2011 NBA Free Agents: Washington Wizards Should Sign Arron Afflalo
As the details of the new collective bargaining agreement were revealed to the scrutiny of the media and public alike, it is almost certain that an amnesty clause will be included in the deal.
With Rashard Lewis on the books this year for a league-high $22 million, it seems that using the amnesty on him would become an attractive option for the Wizards. If the team were to cut Lewis, this would leave a big void at the wing position other then rookie Chris Singleton and possibly Nick Young if he is resigned.
Arron Afflalo would be an important player for the Wizards to pursue as either a replacement for Nick Young or a complement, allowing Young to use his length and versatility at the wing position while Chris Singleton learns and develops behind him.
The Wizards, and Ted Leonsis specifically, have made it clear that as part of the rebuilding process, they would reward homegrown talent, and Nick Young embodies this ideal completely.
The team has made it clear that they plan to bring back Young for the right price and his scoring will be sorely needed on a team lacking many outside shooters. Unless John Wall has suddenly developed into a deep threat, there is no one else on the team that provides the long-range shooting that Nick Young does.
Arron Afflalo progressed last year into one of the most efficient catch-and-shoot players from the field (49.3%) and finished the season tied at eighth in three-point shooting percentage (42.3%). He is comfortable playing off the ball and would make a perfect fit in the backcourt with John Wall as a willing distributor.
If the Wizards were able to retain Nick Young’s services, they could have a starting lineup with two extremely effective deep threats to complement the slashing ability of Wall. Adding Afflalo would allow Jordan Crawford to earn plenty of playing time backing up both guard positions after showing his ability to score and direct the offense with the ball in his hands in Wall’s absence last year.
Afflalo, entering his fifth year in the league, is only 26 years old but would come onto the team as one of the oldest players.
His drive and humble nature, earning him the starting role last season in Denver, would make him an excellent role model to the young players hoping to make it in this league. His tenacious defense, which might be his biggest asset, is a welcome addition to a squad that under Flip Saunders has struggled immensely in that category, allowing 104.7 points a game last season (24 out of 30).
Ultimately, the Wizards will have the cap space to add a few players, and Afflalo should be near the top of the list of free agents for Ernie Grunfeld. Afflalo has the perfect skill set and work ethic to help benefit the “winning culture” that owner Ted Leonsis is trying to establish here in D.C.
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