Mar 9, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Syracuse Orange forward C.J. Fair (5) fights for a loose ball with Georgetown Hoyas forward Otto Porter (22) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Stay on Path, Build Through the Draft

While Miami Heat fans are celebrating another NBA Championship, die-hard supporters of bottom feeding teams such as myself are patiently awaiting the NBA Draft, which takes place in about six days.

As the draft approaches and reports arise about potential trade deals involving lottery teams and their picks, I can’t help but think about the foundation the Wizards are trying to build. With that said, clubs which are stuck in the middle of the pack are trying to acquire picks from lottery teams, with the hopes of getting a young player who could potentially revitalize their franchise.

Since the Wizards have the third pick in this years NBA Draft, interest will undoubtedly be high in their selection. Trade rumors and all sorts of scenarios will surface, most of which never come to fruition. Since this years draft is considered weak in terms of prospects with star potential, Washington’s chance of getting a player through a trade who is worth their pick isn’t very high. Possibilities of acquiring established talent always causes some fans to become intrigued, but we can’t forget about the plan Washington is trying to fulfill.

Wizards owner, Ted Leonsis, has instilled a “10 Point Plan” which has the potential to work, when executed correctly. The fourth statement in Leonsis’ 10 Point Plan involves the draft, which Leonsis obviously values highly;

4. Commit to building around the draft. Invest in scouting, development, and a system. Articulate that system and stay with it so that all players feel comfortable– know the language– know what is expected of them– read the Oriole Way*. It worked and it is a great tutorial. Draft players that fit the system, not the best player. Draft the best player for the system. Don’t deviate or get seduced by agents, media demands, or by just stats or hype. Envision how this player will slide into your system.

We’ve seen teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder rebuild their team successfully through the draft, which is probably the way Washington is looking to complete their rebuild. Acquiring high-level talent through the draft, which aren’t necessarily the players with the most upside, but fit the system, is something we’ve seen successful teams do in the past.

There have been tons of fans willing to quit on their teams, just because they’re inpatient at the process. The NBA Draft is one of the best ways to rebuild a basketball team, rather than giving up future pieces for investments through trades. Drafting a guy like Otto Porter Jr., who can come in and contribute right away as well as in the future, is something the Wizards have a chance to do next week.

If Ted Leonsis and the rest of Washington’s management stay the course, it’ll eventually turn around. “Potential” is a word that’s often used to describe prospects in the draft, which isn’t necessarily a good start to a foundation. Wizards general manager, Ernie Grunfeld, has drafted based on potential in the past, and has failed miserably. JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Nick Young and even Jan Vesely have all the potential in the world, but have failed to make an impact in the NBA.

That’s why I’m hear to say; stay on path and continue building through the NBA Draft.

Does it take time? Sure, but it works if it’s done correctly.

In spite of everything, Washington has had good drafts in the past few years. Acquiring John Wall and Bradley Beal might sound like obvious decisions, but it’s certainly a start. Getting another guy this year, who has the tools to play along side Wall and Beal without compromising their rebuilding plan, can be done in about six days.

Don’t trade the pick or draft a guy based on potential.

Stay on path and it’ll eventually turn around.


Tags: Ernie Grunfeld Nba Draft NBA Draft 2013 Otto Porter Ted Leonsis Washington Wizards

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