If you’re like me, you are trying to be patient while basketball slowly fades into the background for a couple months. I’m as much of a football and baseball fan as the next guy, but the debate just isn’t as much fun for me unless I’m talking about my beloved basketball and the Washington Wizards. I’ve been looking for a brain to pick to stir up some good Wizards conversation, so I figured who better than our own Wiz of Awes editor Kevin Hine? I could talk all day about the Wizards (much to the dismay of many), but I decided to narrow it down to the three toughest questions I could think of, plus one bonus somewhat Wizards related question. So, if you would do me the honor Mr. Hine, let’s get this started:
1. Chris Cook: It’s no secret that the Wizards drafted Bradley Beal with the number three pick with hope that he will be part of the future of this franchise. Jordan Crawford was the 27th overall pick made by the Nets in 2010 before being shipped to Atlanta. He was then a throw in for the Mike Bibby/Kirk Hinrich trade bringing him to Washington. Crawford was the team’s second leading scorer last season, but his shooting percentages were awful. Bradley Beal averaged 17.6 points per game in the Summer League, but only shot 41% from the field and 30% from deep. Who do you start at shooting guard opening night?
Kevin Hine: I think the clear and obvious goal is to have Bradley Beal starting in the backcourt next to John Wall for a long time in Washington, but that doesn’t mean Beal will be starting opening night against Boston. Most think it’s a foregone conclusion that Jordan Crawford will be the Wizards’ starting shooting guard to begin the season — and I think that’s what is going to happen as well — but there should, and likely will, be a competition for the starting shooting guard spot between the two during the preseason.
Chris Cook: I’m as big of a Jordan Crawford apologist as you’ll find, but I don’t have many excuses left. I don’t have an issue with Beal or Crawford in the starting line-up come opening night, but whoever it is, I have them on a short leash.
2.Trevor Booker has missed games at the end of each of his first two seasons with injuries. He has been one of the biggest surprises on this Wizards team and does everything you could ask of him every night. He even added a nice mid-range game last season. How concerned are you about his injuries and how big of a piece do you think he will be considering the depth the Wizards have at the four spot?
Kevin Hine: I’ve been one of Trevor Booker’s biggest fans during his two seasons with the Wizards, so it’s no surprise that I’m not concerned about a lack of durability on his part. During his first two seasons he’s dealt with a broken bone in his right foot and plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He came back this past season fully healed from the broken foot before the injury bug bit him again with a case of plantar fasciitis. To me, the injuries are more fluke than anything else. However, if he gets injured for a lengthy period of time again this upcoming season, I may have to rethink my stance but for now, I’m not worried.
Chris Cook: Part of me was asking that question because I was concerned about the health issues that have been shelving one of our best young athletes. The other part of me just wanted to hear some comforting words to make me feel like everything is going to be okay with Booker T. Well done, Mr. Hine.
3. The three 2011 draft picks (Vesely, Singleton and Mack) all had pretty underwhelming rookie seasons. The only impressive thing from any of their stat lines is Jan Vesely’s 5.2 fouls per 36 minutes. Given the benefit of a full off-season, who makes the biggest jump this year?
Kevin Hine: I don’t think there’s any question that of last year’s three draft picks, Jan Vesely takes the biggest jump in year two. Part of that prediction is because I’m not very high on Chris Singleton or Shelvin Mack, but I think Jan Vesely has a good chance to become a key player off the Wizards’ bench. As a rookie, Vesely couldn’t hit a jump shot, but during last month’s summer league in Las Vegas he made more jump shots than he did all of last season. With an improved jump shot and a year under his belt, Jan Vesely should show more improvement than Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack.
Chris Cook: I’m interested to see where Vesely is going to pull his minutes from unless he can shape himself into something of a small forward. Who says miracles can’t happen?
Bonus Question: Which former Wizards sharpshooter would you rather want on your team this season: Gilbert Arenas or Rashard Lewis?
Kevin Hine: Wow. Ummmm….. I guess I’ll take the lesser of the two evils and take Rashard Lewis, who wouldn’t provide the distractions that the man formerly known as “Agent Zero” would.
Chris Cook: ‘Nuff said. That’ll do it for this Wizards Q&A session. There are many more questions out there waiting to be answered, so keep your mind sharp Mr. Hine.