Jones, Drew Gordon, and Mike Scott are all physical down low and willing to bang. Their rebounding is superb and they could be a big help next to Nene. Jones' ability to step out to the perimeter makes him a cut above the other two.

To wrap it all up, assuming that both Anthony Davis and Robinson are off the board, the Wizards should select Kidd-Gilchrist #3 overall. With the 32nd selection, because I think that both Jenkins and Jones may already be taken, Mike Scott should be the pick. Gordon had some off the court issues when he played at UCLA, and that may be the key reason to take Scott with the two being so close. If Jones is there, he's the pick. And with the 46th pick, Washington should draft Buford. Taylor would be a nice fit for this team, but Buford's leadership and understanding of the game make him so valuable to a young team trying to find its identity and climb out of the conference cellar. With Kidd-Gilchrist, Scott, and Buford, the Wizards will get three players who will not only be valuable to the team individually, but will also help it grow as a whole.

Tomorrow, I will discuss the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have a plethora of draft picks and are still trying to make good on Dan Gilbert's promise that they'll win a championship before LeBron. If they draft right, anything's possible.

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