Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Bradley Beal has the potential to make a big difference to the team.
When the Wizards were given the third overall selection in the NBA Draft Lottery, it was touted as a certainty that they would pick Bradley Beal. Grunfeld showed no desire to disappoint and the 19-year-old became a Wizard.
Lots has been written about Beal and his potential, but it’s unreasonable to expect too much out of him in his rookie year. He played just one season of college ball, so there will be a transition period needed before he can be judged as an NBA player.
Also, Jordan Crawford will likely remain the Wizards’ starter at shooting guard, which again epitomizes the new-look Wizards team.
As evidenced by their poor production and conditioning, the trio of JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche suffered from a sense of entitlement, with starting jobs being handed to them despite poor performances and a lack of teamwork.
Beal seems much more grounded already, but it’s important that he is made to work for his court time, just as it’s important that Crawford knows he can still be the starter. It’s clear that Beal was drafted to start in the long term, but this is an opportunity for Crawford to stake his claim for 2012.
Beal’s game isn’t fully developed yet, so good performances from Crawford will help both him and the team. The drafting of Beal cannot be faulted; he was the best player for the Wizards at that pick, as well as serving a positional need as the team continued to build around Wall.
The selection of Tomas Satoransky isn’t as obvious, however. In a deep draft where Doron Lamb and Jae Crowder were still available, the pick stuck out as a move to preserve a roster spot rather than bring in another rookie.
Satoransky himself stated that he isn't ready for the NBA (via ProBasketballTalk.com), and although he showed some promise in the Summer League and could feasibly contribute in a few years, the chance was there to take a genuine rookie contributor.
Without doing a disservice to Satoransky, Lamb or Crowder offered a better return for the pick and it now seems wasteful to stash the Czech player in Europe when the free-agency moves suggested a “win now” attitude.
After looking like a man committed to getting out of the cellar, the Satoransky choice was a step back for Grunfeld. Wall’s injury doesn’t write off the season, but it’s more than a "bump in the road."
The team now has to work even harder to stay relevant in Wall’s absence, and the fortune of Nene suddenly becomes utterly essential. The Brazilian isn’t exactly a vision of health, with fans already being warned that his progress will be slow.
Grunfeld has made a lot of encouraging moves this year and the roster actually looks better than it has in some time. Much like its counterparts at FedEx field, this Washington team suffers from a lack of depth and the burden of injury going into the new season.
It’s on the right track, but patience will be demanded at Verizon Center once again this year.