||Welcome to the
2001 Usenet Mock NBA Draft. The first pick
belongs to the Washington Wizards. Their Net GM is: Peter
Dodson. With the first pick, the
Griffin, SF, 6'9" Seton Hall
1999-2000 Personnel Changes
Traded - Ike Austin (to Vancouver), Cherokee Parks (to LAClippers), Obinna Ekezie (to LAClippers, re-signed, then traded to Dallas), Juwan Howard (to Dallas), Calvin Booth (to Dallas)
Acquired Via Trade - Dennis Scott (from Vancouver), Cherokee Parks (from Vancouver), Felipe Lopez (from Vancouver), Obinna Ekezie (from Vancouver), Tyrone Nesby (from LAClippers), Courtney Alexander (from Dallas), Loy Vaught (from Dallas), Etan Thomas (from Dallas), Hubert Davis (from Dallas)
Released - Dennis Scott, Gerard King, Felipe Lopez
The 2000-01 season for the Washington Wizards was one of futility and hope. The futility came in a team record, 63 losses and numerous off court distractions.
Rod Strickland was arrested again, out of shape again, disgruntled again and still over paid. Both
Tyrone Nesby and Michael Smith had bench blow-ups with new coach
Leonard Hamilton and the team suspended Smith for two games. Smith also lived up to his Animal nickname off the court by being arrested for a DUI and he was then suspended by the NBA for the first game of the 2001-002 season. Injuries also took their toll on the team as not one player played all 82 games.
Mitch Richmond only played 37 games, Chris Whitney only 59 and Strickland only suited up for 33 before the trade. When Richmond was healthy, he played out of position at the SF position and he shot only 41% (a career low) from the floor and 34% from 3.
Juwan Howard also carried on his tradition of being a 17 million dollar bust. All in all, the first three quarters of the season was the worst 60 game period in franchise history.
Things however, began to look up at the trading deadline. Howard and his seemingly un-tradeable contract were traded to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks for up and comer
Courtney Alexander, young stud Etan
Thomas and veterans Hubert Davis and
Loy Vaught. Strickland was then released from his contract and he went to Portland and helped destroy that franchise. Leonard Hamilton, who was in way over his head, was fired and
Doug Collins was brought in as coach. Alexander had a great stretch of games with the Wizards averaging over 17 a game with the Wiz and was also named April's Rookie of the Month.
Richard Hamilton also continued to improve, averaging over 18 points a game, and it looks as though he could be a star in this league. The Howard and Strickland moves have freed up lots of cap space for the 2002 Vince Carter sweepstakes, with more cap space coming if the expected buyout of Richmond occurs this summer. Furthermore, the Wiz have finally fulfilled their draft pick obligations to Golden State from the Chris Webber deal. As well, rumors of Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley returning to play for the Wizards has buoyed the franchise and given new hope to Wizard fans. Now with the first pick overall in the 2001 draft, things are starting to look up for the Wizards franchise and if all goes as planned the Wizards might actually contend for a playoff spot in the 2002-03 season.
Roster and Key Stats
- C - Jahidi White - 8.6 pts, 7.6 rebs, 1.65 blks, 50% FG
- C/PF - Christian Laetnner - 9.3 pts, 4.7 rebs, 50% FG (averaged 13.2 pts after trade)
- PF - Michael Smith - 3.8 pts, 7.1 rebs
- PF - Loy Vaught - 3.3 pts, 3.4 rebs
- PF - Popeye Jones - 3.6 pts, 4.9 rebs
- PF - Etan Thomas - DNP
- SF - Tyrone Nesby - 8.3 pts, 2.8 rebs
- SF - Mike Smith - 3.0 pts, 1.3 rebs
- SG - Richard Hamilton, 18.1 pts, 3.1 rebs, 2.9 asts
- SG - Mitch Richmond, 16.2 pts, 3.0 asts, 2.9 rebs, 1.16 stls
- SG - Courtney Alexander, 9.5 pts, 2.2 rebs, 1 ast (averaged 17.0 pts after trade)
- SG/PG - Hubert Davis - 7.9 pts, 2.1 rebs, 1.7 asts, 45.6% 3Pt (averaged 10.2 pts after trade)
- SG/PG - Laron Profit - 4.3 pts, 2.5 asts, 1.03 stls, 1.3 TO
- PG - Chris Whitney - 9.5 pts, 4.2 asts, 1.7 TO
- PG - David Vanterpool - 5.5 pts, 3.0 asts, 1.05 stls
- Offence - 93.2 ppg (18th in league), 43.9% FG (16th in league), 32.4% 3Pt (27th in league), and 75.9% FT% (12th in league)
- Defence - 99.9 Points Allowed Per Game (28th in league), 47 % Field Goal % Against (27th in league), and 39.6 % 3Pt Field Goal % Against (29th in league)
Salaries and Contracts
|Player||Yearly Salary||Contract Length||Total Salary||Expiry of Contract
Popeye Jones, Christian Laettner, Michael Smith, David Vanterpool (restricted), Mike Smith (restricted)
Center - Jahidi White has a
ton of potential and athleticism, but he progressed little under Leonard Hamilton. White is a good shot blocker and an above average rebounder, but he needs to improve his conditioning and be more of a consistent scoring threat. Rumors have been floated around that
White may be on the trading block, but unless the Wizards go after Eddy Curry or one of the other High School centers, I don't see that happening.
