|The Usenet draft does not have an "official" second round. What we do is let teams without a first round pick, make a selection and do a team report. The first of these picks belongs to the Washington Wizards and Net GM James Nagle. The Wizards first round pick went to the Chicago Bulls. The the real draft, the Wizards pick #35. James selects:|
I. Draft History
Recent draft history is a slim one with respect to 1st round picks. Last year we took Richard Hamilton which turned out to be a reasonable pick. He was inconsistent for much of the year but ended up playing well as the season wound down. Surprisingly to me, he successfully played some PG. They team gave up 3 1sts for Webber and sacrificed another when Juwan Howard's deal with Miami was voided and another was sacrificed to obtain Mark Price. Fortunately, this will be the last year in which we will not have 1st as a result of the Webber deal.
II. Team needs
This team needs to rebuild but they will find it extremely difficult to do so. The biggest problem in this regard is the salary cap. The Wizards self inflicted cap problems are mostly due to Juwan Howard but also to Rod Strickland and Mitch Richmond who both make $10M/year. These 3 players will be very difficult to trade with the luxury tax taking effect soon. The teams biggest needs are for more size at Center and for an athletic all court Small Forward, that and for Howard, Richmond and Strickland to return to a level of play closer to their career averages.
III Analysis of current team broken down by player or position (include the teams FA's and if the team should resign them)
Again handled by Rod Strickland and Chris Whitney. Strickland had perhaps his worst year since being a part-time player as a rookie in NY. In the final year of his previous contract, Strickland was All-NBA and one of the top 10 players (by Tendex) in the league. He may never play that well again but he needs to come closer than he did last year when he was perhaps a slightly above average PG. Chris Whitney (FA) has shown to be a capable backup and even starter. The team record with Strickland out is not much different than with him in which tells me Whitney has done OK. For my view of their strengths and weaknesses as players, see my previous year's analysis on this same site.
Mitch Richmond started the year injured and never got a good streak of any length going. He had a few moments but his failure to play up to his career averages has made the critics of the Webber trade look that much better. Richard Hamilton got thrown into the mix early with Richmond's injury and perform adequately for a rookie. He was somewhat inconsistent and was also prone to mistakes that were too often untimely and compounded by further mistakes. Overall though, he showed that he could well be a future star in this league. He will need to improve defensively and put on a few pounds of muscle. He is very fast in the open court and an excellent shooter.
Juwan Howard had his worst year since being a rookie. He got shifted to PF later in the year after Michael Smith got hurt and he personally feels he is better suited to that position. I think he can play either effectively but is not ideally suited to either position. He was prone to excessive TOs often in the form of offensive fouls. Ironically he has shown himself to be a good passer but this is more apparent in the open court than when he has been double teamed in the low post. Tracy Murray backed up Howard at the SF and also played some occasional SG. He struggled mightily with his 3 pt shooting early in the year before finding his stroke and finisher the year among the top 10 at 43%. Gerard King also played some time at both F positions. Sometimes well, sometimes invisibly. He has a good face up "jump" shot out to 18 ft or so. Although he was on San Antonio's roster last year, he played very little so this was like a rookie season for him, with typical rookie results.
Ironically, this position, filled mostly by 2 new players to the team, started the season as perhaps the only position on the team that was providing reasonable performance. Michael Smith doesn't score a lot but rebounds well. Aaron Williams can score, rebound and block shots but was considerably hampered by foul problems. Sometimes he would come in and provide a much needed spark, other times he would come in and immediately pick up a couple fouls and disappear to the bench. These 2 guys came cheap and did more or less what was expected of them.
Ike Austin came in a trade for Ben Wallace and was a huge disappointment. The Wizards were hoping for something like what he did for MIA a couple years ago. What they got was the same or worse than what Orlando got from him more recently. Most believe that Washington would like to deal him but can't find any takers. He makes close to $5M/yr and has 2 years left on his deal. Jahidi White assumed the starters role in mid-season and was a pleasant surprise for the most part. He is somewhat foul prone but not as badly as I had feared. He is shortish for a C at 6-9 but has a legit NBA body and is not pushed around by anyone except Shaq. The biggest question about Jahidi is whether he can improve his hands. He simply loses too many passes and loose rebounds. If he can improve that aspect of his game, he has a nice future. Late in the season, Washington picked up local product Don Reid who had been released by Detroit. He actually played pretty well for us although like his fellow G'town alum Jahidi, he is short for a C and foul prone. He does not have Jahidi's bulk but does have pretty decent hands. Jahidi is a FA and should probably be re-signed if a reasonable deal can be worked out. At the very end of the season, Washington activated Calvin Booth, a rookie they had stowed on the IL until then. He had a history of being a good shot blocker and lived up to it. He is a thin 6-11 and may need a few more pounds but had better than expected offensive skills. Having said that, they are still not what they will need to be for him to be a truly effective player.
Coaching and Managment
As most know, Michael Jordon became a minority owner in January raising fan interest and long term optimism. He quickly fired coach Gar Heard who had lost the support and respect of the players. Darrel Walker replaced him. It was widely reported that MJ wanted Rod Higgins but GS refused to release him. Walker did a decent job and was retained by the team in a front office position. Higgins also joined the front office after the season. Within days of this writing, the Wizards finally hired their new coach, Leonard Hamilton of Miami. He seems to be a reasonable choice but I thought the same thing about Gar Heard who clearly did not work out. This all after a widely reported negotiation with former GW and current St John's coach Mike Jarvis.
IV. Your selection an why you made it
With the 30th pick in the Usenet Mock Draft, the Wizards select Chris Porter of Auburn. I picked Porter because he appears to fit the need for an athletic all-court SF best of the available players.
V. Other players considered
Other players considered include: Lavor Postell, Eduardo Najera, JaRon Rush, Corey Hightower and Jamaal Magliore. Of these Hightower was just taken; Rush has/had off court problems, not something this team needs; Postell is listed as a SG; Najera looks pretty good on paper to me but I'll trust Monter that he is not as good as Porter. My inclination is not to draft Magliore even though he is ranked higher by Monter as we already have adequate PF types in Smith, AWilliams or Juwan.
VI. Who the team will probably take:
There was some sentiment on our Wizards list to draft a PG. I'd say the choice of position to draft for will be made on the basis of their plans for CWhit, Rip as a PG, and Murray's future. And of course the another major considerations would be if they see a guy who they believe is a diamond in the rough.
VII Other moves the team should make
If they could trade Juwan they should. As he makes too much money, that is not likely. A trade of Strickland or Mitch should also be attempted however these are still potentially good players who they should be able to get something for. There was once talk of working a deal out with Detroit to unload Austin for the retired Dele. Austin should be moved, again if we can get something for him. Murray would like to be traded and could be an asset on the right team and he does not make an unreasonable salary.
|Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner|
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