Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wizards Draft Preview Part I: Draft a PG

Over a week has passed since the catastrophe known as the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery. You know, the NBA pre-draft event known for awkward dialogue between team representatives and broadcasters that is given way too much television coverage and even has an hour-long pregame show (!) that probably attracts more viewers than an actual NBA playoff game where powerful overpaid NBA executives get together to pick out three ping pong balls with four-digit combinations corresponding to one of 14 teams participating all with raging semi-boners for guys like Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio? Yeah, that lottery.

Or, as you may more vividly remember it, the night where "Wizards Tank Job 2008-2009" was effectively made moot with the worst-case scenario 5th overall selection. Excuse me while I remove the tacks from my eyeballs.

Nevertheless, we must move on. And truth be told, the 5th pick ain't so bad. But before we dissect all the potential picks, we must identify the Wizards most pressing needs. This team has plenty of holes with and without all parts healthy. The big three of Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are all locks to start next year assuming they are healthy and wearing the Blue, Black, Gold, and White! (Seriously? Bring back the Bullets, or shoot me now.)

I'm no fan of Michael Wilbon, but he brought up a good point in his article following the lottery last week:

"Okay, I get it. Arenas, which I've been saying for some time now, shouldn't be the starting point guard. It's one thing for me to say it; it's another thing for Magic Johnson to say it. If Magic says the Wizards should have a pure, set-up-his-teammates point guard to run the offense, I'm listening. "

For the first time in my life I couldn't agree more with Michael Wilbon (and Magic Johnson, I guess). Gilbert Arenas is a combo guard. Yes, he is great with the ball in his hands, and he will undoubtedly "Hibachi!" in crunch time. But drafting a classic pass-first point guard and playing Arenas off the ball can be effective for two reasons:

1. The most obvious reason, a pass-first point guard will create open shots for his teammates. Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Young, and Songaila (ugh) can all hit open jumpers consistently.

2. Arenas will be fresh at the defensive end, at the end of games, and at the end of the season. Not to say that he won't run off the ball; but without the responsibility of running the offense, Arenas can conserve some energy and concentration on an area that he has excelled at over the years (fitness) and an area of concern throughout his career (defense).

Defense and 3-point shooting must not be overlooked as vital team qualities. Cleveland finished 1st in scoring defense during the regular season and 2nd in 3-point shooting percentage. Orlando finished 6th in scoring defense and 7th in 3-point shooting. The fact that both are in the conference finals is no coincidence. This season's Wizards? 24th and 29th, respectively.

While they have needs elsewhere, specifically up front, drafting a point guard should help the team defensively and lead to a significant improvement in 3-point shooting. It will also stabilize the future of the backcourt and should immediately return the team to the playoffs, which according to my sources is the only way to avoid the emotional brutality of the NBA Draft Lottery. So, yea, I guess I could fox with that.

But Ernie will probably fox it up.


  1. Although well argued the Wizards are in no need of a point guard and would be better suited finding a viable scoring 2 guard or power forward to split time with the silly putty that are the left and right kneecap of Antawn Jamison. Yes, Silly Putty Motherfucker.

    Had this statement been made prior to Arenas's knee troubles and "over-worked rehab" (My Ass it was overworked), I would have agreed in the highest degree. However, I think we will see a different type of Arenas come the 09-10 season. First of all, we arnt even in the playoffs yet so talking about next year's success is like Vinny Cerrato talking about sex when we all know it takes him multiple viagra, cialis and mushroom pills for him to get semi wood. Anyway, I digress. Look at Arenas's stats and style of play in the select games of this past season. Quite interesting. Look at those Assists!! WTF is going on. Well, truth be told, it appears his explosiveness and slashing forte has been hindered by his knee troubles. And yet out from the brush we saw a passing point guard with an uncanny (although he didnt show it...we all know he has it) shooting ability and swagger. Not bad and I think the Arenas of next year will fill that true point guard void extremely well. Thus, picking a point guard would help (it would help any team honestly) but we can be better served by pursuing other avenues.

    A solid, explosive shooting guard with defensive abilities may be exactly what this team needs. And yes, coming from the guy who thought he was the man wearing a Deshawn Stevenson jersey around, we need a NEW starting 2 guard. What was all this BS about Stevenson being "lock-down" or the team's best defender. His ass got OWNED by Bron Bron and even the little red headed gremlin known as Delonte West. I think Pesh would have done a better job. At the very worst DC fans could find solace in making fun of his chicken legs or the fact that hes European....being European is still funny, right????

    OK, so imagine a strong 2 guard who will be our teams best defender with the ability to knock down open 3's that Arenas, Butler, Jamison and of course the most underrated starter in the 202 area code, Brendan "The Original Owner of HIBATCHI" Haywood. That would put the Wizards in serious contention with the beasts of the East. Forget a point guard. Arenas will be fine. Lets get our backcourt shored up so Stevenson can be shipped out.

  2. 1) "Look at Arenas's stats and style of play in the select games of this past season."

    That's a pretty small sample size (2 games). Yea, he had 10 assists per game, but he shot 26% from the field and averaged 13 points on 11 you really think he will be content with these numbers?

    2) That being said, I'm not entirely opposed to drafting an athletic 2 who can play defense and handle the ball. But I do think a playmaking point guard would be the best pick in the short- and long-term.

    3) I'm glad you finally gave up on MeShawn. He's definitely feeling his face at this point in his career.

  3. Lastly, why would you want to handicap our best offensive weapon by turning him into a passer first? Wouldn't you rather draft someone with a pass-first mentality and move Arenas to the 2?

    It makes little sense to try to transform our best player into something he is not and then hope to develop a rookie SG into only a fraction of what our best player once was. Sounds like a recipe for a wasted draft pick.

  4. We can all agree the Wizards need someone to handle the ball who can dish it well. Arenas has not been that guy -- whether he can become that guy as his career evolves is still up for debate, though given his knee troubles it seems a logcal evolutionary step.

    But it's too risky a gamble to bank on. If the Wizards want to make a serious run with this group, they are going to need someone to run the offense who doesn't think shot first and if past behavior is any indication it won't be Arenas.

    Whether or not this kind of guy is available in this draft...not so sure. The past few have been guard heavy and a team like Memphis with an overflow of guards and a retarded GM might be worth talking to.

    And DeShawn is to basketball what Tony Danza is to pop culture: he had a good run for a while there, was never really as on top as he thought he was, but his time is long gone. Not a champion.

    I look forward to part deux.

  5. Dude, we already traded for a star PG from Memphis, his name is Javaris Crittenton.

  6. Javaris is just too big for this town.


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