6. Washington Bullets

The Washington Bullets own the 6th pick and are represented by co-GM's:

  The Crossjammer 
  Jim Nagle .

They have selected:

  J.R. Rider, SG, 6-5, UNLV.


What's a beleagured franchise to do? While the Magic's picking first
two years in a row is highly improbable, how about the Bullets picking
6th two years in a row. The Bullets are so star crossed that even this
mock draft has been somewhat cursed. My co-gm, Jim Nagle, and I were
definitely expecting something around 3 to 4 or at worst 5. 6 makes
for some nasty choices as you will see. In the meantime, thanks to
Craig for putting up with multiple late choices from Les Boulez staff.
Most of the position by position analysis was by Jim, but I made the
final choice.

Being a fan, I will try to be as objective as possible but who's perfect?

Team Needs

_ _  _ _  

Any team that goes 22-60 must have needs, no question about it. While
the Bullets do have some good young talent they could clearly use some
help at several positions/areas. They are one of the youngest teams in
the NBA and have the lightest total roster weight of any team. They
are not par- ticularly big heightwise either. They have a solid (when
not injured) center in Pervis Ellison, a very promising 1st year
player in Tom Gugliotta, Harvey Grant is solid at the SF. They
backcourt was a significant weak area for the Bullets. Micheal Adams,
a 1-time allstar did not have a very good year in many ways. The
Bullets biggest problem area was at the 2 guard.  Over the course of
last season, the Bullets used at least 4 different players starting at
this position. No one of these should be confident of much for the
coming year (although the Bullets do have 9 guaranteed contracts
already for next year). The started the year with Chapman but Buck
Johnson and LaBradford Smith and Doug Overton also started a
significant number of games. The Bullets probably should have won 5-10
more games than they did as they went through a long stretch of the
season blowing games in which they had significant 4th quarter leads
vs playoff teams and would consistently find ways to lose these games.

Center:	Pervis Ellison began the year slowly after sustaining a minor
knee(?) injury in an early game and did not begin to show the form
that made him most improved player the previous year until
mid-Dec/early Jan.  His season ended midseason in a game vs ORL with a
knee injury. CJ (Charles Jones) became the starter until a knee injury
ended his season late in the year. As a result, the Bullets picked up
Marc Acres and he actually played decently in several games, but was
not consistent (no surprise there). Acres could return to the Bullets
as a backup for next year as CJ is 35 or so and may not return. Pervis
plays a pretty good center but is very light at around 225 lbs and can
be shoved around by many NBA centers. At 6-10 with very long arms he
is still a decent rebounder and a good shot blocker.  He also shoots a
good FG% around 52-53% and has some range as well although Wes prefers
him to shoot from in close.

Power Forward: Tom Gugliotta was the Bullet's most consistent player
this past year avg 14ppg, 9.6 rpg and 3.8 apg. he also led all rookies
in steals.  On the negative side, he only shot around 43%FG and ft% of
around 66. His postup game was not all that could be desired either.
After a early season game vs Utah in which he scored 39 pts, mostly on
outside jumpers, the league responded by often guarding him with their
SF. Gugs was not consistently able to take advantage in the post of
his usually superior size and frequently took low % fade-away shots
after posting up. He also was somewhat turnover prone although many
to's where errors of commision rather than omission and for a rookie
handling the ball frequently, to be expected.  Larry Stewart backed up
Gugs and had some moments of positive play.  Unfortunately for Larry,
he has PF skills but more of a SF body. He still shot a high FG% even
though he frequently got shots rejected. He also slipped somewhat at
the line in his 2nd year after shooting around 80% his first.  He will
allmost certainly be working on a 15-18 ft jumper and his ball-
handling. If Gugs and Stewart were only able to transfer their
respective strengths to each other either one would be much much
better. Gugs needs Stewart post footwork and moves. Stewart needs Gugs
good shooting range and terrific (for a PF) ball handling skills.

Small Forward: Harvey Grant, Bullets team Captain is a good player,
but like his teammate Ellison, is very thin. A capable scorer at
nearly 20 ppg for the year and a reasonably good FG% of 48-49%. He had
difficulty with consistency this year. Harvey's body was beaten on
often by PF on the B's offensive end but Harvey tried to hang tough
while suffering with shin splints (A chronic problem with him) and
back trouble as well. Originally a stand still jump shooter, Harvey
now has reasonably good ball handling skills and frequently took
opposing PF off the dribble and has developed into a good finisher
with either hand. Against SF, he would often post-up and use a good
turnaround shot to score over shorter players. Backing up was the
rookie Don MacLean. He showed occaisonal moments of promising play on
offense but his accurate set shot is released from in front of his
body in an easy position to block. He does have a quick release which
is some compensation. He was at his worst on the defensive end however
showing little in the way of footspeed. He does have good height for a
SF at 6-9 or so. Buck Johnson also played some at SF in addition to
playing at the SG. He was better (than MacLean) defensively but was
best in the transistion game on O. Unfortunately, the Bullets didn't
rebound well enough to run as much as their backcourt personnel
(especially M Adams) would like.

