Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wizards Get Lucky, Secure Third Pick

Hello Otto Porter. Welcome to the Wizards?

It didn't take long for supposed experts to recommend trading the third overall pick in next month's NBA draft. The Washington Wizards defied the odds at tonight's NBA draft lottery, jumping past the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets to secure the #3 selection behind Cleveland and Orlando. The Washington Post's Mike Wise wants Ernie Grunfeld to pass on Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, and trade the pick for an established veteran. Sound familiar?

June 24, 2009: The Wizards sent the fifth pick in the draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves for veterans Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Both players lasted one season. The Wolves drafted Ricky Rubio. If you're keeping score at home, that's Timberwolves 1 Insanity 0. Five years earlier, they did the same thing (albeit with more positive results.) The Wiz drafted Devin Harris with pick #5 and moved him to Dallas for Antawn Jamison. Should Washington tempt fate a third time?

Wise argues that the Wizards don't have time to wait on another young talent. Evidently next season is playoffs or bust. Come again? Unless Kevin Love is coming to town (fat chance) I can't see anyone else pushing the Wizards past the likes of Miami, Indiana or Chicago. Once more, an established veteran is going to require big money... the kind of money that could be better spent on a free agent (Andrew Bynum? Just kidding.)

Wizards basketball has been in the gutter for so long, what's another year or two to get things right? The addition of Porter would give Washington potential stars at the 1, 2 and 3 spots. John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter would be ages 23, 20 and 20 respectively at the start of next season: I'm getting goose bumps already. I could live with Emeka Okafor in the middle for the last year of his six-year $72 million contract... not to mention NenĂª at power forward. Martell Webster did an admirable job at the 3 in his first year with Washington, but he's not a long term solution (not to mention expensive to resign.)

Keeping the pick doesn't necessarily mean the Wizards wouldn't make the playoffs in 2013-14: Washington fared a lot better once Wall returned from knee surgery in January. Despite losing their final six games, I think the Wizards would have put up just as good a fight as #8 seed Milwaukee (38-44) did in the first round against Miami. Call me crazy, but I see the Wizards finishing seventh at worst... Let's hope Grunfeld & co. agree/stay the course.