Calvin Booth and Cherokee Parks both played some Center before being traded, but neither was the answer there anyway.
Christian Laettner played some Center after being traded from Dallas and he did quite well averaging over 13 a game, but he will not be back unless he signs for part of the exception and that is really unlikely given Laettner's character. The Animal also started some games at Center down the stretch, but he is horribly under-sized. Unless the Wiz draft Curry, this is White's position to lose. White has a tonne of potential and athleticism and Collins should help in his development. Collins will ensure that he stays motivated and in shape. White could be a 12-10 type of player with 2 blocks per game thrown in. White however, must learn to stay away from cheap fouls and ultimately stay in the game.
Power Forward - This may be the weakest position on a team that is weak at every position except Shooting Guard. The Wizards need a solid PF that can rebound, defend and score.
Michael Smith, Loy Vaught and
Popeye Jones averaged 10.7 points per game combined, so to say that some scoring is needed at this position is an understatement. Howard started off the season playing here before the trade, but after the trade it was PF by committee. Smith will not be back next season, but word is that the Wizards want Jones to stay and be a tutor to young
Etan Thomas. Loy Vaught and his fused back will also be able to lend some experience to Thomas and Vaught will also contribute some fouls and limited minutes, but Mr.Clipper's best days are far behind him.
It seems that right now, the Wizards are putting all their PF hopes in Etan Thomas, a player who has yet to play a NBA game because of an injury sustained last year. Thomas is extremely strong, a good rebounder and a good defender, but he is still a year or two away from being a major contributor. With Thomas, Jones and Vaught sharing the PF duties, rebounding should not be a problem. Scoring however, is a different story. Unless Barkley mounts a comeback and suits up for the Wizards, the Wizards need help fast at this position unless Thomas turns out to be the player Jordan thinks he will be.
Small Forward - Like the PF position, SF is another extremely weak position for the Wizards.
Felipe Lopez started the season at this position but he cannot shoot and not amount of athleticism can make up for that. Saying that, it was still a surprise to see a player with his positive attitude and ability be waived.
Mitch Richmond played out of position here when he was healthy, but was under-sized and he is much better suited at the SG position. Richmond suffered through the worst season of his career and he has been a total disappointment in Washington. Richmond has been apart of losing organizations for a long time now and a change in scenery, hopefully to a winning team, is what Richmond needs. Richmond will be bought out in the off-season and the early rumors peg Richmond in Miami, Los Angeles or Sacramento.
Tyrone Nesby played here, but he is inconsistent and volatile and possible trade bait if anyone wants him. Nesby was a sought after commodity on the free agent market a couple of years ago, but his problem may simply be one of frustration as he has only ever played for the Clippers and the Wizards in his short career.
Courtney Alexander, April's Rookie of the Month, played well at SF at the end of the season, but he is better suited as a SG. At 6'5, Alexander is not big enough to guard the bigger SF's who can post up (ie. Glenn Robinson, Shareef-Abdur Rahim etc..) so he is a defensive liability when both him and Hamilton are on the floor at the same time. Alexander opened up alot of eyes after the trade from Dallas after being relegated to spot duty on a deep Dallas team. Alexander is a pure scorer with great athleticism, but his defence needs to improve. If he had played with the Wizards all year he would have been a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year. Mike Smith, the Wizards only 2000 draft pick, played sparingly at the SF position and apparently Wizard management likes him and sees a future for him. In fact they liked him so much they only waived him once this year. The Wizards could get by with Alexander playing here next season and either Nesby or Smith backing him up, but the Wizards need to get bigger and better at this position to be competitive.
Shooting Guard - Easily the strongest position for this team, but at the time a bit over-crowded.
Richard Hamilton improved again this year, averaging over 18 a game. Hamilton's success, as well as Morris Peterson's in Toronto this year, can be attributed to longer stays in college and the intangible experience that comes along with winning a national championship. Hamilton, given the right players around him, could be a star in this league. Hamilton's game has improved in every facet, but he still needs to improve his defense. Rip had career highs in a game versus Golden State this year with 41 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
Alexander is a natural two guard and rumors are that Jordan is trying to trade Hamilton to free the spot up for Alexander, or himself, but I think that Jordan will stick with both of them as they are the best scorers and best basketball players on the team. If Hamilton were traded, he would only be shipped if the Wizards could get an All-Star player in return.
Hubert Davis also played some 2 guard, splitting his time between 2-guard and point as he did in Dallas. Davis is still a deadly outside shooter, whose importance and playing time should increase next year with the implementation of the zone defense. The Wizards are set at the SG position for the future. With Alexander and Hamilton both rising stars, this is one area that the Wizards do not need to worry about.
Point Guard - Strickland was the starting PG at the beginning of the season, but he was out of shape, had a bad attitude and had more run-ins with the law.
Chris Whitney played admirably as his fill in and back up, but was injured for the latter half of the season. Whitney has the heart of a lion and could be a solid point if he remains healthy. Whitney had career highs of 27 points and 13 assists during the year.
David Vanterpool, Laron Profit and
Davis shared the duties after Whitney went down. Vanterpool is a CBA'er who had some nice games and Profit saw some nice spots, but he turned the ball over far too much and is a 2 guard by trade. Profit started 12 games this year and had a career high 14 assists against Chicago and he also had career highs of 18 points twice this year. On a terrible defensive team, Profit is the teams best perimeter defender and a local product, so expect the team to find him some minutes next year. The Wiz could get by with Whitney, Profit and Davis sharing the duties next year, but at some point an upgrade is needed. However, this years' draft will not solve the Wiz's point problems, especially with the Wizards possessing the #1 pick.
I can only imagine that Leonard Hamilton never had to deal with the likes of Strickland, Nesby and the Animal as the Hurricanes head coach. Hamilton really had no chance as the head coach of this team and one can only wonder why Jordan picked him to be the coach of a team that was searching for stability (was it because everyone else in the college ranks turned him down?). Enter
Doug Collins. Collins is an intense coach, who will instill the team with a work ethic never seen before in Washington. Alexander and Vanterpool are already working out in Washington and Collins has let all his players know that reporting out of shape will be a major no-no for those who dare. Many have speculated that Jordan picked Collins because he was the only coach that he would ever play for other than Phil Jackson. While I do not subscribe to the Jordan returns rumors, Collins hiring certainly does add some fuel to the rumor fire.
Jordan made some great moves this year and has shed his roster of the under achievers and malcontents. Trading Howard and his contract to Dallas may end up being one of the greatest deals in NBA history simply for the fact that they got some serviceable players and a future star in return and Jordan freed up some cap room for the 2002 off-season. Buying out Strickland also freed up cap space and if Richmond is bought out this summer as most expect, well then, the Wiz will be the major player in the Vince Carter sweepstakes. There was talk of Jordan being named the Executive of the Year, simply because he did what most figured could never be done. But that is Jordan's trademark isn't it.
With Jordan bringing Collins on board, this team is headed in the right direction. Collins and Jordan respect each other and Jordan knows how Collins works and how hard he works. In his two years with the Wizards, Jordan has taken what could have been a bad team for a long time and made it into a team that has a bright future.
Past Draft Picks
- 2000 - Mike Smith - 35th overall, Louisiana Monroe
- 1999 - Richard Hamilton - 7th overall, Connecticut
- 1999 - Calvin Booth - 35th overall, Penn, St. (currently with Dallas, traded in Juwan Howard deal)
- 1998 - Jahidi White - 43rd overall, Georgetown
- 1997 - God Shammgod - 46th overall, Providence (out of league)
- 1996 - Ronnie Henderson - 55th overall, LSU (out of league)
- 1995 - Rasheed Wallace - 4th overall, North Carolina (currently with Portland, traded for Rod Strickland)
- 1995 - Terrence Rencher - 32nd overall, Texas (out of league)
- 1994 - Juwan Howard - 5th overall, Michigan (currently with Dallas)
- 1994 - Jim McIlvane - 32nd overall, Marquette (currently with New Jersey)
- 1993 - Calbert Cheaney - 6th overall, Indiana (currently with Denver)
- 1993 - Gheorghe Muresan - 30th overall, Romania (out of league, last with New Jersey)
- 1993 - Conrad McRae - 38th overall, Syracuse (out of league)
- 1992 - Tom Gugliotta - 6th overall, NC State (currently with Phoenix)
- 1992 - Brent Price - 32nd overall, Oklahoma (currently with Vancouver/Memphis)
- 1991 - LaBradford Smith - 19th overall, Louisville (out of league)
- 1990 - Greg Foster - 35th overall, Texas El-Paso (currently with Los Angeles)
Past Draft History
The Wizards recent draft history has been limited due to picks given up in various deals, including the deal to obtain Chris Webber from Golden State. Last years pick of Mike Smith was a bit of a shocker given that players like Chris Porter were still available, but he did come from a smaller school and he will need time to learn the pro game. The 1999 draft netted a future star in Rip Hamilton and a solid player in Calvin Booth. Booth however, was shipped to Dallas in the Howard deal and went on to have a major impact in the playoffs for the Mavericks. Jahidi White was also a great pick at 43rd overall in the '98 draft, but not good enough to make us Wizards fans forget God Shammgod or Ronnie Henderson who were both drafted late in the '97 and '96 drafts respectively. All in all, the drafts of the 90's have given the Wizards some great PF's, including Rasheed Wallace, Juwan Howard and Tom Gugilotta. The 90's has also seen the likes of Jim McIlvane, Gheorghe Muresan, Calbert Cheaney and Brent Price being drafted by the Wizards, all of who have had limited to moderate success in the NBA. Of the 17 draft picks the Wizards have had since 1990, 11 are still the league. My point is that drafting has not been the Wizards problem, the problem has been the trading away of those players or not being able to retain them. The biggest gaff was perhaps the Rasheed Wallace deal. Does anyone look back and think that Wallace for Strickland was fair? Wallace is exactly the type of player the Wiz need, minus the attitude, and I am sure that Jordan bemoans that trade everyday since he has been with the team. All in all, the past 11 drafts have been good to the Wizards, we can only hope this years is as well.
- Front Court Scoring - Of the front court players on the roster currently and expected to be on the team next year, White has the best per game average of 8.6. Vaught and Jones are not scorers and any scoring from the SF position will come from the outside. The Wizards need a post presence, who can also block some shots and help stabilize their
- Defense - To say that the Wizards need to improve their
defense is an understatement. The Wizards were 2nd to last in points allowed, 3rd to last in Field Goal Percentage allowed and last in 3 point field goal percentage allowed. Collins should help install a better defensive system, but the team needs to stop giving up such easy baskets. The Wizards desperately need both perimeter defenders and post defenders. Of urgent need however, is a player who can rebound, defend and block shots, but then, which team in the league isn't looking for a player like that?
- Talent - Alexander and Hamilton have talent and they have both improved over the course of the year, but it remains to be seen if they can be the go to guys the team needs them to be. White and Thomas could be solid starters in the future but White is not quite there yet and Thomas is unproven. Whitney, Davis, Jones, Vaught and Nesby are all nice role and bit players, but they are not good enough to play the type of roles that this team will need from them in order to compete for a playoff spot. To be a competitive team for the future, the Wizards need a lot of talent to complement the veteran role and bit players they have accumulated the past two seasons.
- Point Guard - While not a pressing need, the Wizards at some point need to upgrade this position. Whitney has heart, but it has not been proven if he can successfully be a full time point guard on a playoff caliber team. Given that, if Whitney is surrounded by the right players, he has the leadership to run the team (see Darrell Armstrong). This draft is not deep at the PG position, but there are rumors going around that Jordan is excited about Jamaal Tinsely, someone he believes could be the next Andre Miller. It looks however, that next years draft will be deep at the pg position (Frank and Jason Williams, Dajuan Wagner), so expect the Wizards to try and fill this position in next years draft or in the off-season via trade or free agency.
Griffin. In a draft loaded with uncertainties, Griffin is as certain as it will get this year. In his one year at Seton Hall, Griffin led the country in blocks at 4.4 per game and also had an impressive 17.8 ppg and 10.8 rpg. There has been much made about Griffin's attitude and his punch-ups with teammates, his latest with Ty Shine, but he may have too much talent to pass up (see Lamar Odom, 1999 draft). Griffin is athletic with long arms and he could provide the Wizards with the front court scoring and defensive presence they so desperately need. Griffin still needs to improve his outside shooting, especially his three point shot, but that will come in time. Griffin's points will come off offensive rebounds, post ups, his mid-range game and fast breaks. Griffin is just what this team needs - scoring,
defense and talent. If he can check his attitude at the door, which could be easy with Jordan around either on the floor or in the executive office, Griffin could be a superstar in this league.
Other Players Considered
- Eddy Curry - Baby Shaq' could be hard to pass up, because no one wants to pass on a 300 pound, athletic center with good hands. The fact that Curry has never played in college could cause the Wizards to shy away from him, because they need help now, not three or four years from now. If the Wizards do pick Curry, it could be a signal that Jordan is not coming back and they are building for the future. If they pick Griffin, it could mean that they want players in there who can help Jordan compete now. I am not a big fan of all these high school players coming out, because as we know they are all three to four years from being contributors to their teams. Curry's ability, size and post presence could mean that he is ready to compete now, but I really doubt it. Griffin is the safer pick of the two at this point and time and the Wizards must play it safe.
- Shane Battier - Battier is the most ready player to make an impact in the NBA next season, but in this years draft, that does not make Battier a #1 pick. Battier's leadership, shooting, defence and experience will make him a welcome addition to any team, but the only way the Wizards will take him is if they trade down to 4 or 5 and then draft him. I like Battier a lot, and the experience of winning an NCAA title is something that cannot be gauged. Battier would be a perfect fit for the Wizards, but unfortunately for him, being a university graduate and the national player of the year doesn't get you the first pick overall. "Upside" seems to be the buzz word this year and most players drafted are being selected on their future potential. Many scouts think that with Battier, what you see is what you get. The big question is, is that so bad?
Other moves team should make
- Teams Free Agents - The team will allow Laetnner and Michael Smith to walk away, but should resign Popeye Jones to give depth, rebounding and experience to the front line.
- Buy-outs - Mitch Richmond will be bought out in the off season, so he can take his 11 years of losing to another organization.
- Possible trades:
- Rumors are floating around that Jordan is shopping the #1 pick for two picks lower down in the draft and maybe a veteran. Jordan is said to like UNC/Charlotte's Rodney White and Iowa State's Jamal Tinsley.
- Another rumor floating around is that the Wizards are trying to pry Mike Bibby away from the Grizzlies. NBAtalk stated that the Wizards were also trying to hire Henry Bibby as an assistant coach, but that would all but kill the Mike Bibby rumors as he and his father have not spoken in many years.
- Rumors have popped up stating that Jordan is also trying to land Andre Miller, but those rumors are far fetched as it is doubtful that the Cavs will part with him. All these pg rumors tell us is that Jordan is interested in acquiring a top flight point guard.
- There is also talk of Rip Hamilton being traded to New Jersey for the 7th pick and a future first round pick. Don't expect this to happen.
- White is also said to be on the block, but only if a veteran C could be had in return. If the Wiz draft Curry and he starts to play well, White will probably be traded at some point to give Curry more playing time.
- The Jordan factor - I have tried to stay away from the Jordan speculation in this report, because as I have stated I am not a believer of the Jordan returning rumors. People are citing the Hamilton trade rumors, Jordan's desire to get a solid pg in (Bibby, Tinsley etc..) and the hiring of Collins as signs that he is returning. There was also talk of Jordan possibly playing on the Wizards summer league team along with Barkley and Patrick Ewing! Is Jordan coming back? Who knows. All I know is that it will not help the Wizards in the long run. If Jordan and Barkley do come back, then the Wizards will be competitive for the two years or so they will be in Washington, but what about when they retire again? The Wizards need to bring in some young players and build around them. Jordan and Barkley will take playing time away from Hamilton, Alexander and Thomas, the three guys that Jordan has stated that he wants to build around. It makes no sense to me. The best thing for Jordan to do, is draft well, sign some good free agents and continue to build this team from where it is now. Jordan returning will give the team exposure, but in the long run he will help the team more in the executive capacity, rather than the player capacity.
- Possible free agent signings - The Wizards will only have the veterans' exception to work with this off-season, so it will be interesting to see whom they go after. If Jordan decides to come back, I am sure that a lot more players will sign at cheap prices with the Wizards. There have already been rumors of Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing willing to play for the Wizards if Jordan comes back. However, if Jordan returning is not a reality I think that the Wizards will look to add some front court scoring and another point guard to this team, so that is who I have concentrated on in terms of possible free agent signings:
Chris Gatling (Cleveland), Gary Trent (Dallas), Cedric Ceballos (Miami), Damon Jones (Vancouver), Anthony Johnson (Cleveland), Dana Barros (Detroit)
Next Years Forecasted Lineup
- C - Jahidi White
- PF - Etan Thomas/Popeye Jones/Loy Vaught
- SF - Eddie Griffin/Tyrone Nesby/Mike Smith
- SG - Richard Hamilton/Courtney Alexander
- PG - Chris Whitney/Hubert Davis
- C - Jahidi White
- PF - Charles Barkley
- SF - Michael Jordan
- SG - Richard Hamilton
- PG - Chris Whitney
NOTE - I would like to thank NBAtalk for the rumors.