Shooting Guard: The single weakest area on the team. Particularly
defensively.  With CHapman 6-4, Smith 6-3 and B Johnson 6-7 (but
really a SF) the bullets were often victimized by opposing SG, most of
whom were much larger. Every playoff team in the east has at least 6-5
SG. Chapman had his moments as did Smith and Johnson scoring wise but
were inconsistent. Defensively, only Johnson has the size to matchup
vs most SG but lacks true guard quickness.  Chapman moreso, but Smith
as well, were also hurt by injuries, Chapman going on the DL at least
twice. This may be some explanation for their inconsistency but it has
been their consistent history in both their (Chapman/Smith) relatively
young careers. Smith was starting to play quite well at one point and
had the audacity to score 37 vs CHI and Jordan.  Unfortunately for
Smith, they played again the next night and Jordan woke up from what
for him had been a relative slump and got 20 points in the 1st quarter
leading the Bulls to a romp over Wash in the Cap Centre. Smith never
seemed to fully recover from this for the rest of the year.

Point Guard: Micheal Adams handled the PG duties for much of the year
before a hand injury ended his season in March I believe. His FG% was
up significantly over the previous year to around 43%. He also shot
very well from the line at around 88%. Good assist numbers but
probably a relatively high number of turnovers to go with (nearly 8
apg). Micheal is much more at home in a running game and was generally
ineffective when forced to play halfcourt. The Bullets would try to
run the pick and roll but opposing teams would double Micheal forcing
a lob pass (Adams is only 5-10) which defenses would quickly rotate to
adjust for. Overton was Adams backup when he was healthy and for a
while, Wes started them together. In this scenario, Adams was usually
the SG on O and it worked well in some cases, noteably an early season
game vs SAN. SAN's larger slower guards, Del Negro/Ellis couldn't keep
up. In other cases the lack of size was too much to overcome. Overton
is 6-2 or so. He actually played quite well overall when not injured
(started the year on IR and spent atleast 1/3 of the season on the IR
with a ligament problem in his thumb). Overton was picked up as a free
agent for 1 year deal and is a free agent this year. Not sure if RFA
or UFA. In either case, the Bullets should try to resign him as he was
their most effective PG in half court. Brent Price received much
playing time especially after Adams season ending injury.  He had 1
good game early in an ORL blowout of Wash but struggled for much of
his rookie year under the constant pressure of quick(er) defensive
PGs. He showed good form and range on his shot but only shot ~35% from
the floor. He will not have an NBA career very long if he cannot
improve on that number and his ballhandling under pressure as well.

My number one choice if lucky enough is Webber. After that the way
becomes much less clear. Bradley would enable Pervis to move to PF but
would still leave the Bullets THIN up front although between he and
Pervis, they'd block their share and more of shots. On offense, Pervis
plays well with his back to the basket so how much is gained is
questionable. That would also make Grant tradaable although he is
making BIG BUCKS and I believe he has trade approval clause in his
contract and can become an UFA after (perhaps?) only 1 more year.

Mashburn would leave Pervis at center but again make Grant expendable.

Rogers should be considered but might not be as the Bullets were
recently burned taking a 6-7 forward from Wake Forest (K. Green).
Seriously though the Bullets should have a higher pick than the one
where they'd end up with Rogers.

If Mash, Bradley and Webber are all gone when the Bullets pick they
should go for Hardaway/Cheany/Rider...probably in that order which
means probably Hardaway. He or Cheany would provide much needed size
at the 2 and could help on the defensive boards as well. Hardaway has
the additional attractive feature of perhaps being able to play the
point. In halfcourt situations, the Bullets could really use someone
with his size to initiate the offense.

One last note on Mashburn, the Bullets would have a very versatile and
talented foward rotation if they take him and keep Grant. They could
probably play any combination of Mash/Grant/Gugs at any time.

The Bullets also have 3 2nd round choices including their own early
2nd round choice. But with 9 guaranteed contracts it's hard to
see/predict what could happen here.

Webber most clearly addresses their biggest weakness, lack of strength
and inside power and must be taken if at all possible.

Your Bullets reporter/evaluator- Jim Nagle


And now, as the mock Bullets GM, we select:

J. R. Rider, UNLV

The simple fact is, the Bullets have not had *anybody* since Jeff
Malone who was in their prime and could really fill up the hoop.
Bernard King had one good comeback all-star season, and Harvey Grant
is a credible threat but let's face it, the Bullets haven't had a goto
guy since the Bobby Dandridge, Elvin Hayes days. And even Malone,
being a spot up shooter, couldn't make a shot for himself.

