3) Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker Probably Won’t Make Up For Emeka Okafor’s Absence
Emeka Okafor’s presence on the team is a lot more important than some realize, especially since the Wizards don’t have any other legitimate center on the roster. Washington has filled all fifteen roster spots, and they won’t be waiving anyone to sign another lowly free agent big in hopes of recovering what they’re missing, so they’ll have to rely on the bigs currently on the team to fill the void. The problem is: No one on the roster could defend or rebound like Emeka Okafor could.
Since Washington doesn’t have another center, they’ve slid Jan Vesely into the starting lineup while moving Nene to the vacant spot. Needless to say, the results haven’t been pretty. Last night, Taj Gibson scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench and completely dominated the Wizards’ big men. At times, the Wizards looked completely overwhelmed by Gibson and there wasn’t anything they could do to stop the Bulls from scoring inside. Although Taj Gibson is a productive NBA player, he shouldn’t be dominating the way he did last night. Something has to change, and it has to change before it’s too late. The Wizards are relying on a collective effort from the entire team to fill Okafor’s void, but the burden will ultimately fall on Nene and the other big man they decide to play along with him.
Management either needs to make a move for an available big, presumably trading Trevor Ariza (and his expiring contract), or they’ll probably continue to get dominated by the opposing frontcourt every night. Washington’s inability to defend down low is probably my biggest concern heading into the season, and the reserves aren’t helping their case at all.
I’m not sure what the solution is, but Washington needs to find one before it’s too late.