With the Washington Wizards' new head coach Flip Saunders in place, it's time to focus on the roster. If you follow the mock drafts, most figure the Wizards will take Ricky Rubio with the second pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Now, I'm no NBA exec, but I am not a fan of that scenario.
There is little doubt that Rubio is talented, but his skill set requires that he has the ball in his hands a lot. The team already has a great deal of money invested in a player who demands the ball in Gilbert Arenas.
If the Wizards recieve the No. 1 pick, it's a no-brainer that Blake Griffin is the pick. But if they do not, things will become a bit more complicated.
First, there is the need to deal with the players they currently have under contract, of which they have at least 15. Owner Abe Pollin has been firm in his stance of being against going over the luxury tax threshold.
However, in his last appearance, Pollin indicated he was willing to do whatever was needed to improve the team.
That statement allows general manager Ernie Grunfeld some flexibility, but he must do what he can to move the contracts of guys like Mike James and/or Etan Thomas. This would it much easier to sign their draft pick still bring in a veteran free agent.
As for the draft, if the Wizards do not get the top pick, trading down makes the most sense. Going from the top five to the teens would give them the option of possibly packaging the pick with one of those bad contracts.
And picking in the teens there will still be plenty of talent such as back court players Eric Maynor VCU ,Ty Lawson UNC & Jeff Teague WF and front court talents like Patrick Patterson UK, James Johnson WF, & BJ Mullens of Ohio ST.
The Wizards' front court—with Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGhee—is pretty solid, as are Caron Butler and third-year man Dominic McGuire at small forward.
The place the Wizards need help is at the point guard position. Even though he was getting up there in age, this team really missed Antonio Daniels after the trade.
The addition of a true PG would allow the Wizards the option of moving Arenas to the two-guard and ease the wear and tear on his surgically repaired knee.
If you look at the teams that Saunders coached to sucess, they both had very solid point guards in Chauncey Billups and Sam Cassell.
It will very interesting to see what happens should those ping pong balls not fall the Wizards way. Hopefully, Grunfeld has another Kwame Brown-type deal up his sleeve.
The Wizards' abilities next season will depend on addition by subtraction, as well as the bounce of some ping pong balls. After that, it comes down to what Grunfeld can do with whatever resoures become available.
I may be in the minority in this, but the current roster as it stands is just not enough to get past the Cavaliers, Magic, Celtics, and Hawks.
Grunfeld needs to look torward the future. I would even consider moving one of the big three for the right deal to bolster that future.
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