J. R. Rider is in the mold of Jordan and more recently Harold Miner.
He's a two guard who has proven he can score inside and outside, who
was the big gun on his team, and more importantly from this GM's point
of view, has a certain mean streak that the potential greats all have.
At worst, he might turn out to be a Dale Ellis or a Vernon Maxwell,
but from the Bullets point of view that's not too bad considering
they're a couple more lottery picks away from contending.

Others considered:
Well, just about any of the rest of the Magnificent Seven (Cheany, Rider,
Rogers, Webber, Bradley, Hardaway, Mashburn). Mass confusion reigned at
Bullets central for a while and we had actually picked Rodney Rogers for
about an hour and a half, but that order was belayed. Frankly, we thought
we'd have a much better pick than 6. Clearly, the Bullets are in a Best
Player Available (BPA) mode and at every position. I should note that I
think pretty much everyone on the team is expendable, except for Googs,
especially if they net multiple young talents.

My only misgiving is that 2 guard, I feel, is the easiest position in the
NBA to fill. Therefore, since a 6 is sort of risky anyway, you might as
well throw it at a big guy since they come along less often. That said, I
still think Rider has the potential to be, if not Jordanesque, let's say

Note that my assistant GM, Jim thinks that Rogers is more of a "sure
thing". He also believes that there's already a lot of potential at 2 with
Chapman and LaBradford Smith. Personally, I think Chapman is strictly 6th
man material for the rest of his career and Smith is too small to play a
lot of 2 guard. Rider will almost definitely overshadow both.

Who they'll probably take:
Again BPA, with an emphasis toward 2 guard scorers. I think the mock draft
pretty much reflects who will be taken when, although it might not reflect
where everybody eventually winds up. That means the Bullets will probably
wind up with either Rogers or Rider. Cheany might slip this far, but I'm
not sure the Bullets would take him. If Mashburn or Hardaway get this far
(yeah right) the Bullets would be stupid not to take either. This is modulo
trades and/or tryout performances.

Other moves:

Hooo boy. Has the NBA created a monster in the salary cap or what? The
Bullets per se are not in a great trading position. BUT, they do have some
leveragable talent in Pervis and Harvey. Meanwhile, nobody else can afford
to pay the people they do have and sign their draft picks. Also, you might
be able to convince someone to take Michael Adams off our hands as well. I
could see gutting the team for draft picks and hoping they don't get
screwed in next year's lottery. The problem is that the Bullets are slowly
running out of good PR, not that they had a huge stockpile to begin with.
Thus, they can't really afford much more than one more bad season before
they crawl back into the playoffs.

But the salary cap mess between Golden State and Orlando could leave room
for somebody like the Bullets to move up to three or be involved in a three
way deal. The Bullets could become a sink for excess salary on other teams,
but as Jim points out the Bullets have a bit of guaranteed contract problem
themselves. The Bullets essentially have something that might entice either
team in Pervis Ellison. Orlando could move him to power forward (and don't
give me that two players in the paint crap, Orlando will do something to
put Tom Tolbert back on the bench) while the Warriors could pick up another
big body and go with a two headed center. Also, I could see the Wolves or
Mavs being willing to swap places for a Grant or Ellison.  That might
enable the Bullets to pick up Hardaway who is the only other guy who seems
to have *real* superstar potential. No trade clauses could come into play
here though. Jim thinks Ellison should be untouchable except for the first
pick in this year's draft. I'd deal him for Golden State's pick and another
player, Hill or Marciulionis, but nothing less.

Also, the Bullets have three, count em three, second round draft picks.
Jim could see the Bullets packaging them up with possibly another player to
get another first round pick, probably late, and take a shot at one of the
projects: Luther Wright, Acie Earl, Ervin Johnson, Vin Baker.

The Final Analysis:
It's wait until 1995 for the Bullets.

Draft Summary:

1.  Orlando
    GM:   Tom@Orlando 
    Pick: Chris Webber, PF, 6-10.  University of Michigan
2.  Philadelphia
    GM:   Dave Meeks 
    Pick: Shawn Bradley, C, 7-7. BYU
3.  Golden State
    GM's: Mike Moore 
          Terry Wong 
    Pick: Jamal Mashburn, SF, 6-8. Kentucky
4.  Dallas
    GM:   Curtis Hill  
    Pick: Anfernee Hardaway, SG, 6-7, Memphis State
5.  Minnesota
    GM's: Kevin Hansen 
          Toni Morgan 
    Pick: Calbert Cheaney, SF, 6-7. Indiana
6.  Washington
    GM's: The Crossjammer 
          Jim Nagle   
    Pick: J.R. Rider, SG, 6-5, UNLV

Next up:

7.  Sacramento

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner