Assessing the Wizards Roster: Center

With the start of free agency rapidly approaching, now is a good time to break down Washington’s roster and see where the Wizards could improve (and trust me, there’s a lot of room for improvement). This is the third and final part of a three part series. Today’s focus is the center position.

Let’s dive right in…

Centers in 2009-2010–

JaVale McGee

GP: 60 PPG: 6.4 RPG: 4.1 BPG: 1.7

Apr. 09, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02110416 Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee (L) makes a shot over the defending Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins (R) in the first quarter at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA 09 April 2010.

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Fabricio Oberto GP: 57 PPG: 1.5 RPG: 1.8

Washington Wizards Fabricio Oberto (21) attempts a shot against Charlotte Bobcats Stephen Jackson (1) during the fourth quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on March 23, 2010. The Bobcats beat the Wizards 95-86, delivering the Wizards 12th loss in a row. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn Photo via Newscom

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Analysis: McGee was thrust into the lineup after Brendan Haywood was traded to Dallas, and he produced so-so results. In fact, by season’s end, Flip Saunders was only playing McGee an average of 24 MPG, with just one other center on the roster (35 year old Oberto).

This season is the true test for JaVale McGee.  Washington needs to go out and find a starter to mentor the youngster, but he should still receive lots of playing time. The only other big man the Wizards have at the moment is 6’9 rookie Kevin Seraphin, who has played basketball for five years.

Fabricio Oberto came to D.C. expecting to compete on a contender. He ended up wallowing away on the bench for a 26 win squad. I feel bad for the guy and hope he can find a new home this offseason. He won’t be coming back.

Projected Centers in 2010-2011–

JaVale McGee

GP: 60 PPG: 6.4 RPG: 4.1 BPG: 1.7

Kevin Seraphin

Statline in France: PPG: 6.2 RPG: 4.1

French basketball player Kevin Seraphin smiles during an interview after being selected=

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Analysis: One word sums up the centers for the Wizards right now: yikes.

Seriously, this is without question the weakest spot on the team. Washington simply cannot enter the season with two all-potential, unproven big men, and expect to win any basketball games.

McGee could develop into a Marcus Camby-type player. They have similar body types and have a knack for blocking shots. Still, McGee is too skinny to compete against giants like Dwight Howard.

Seraphin is a much bigger question mark. He might even elect to stay in France, although it sounds like he really wants to play for Washington this year. Even if he does, it’s unlikely he will have much of an impact. The Wizards should treat Seraphin like the Thunder treated Serge Ibaka his rookie season–very, very carefully.

Here’s a video of some Kevin Seraphin highlights, so Wizards fans can begin to familiarize with the unproven big man.

Looking Forward: What’s Next?

McGee and Seraphin are considered the “next” big men for the Wizards–problem is, there’s no “now” big man to play while these guys develop. Washington will certainly experience lots of growing pains this season. If the Wizards wanted to target a center to play 20-25 minutes a game next season, here are some options…

  • Brad Miller (UFA)
  • Shaquille O’Neal (UFA)
  • Brendan Haywood (UFA)
  • Ben Wallace (UFA)
  • Anthony Tolliver (UFA)
  • Jermaine O’Neal (UFA)

Most of those guys aren’t realistic choices, but depending on how the free agent madness plays out, someone like Shaquille O’Neal or Jermaine O’Neal could become available on a one-year offer. If Chicago, Miami, New York, etc. load up on superstars and run out of cap room, then those veterans may not have any other choice but to sign with D.C. or retire. Anthony Tolliver has the most upside out of all the players on that list, but Washington would have to commit to him long-term, which isn’t a good idea with two young centers already on the roster.

Projected Depth Chart at Center in 2010-2011–

Starter: Free Agent pickup

First Backup (receives plenty of minutes): JaVale McGee

Second Backup: Kevin Seraphin

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Tags: Fabricio Oberto Javale Mcgee Jermaine O'neal Kevin Seraphin Nba Shaquille O'neal Washington Wizards

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