2011 NBA Draft Recap: Predicting the Future of the Washington Wizards

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2011 NBA Draft Recap: Predicting the Future of the Washington Wizards
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Jan Vesely should be a big addition for the Wizards.

With draft night over, the Wizards have two more players to work with as they continue their rebuilding process. The duo of Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton cover a lot of needs and even more wants on the roster, and it will be interesting to see where the team goes from here. 

Vesely is a high-flying seven-footer from the Czech Republic that loves to take it to the rack and throw it down on the opposition. He is an emotional and aggressive player, and should prove to be an excellent running mate for John Wall. He should make an immediate impact in the open court as the 21-year-old develops the rest of his game.  

Washington received excellent value with their second pick, Chris Singleton. Many mock drafts had Singleton going top ten, and just about all had him as a top-15 prospect. Singleton has a chance to be a special defensive player at the small forward position.

Offensively, Singleton should be able to make his three-point shot work for open set-ups in the corner. Think Luol Deng with the Bulls last season. Singleton is another exceptional athlete who will have fun running with Wall in the open court. 

Shelvin Mack was another good value pick, and should be a solid back-up to John Wall. An integral part of Butler's two straight NCAA championship appearances, Mack is an experienced player used to big moments. 

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Washington seemed set on taking the best big man available, which lends more support to the theory that Andray Blatche's days in D.C. are numbered. With Vesely, the Wizards have an impact player to plug in at power forward if they choose to move the enigmatic athlete. If the Wizards could package Rashard Lewis with Blatche, it would be a dream come true for Wizards' fans.

It sounds impossible, but there is one legitimate option approved by ESPN's trade machine. The Wizards trade Rashard Lewis' terrible contract and Blatche's reasonable one to the Philadelphia 76ers for Elton Brand's terrible contract and Andre Iguodala's manageable one. 

Blatche is at the peak of his trade value, and maybe the Wizards could get a better player for him straight up, but Rashard Lewis is doing nothing for them but collecting a paycheck. Likewise, Brand's contract has been an albatross in Philadelpia, and Lewis could be a better fit there than with the Wizards. Both contracts expire after the same season (2013).

With Brand, they get a better locker room presence than Blatche, who can keep the starting power forward spot warm while Vesely adjusts to the NBA game. They would be overpaying Brand for something they don't have, a back-to-the basket scoring presence, as opposed to overpaying Lewis to shoot threes. If they really want to keep a gunner, they can re-sign Nick Young to fill that role. 
In Iguodala they would be getting a (slightly overpaid) consummate professional, a great defensive player and an effective scorer. His veteran leadership would be a great influence on the young Wizards.

With the draft day additions and the proposed trade, the Wizards would have a rotation that looks like this: John Wall, Shelvin Mack, Andre Iguodala, Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton, Elton Brand, Jan Vessely and Javale Mcgee, with the possibility of bringing back Nick Young. 

The key to the trade is how much the 76ers believe in Blatche. Young, skilled big men always hold a higher trade value than any other position, in spite of serious warning signs. Remember when the Wizards got Caron Butler for Kwame Brown? Philadelphia has also been frustrated for years with Brand, and may jump at the chance to deal him, so there is potential there.

Regardless, the trade would merely jump-start the rebuilding effort. Without it, Washington still has a lot of young talent, and can look forward to Lewis' $19 million per season contract to come off the books in 2013. There are a lot of intriguing possibilities in that free agent class to add a valuable veteran piece. 
With two seasons of NBA experience for their new picks, we could be seeing 2013 as the season Wizards fans have been waiting for. For now, they have taken a big step in the right direction, and could make a strong push for the final playoff slot in the Eastern Conference. 

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