Wednesday Wizards Report
Losing is never fun no matter how you look at it. Losing leaves a bitter taste in your mouth and after 12 straight losses to open the season, our mouths as Wizards fans have quite a disgusting taste in them. And with no return date set for John Wall and tough games against some of the league’s elite in the coming weeks, this taste might be lingering for a while. With all the doom and gloom that the Wizards have encountered this year, our losing ways to start the season might be just what this team needs.
As the ultimate optimist I was trying to find something good to pull from this season so far. Aside from some good showings from Kevin Seraphin and some quality minutes from Nene when he is able to grace us with his presence, there hasn’t been too much to jump for joy over. While our playoff hopes from the beginning of the season haven’t been completely crushed, they sure are getting close. But another trip to the beloved NBA Draft Lottery might just be the only way to boost this current Wizards squad from bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Ernie Grunfeld crushed all of our free agent hopes and dreams for this past off-season and the following off-season when he brought in Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. Grunfeld screwing us, big surprise huh? Okafor and Ariza are owed a combined $43,074,177 over the course of this season and next. That’s $43 million for two guys who combined are averaging 15.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Great investment Grunfeld. Even though Ariza’s contract for next year is a player option, I don’t see him turning down almost $8 million for one year.
So now that we know we aren’t going to be bringing in any quality free agent talent, the only way to bring in some fresh talent is through the draft. Now I think this current Wizards team if healthy and with some quality coaching could be a playoff team the way it is currently constructed. But we aren’t healthy and we don’t have quality coaching so we are going to continue our losing ways until one or both of those things change. And the more losses that mount mean the higher the draft pick (if David Stern sees it that way that is).
This year’s NBA draft, according to experts, is weak in talent. But we are going to most likely have a top 8 pick so as long as the draft is top heavy in talent we are in good shape. That means we can add some serious talent to a Wiz squad that has a blend of youth and veteran experience. We need a wing scorer in the worst way and this year’s draft has just that. Enter Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad is a top flight, left handed wing scorer who can attack and stroke the three and has been compared to James Harden. Through three games, Muhammad is averaging 17 points and 5 rebounds a game. Needless to say, I think he would be quite the upgrade over Trevor Ariza. Of course we need to be in position to draft Muhammad and hopefully we don’t have Grunfeld calling the shots come next June. I would hate to see us draft another Czech who averages 4 points and 2 rebounds against underwhelming European talent.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want our Wizards to lose 82 games this year. I would love to see a glimmer of hope when we get a fully healthy line-up, if we ever get a fully healthy line-up. But our losing ways might be the only way we can add some serious talent in the off-season. A potential line-up of Wall, Beal, Muhammad, Seraphin, and Nene already has me licking my chops. Let’s just hope David Stern’s magic ping pong balls bounce our way instead of a franchise that the league is trying to sell.
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