Friday, June 25, 2010

Wizards Draft Hangover

I have been getting asked about my take on the NBA draft a lot today, and a lot of people seem to think I was trying to give myself some time digest the flurry of activity from last night before posting..........not true. I was busy celebrating a great day for the Wizards by having I lost count how many John Wall Shots. Usually when a man drinks something blue and is not at the beach, questions are asked; but if wanting to spend the rest of my life around John Wall is wrong, then I don't want to be right. For those of you particularly interested, the bar I was at had to use blueberry vodka, sour mix, sprite, and maybe something else to make the shots blue. They tasted like Kool-Aid.

Round 1 of I lost count how many

My general takes on draft prospects are on Bullets Forever, with the disclosure that I watched fewer college basketball prospects this year than I can remember, so don't have the usual cutting insights (phenomenal work from last year if I do say so, other than calling it the WDE).

As far as the Wizards, I have been hearing almost nothing but complaining, but we can't forget that what really matters in the big picture is that we got Wall. As Chad Ford pointed out in his chat with Sports Guy earlier this week, each draft has 5 stars and 5 starters, and everyone else is either out of the league or just a rotation player. I know there are plenty examples of late picks turning into gold, but generally speaking, the draft is about getting a star. Wall's development is infinitely more important to this franchise than those of all the other guys we drafted our could have drafted combined. And in conclusion, we got Wall!

That Wizards hat does look good on him...

At first, I hated the Kirk Hinrich trade, but now do not see it as a problem. To be clear, we acquired Hinrich, who will be paid $9 million this year and $8 million next year, the 17th pick, and $3 million cash money for a future 2nd-rounder. All these media people are throwing around that the Wizards paid $17 million for the 17th pick and Oklahoma City paid only $2 million, but this is not exactly the case. Firstly, OKC traded the 32nd pick for the 18th, in addition to taking on Daequan Cook. Although this draft looks short on star power, it is definitely a deep one, and with the NBA finances likely tightening, the 2nd pick of the 2nd round is an extremely valuable asset. The future 2nd rounder that the Wizards gave up is significantly less valuable. Then there is the fact that $17 MILLION sounds insane, but the Wizards have plenty of cap space this season that they do not need, so the $9 million this year should not even be considered by anyone other than Ted Leonsis, as he is the one paying that money out his own pocket. The issue is all about 2 years from now, when we will be paying Hinrich again and will want as much cap flexibility as possible. The question really is whether Hinrich's contract will prevent us from making any move we want in the summer of 2011. Yes, there is a salary cap, but we can exceed it by paying a luxury tax and Leonsis is clearly okay with taking financial hits to help the team. Even if there is a situation where Hinrich's deal pushes us into luxury tax territory, then you must consider the $3 million cash we received. That money with interest, can account for us going about $2 million over the cap. That may have been confusing, but for all intents and purposes, Hinrich is only really being paid $6 million in 2011, which is not considerably more than some random Joe Blow. This is not to mention the fact that Hinrich will be 'Hinrich's expiring contract in the summer of 2011. Just ask yourself, will Hinrich's contract be what is preventing us from making a move? The answer is clearly no, although I envy Leonsis for being filthy rich enough to pay that kind of contract.

Hinrich as a player I actually think could be a nice fit next to John Wall in the '2 guard offense'. The only part of this I don't like is that I would rather have a young guy with some upside as our 3rd guard. Hinrich will cut into Young Sushi's minutes, and may force to Wizards to not re-sign Shaun Livingston. I think the success of the deal may hinge on whether Livingston leaves and if so, how he performs. Overall though I think the deal is neither good or bad, but just okay.

The Kevin Seraphin pick at #17 is fine by me as well. I have honestly not seen him play 1 second of basketball, but have heard that he's raw and possibly comparable to Serge Ibaka. My concern is that Seraphin sounds like he moved up draft boards because of Ibaka's success, which is one of those irrational ideas that leads to bad draft decisions. Ibaka's development has little or no relation to that of Seraphin. That said, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever heard from sources that Seraphin is the 'real deal' and could be here as early as next season. I don't particularly mind him spending another year in Europe, as the Wizards have a large amount of minutes accounted for thanks to Gil, Wall, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee. With 4 picks, I have no problem with one of them staying overseas for a year. That said, the Wizards need to know what they have, and we won't know until Seraphin starts playing in the NBA. Again though, I am perfectly fine with this pick and will trust the pros.

The Trevor Booker selection and trade are where I start to wonder what the hell Ernie Grunfeld and co. were doing. I have a small problem with the selection, and a major one with the trade. I have seen him play and he was the entire Clemson team last year, seriously, but lacks great athleticism and thus has little upside. He was productive though, and has a good shot as a rotation guy. I would have preferred Damion James, who is by most accounts the better prospect, and fills a need at SF. Jordan Crawford and Daniel Orton were also still on the board and considered better prospects. I think the Wizards are in a position where we can draft best talent available that is not a PG, but I am not gaga over any of these guys. Maybe Booker proves us wrong, which is why I don't have a huge issue, although I personally would have taken James or Crawford.

The trade is the baffling part. From everything us outsiders know, Booker would have been available at #30 or even #35; Chad Ford's final mock draft had him going #44! We could have kept our 2 picks and still gotten Booker and a better prospect than Hamady Ndiaye. Even if the Wizards knew something we don't, and Booker went before #30, then we could have had our choice of 2 of the following: Lance Stephenson, Tiny Gallon, Terrico White, Darrington Hobson, Jarvis Varnado, Devin Ebanks, Solomon Alabi, or Stanley Robinson (and Hassan Whiteside was available at #30). Even if Booker and Ndiaye turns out to be great, this deal may not be a good one.

As far as Ndiaye is concerned, I do not know much about him, even though I watch a ton of Big East basketball as a Georgetown fan. He was Chad Ford's #79 ranked prospect, but I don't see a lot of other guys who excite me other than Stanley Robinson.

This draft also caps what has been a rough year for Ernie: the awful draft pick trade of 2010 when we could have taken Rubio or Stephen Curry, trading away Jamison and Butler for little in return, and now apparently botching the #30 and #35 picks of the draft. Overall though, Grunfeld will look good because we lucked into John freaking Wall, and that's the way we should all come away from tonight. Sure, Leonsis' wallet is taking a hit, and we could have guys with a better potential to make our rotation and have trade value, but we got the Great Wall and that is why I had one glorious hangover today - one that might even inspire me to buy some blue vodka.

(John Wall image courtesy of

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