NBA Free Agency 2015: Why Jonas Jerebko Could be a Good Fit for the Washington Wizards


Why Jonas Jerebko Could Be A Good Fit In D.C.

The Washington Wizards are not championship contenders, at least not yet.

The D.C. squad has quite a bit of talent, but it is still missing a few key pieces before it can truly be considered a contender, even in the much maligned Eastern Conference. This year’s playoff run showed us that the Wizards appear to have the ability to be an elite level team when they spread the floor with shooting and athleticism.

During the post-season, the Wizards enjoyed some brief success by playing Paul Pierce at the four spot. While Pierce gave them the shooting part of that equation, he is not a lock to return next year. Even if Pierce does return, his lack of youth, defensive quickness, and size keeps him from being a long term solution.

On top of this, power forwards Kevin Seraphin and Drew Gooden are free agents this summer and Nene and DeJuan Blair are effectively on expiring contracts. As has been noted by many, it appears that a true stretch four would be a welcome addition for Washington.

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When looking for new players, the draft is always an obvious choice. While Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfield has taken heat for his draft choices in the past, Washington’s backcout of John Wall and Bradley Beal were lottery selections that have developed nicely so far and Otto Porter Jr. seems to be moving in the right direction.

This year the Wizards have the 19th pick in the draft and there are quite a few power forward possibilities there.

Bobby Portis, Montrezl Harrell, Kevin Looney and Trey Lyles are all potentially in play at the 19th spot, but banking on any one of those options each comes with its own difficulties.

The other main avenue for acquiring new talent is free agency.

The Wizards don’t have a great record of attracting marquee or even just solid free agents. The signing of Pierce last summer was one of Washington’s most valuable pickups in recent memory and hopefully the team’s recent playoff success will help the front office to build on that, but the Wizards are definitely not a team with a history of snagging top level talent from the open market.

Of course, that being said, there is a lot of buzz around the NBA about the impending free agency of DMV area native Kevin Durant.

Durant not only happens to be a player who spaces the floor, but is also a former MVP and, barring injury related setback, one of the top two players in the world. Wizards fans can only dream of slipping KD into that stretch four role alongside Beal and Wall and imagine the havoc that would create for opposing teams.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the meantime however, KD’s migration homeward is by no means definite and is not a possibility in free agency until next summer anyway.

So are there any other potential options in free agency that the Wizards could target this summer, preferably at a bargain price, while they hold out for Durant?

Several names that immediately leap out as true stretch fours that could do some serious damage with Wizards are Kevin Love and Paul Millsap.

Both of these players would be great fits for what the Wizards need as they can shoot the three and defend the power forward position.

However, both of these stars also are likely to stay with their current teams and would command a large asking price that the Wizards would be hesitant to pay when they consider their chances of landing Durant next summer.

There are quite a few other power forward free agents out there, but not many of them are true stretch fours that can both shoot the three and defend the power forward position.

One of the best options for the Wizards could actually be Jonas Jerebko of Sweden.

Jerebko played his first four years with the Pistons and then was dealt to the Celtics mid-season of this past year. Drafted 39th overall in 2009, Jonas saw his minutes drop significantly every year in Detroit.

However, once he went to Boston this season, his numbers improved in Brad Stevens’ offensive system. At 6’10 230lbs, he shot over 40% from three during his 29 games in Boston, averaging just under one made three per game.

The Swede was up and down with the Celtics, but was one of the most efficient players in the league on no dribble catch-and-shoot spot up jumpers per Synergy Sports. Think Drew Gooden, but younger and Swedish. Being able to knock down catch and shoot jumpers is a obviously a key skill for anyone playing with Wizards’ point guard John  Wall.

While his rebounding and rim protection leave much to be desired, Jerebko has a reputation for being an intense competitor, making him a fan favorite in both Detroit and Boston. Brad Stevens even used him at center for stretches and commented on his toughness and how hard he played.

Jonas is coming off of a four year $18 million deal and Boston fans at least are clamoring for him to be re-signed via their #SignTheSwede movement.

However, due to the Celtics’ arsenal of draft picks and trade pieces, and the fact that several other Boston players are accompanying Jonas into free agency, Jerebko’s future in Boston is far from certain.

He is most likely not the long term solution the Wizards are looking for, however, if he can be had for the right price, he could prove to be a valuable stop-gap player for this year and an small piece of insurance against the failure of #KD2DC.

Next: Wizards Draft Primer: The Big Men

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