As we approach another offseason, starting with the NBA Draft Lottery which takes place in about a week, there is, as usual, a lot of cautious optimism about the future of the Washington Wizards, with a heavy dose of nervous trepidation on the side. With that said, there are always questions which remain unanswered about Washington’s future:
- Did John Wall really make “the leap”?
- Is Bradley Beal the real deal? Can he stay healthy or is he just injury-prone?
- Will Martell Webster be re-signed? And if so, for how much? Was last season just a fluke or the product of being healthy and being utilized properly?
- I love what Nenê brings to the team, but will he ever be healthy a full season?
- Can Kevin Seraphin improve on any other facets of his game?
- Aside from Wall (and possibly Seraphin), are the 2010 and 2011 draft picks just “guys”?
- Do the Wizards keep the lottery pick or trade it for a veteran, as John Wall and others have expressed?
I’m torn on what to do with this draft pick. If the right player is available, I’m all for trading the pick. That statement is incredibly vague. The “right player” is probably not on the trade market, and offhand I feel like the options out there right now are young players with bad contracts or injured former All-Stars with bad contracts. For this and a number of other reasons, I’m leaning much more towards keeping the pick:
- If this is in fact a playoff team, the team should probably utilize the last chance to be in the lottery for a while.
- Can’t the two expiring contracts and maybe future protected picks, or even Nenê (begrudgingly because I like him, and unlikely considering his contract and his injury past, present, and seemingly ominous future) be used to reel in a younger vet?
- If the Wizards are about to give John Wall his inevitably max contract (which, using this year’s cap as a barometer, is about five years, $79.6 million), they will need inexpensive labor. The likelihood of finding a difference maker on the cheap is higher with a lottery pick than with a lower-end or mid-level exception free agent.
Even in a so-called weak draft, there are players in the Wizards’ draft range that can provide help. Shabazz Muhammad can certainly provide scoring, at the very least off the bench. Anthony Bennett seems like an intriguing prospect. Victor Oladipo would seem to fit in very well with his defensive mindset and athleticism. Obviously, Otto Porter would be ideal, but unless the team moves into the top 3 he likely won’t be available when the team is on the clock. Besides, he just signed with David Falk, who seems to have a blood feud with the team. There are other names as well. I’m not a draft expert, so I’ll leave that to others.
Again, at this moment, I’m in favor of the Wizards keeping the pick, and maybe finding some other means to acquiring a veteran. The Wizards should certainly entertain offers, but unless there’s a homerun of a deal out there, I’d say stand pat.