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

  • Adam Banig

    I definitely agree as I think 99% of wizards fans do

    • Ben Mehic

      I’d hope so. I’ve seen people discount the process, so I thought I’d write about it. There have been a handful of people speculating whether the Wizards are going to trade their pick, which I think is ridiculous.

      • Adam Banig

        Yeah I agree. I’ve heard Thomas Robinson is expected to get cut. this would enable a team to sign him, I’ve heard it’s likely the rockets and the Kings would get compensation in return. I would love for us to sign him. I still believe he can become a good PF in this league, and securing a young PF like him could give leave us with a no brainer in the draft in Otto Porter (assuming Cavs/Magic don’t take him)

        We are right up against the supposed cap. we could only offer mid level exception which may be a downfall.

        • nich obert

          Well Robinson definitely isn’t getting an MLE. Id guess he gets 2 mil or so.
          We will have the bi-annual exception in full. Making us the only team who has both full exceptions.

          This is why signing Webster is scary. We might go into this year with Martell, Otto or Ariza as a 3rd SF but a scrub like Seraphin or Booker or Jan as a 3rd big behind both Néne and Okafor.

          Unless they dramatically turn it around, that will be an Achilles heel that might screw us out of the postseason.

          As far as I can tell, we won’t be able to acquire T -Rob under any circumstances. I’d rather try and target James Singleton again if he’d want to return. We gave him a raw deal after he played that 10 game stretch where he was literally one of the 10 best players in the NBA according to Win Shares and Wins Produced.

          I get why we were confident in getting production out of either Seraphin, jan, sing, or book. Or even 2-3-4 of those guys. But it didnt work that way, and we had the worst bench bigs in the league by a pretty startlingly wide margin. It’s amazing how legit this team would have been if Néne and Okafor magically played 82 games, 48 minutes and kept Seraphin in particular from touching the floor.

  • nich obert

    Good luck with Porter contributing right away.
    It’s scary how people act like its a foregone conclusion that these guys will be what they’re projected to be. Thomas Robinson sure didnt look like a guy who’d get salary dumped within months of being drafted, then cut within a year, worst case, we thought he’d be a rich mans Booker ( kinda like what we thought Jan’s ceiling was too, actually)

    I want to explore trading the 2014 pick before the season starts. It’s as risky as a trade can get, but I think the value returned could be astronomical. A guy like Millsap, Faried(?), Ryan Anderson, Ilyasova, Iguodala, etc would greatly out value a non lottery pick in the best of drafts. Finding the right guy would be the key.. But considering how looney everyone is over that draft, the Wiz putting their pick on the block may start an outright bidding war, which would be spectacular for us.

    Some team is going to do it. Some other team is going to give up a major asset for that chance at a star, as much as Denver likes Faried, he’s a 4th banana on a great team max. He’d be perfect here, and I’d think Denver would have to look long and hard at trading either him or Gallo if we put that pick on the table.

    The draft is king. But it isn’t binary. Sometimes picks are massively overvalued, sometimes young vets who have proven they belong in the league are a much better investment than “wherever we pick in the 2014 draft, among whichever high schoolers still look so good after a year of college” – add this years 3rd and whoever we’d get from trading the 2014 and we could be the 3rd best team in the east. Considering what we did in February and march, it wouldn’t shock me at all if we were excellent after adding two more legit pieces and bumping scrubs like Seraphin and Cartier out of the rotation.

    • Adam Banig

      No way should they trade the pick. Never works well for this organization. Do you write for the Washington post?

      What do you expect from Porter? I don’t know what you’re expecting but he can definitely contribute as a rookie. Maybe he’s not going to be Wall or Beal as a rookie, but that’s fine, he’s not Jan Vesley either…

      I can see him having a Harrison Barnes type rookie season.

      9 pts, 4 reb and an assist a game.

      He’s probably struggle early but come on strong at the end of the year.

    • Ben Mehic

      I think we should explore all options, but trading the pick for role players would be insane.

      Porter HAS the tools to contribute right away. Not sure why you disagree.
      He can shoot, run the floor and play defense. Those skills immediately translate to the next level.

      Thanks for being such a great commenter!

  • Adam Banig

    I don’t understand why people are so down on our young bigs (except for Vesley). I get it, they didn’t develop as well as we wanted them to last year but they’re all still very young players. When you really think about things, the lockout shortened season hurt all of their developments. Then booker had injuries that held him back.

    Unless we make a trade, they’re going to be around this season and I see at least one of them, if not two breaking out. The two guys who I have the most hope for are Booker ( because of his energy) and Seraphin because of his skill.