Again, major apologies for not making a real link out of this. Someday I'll actually figure out how to do this "blogging" thing. Then again, the energy that it takes to copy and paste this url burns you an extra .3 calories or so. Basically, I'm doing you a favor to get some extra finger aerobics since you've probably been at the calculating box for a bit anyways. Ah, whatever. It's a good mock draft put together by the seedy underground of basketball blogging, I don't usually read Bullets Fever (ed. Forever) but the blogger with the unfortunate handle of "Pradamaster" (I think that's the official job title of guys in Central Park selling cheap "designer" handbags) has some pretty good reasoning when 'selecting' for the Wiz.
"16. Washington - Pradamaster from Bullets Forever selects Derrick Byars: While the Wizards’ biggest need is probably an intimidating presence in the middle, that’s not going to be found with the 16th pick. Rather that draft another second-rate big to add to the cirque du soleil of second-rate bigs on the roster, the lack of depth on the wing should be addressed. Byars is the perfect fit for this Wizards team, having played in the Princeton offense while at Vanderbilt. He’s a solid all-around performer that, in addition to his scoring, plays excellent defense, which this team really needs. He’s also an excellent shooter, a strong ball-handler, and a fantastic passer for his position. I’m personally shocked that he isn’t getting more attention. The main criticism with Byars seem to be that he does a lot of things well, but nothing spectacularly. Hmm…sounds a lot like the 2006 Rookie of the Year, doesn’t it?"
Interesting. This draft is so strong and deep that I'd be happy with Lez Boulez ending up with several different players, Byars being one of them. Personally I think it's intriguing to see if they can move up if either Julian Wright or esp. Jeff Green falls within a few picks of them at 16 (by the way, as brutal as it was to see Caron and Gil go down within a few games of each other and the Wizards get swept out before they were even ion the playoffs, the collapse might end up helping them in the long run, since they'll be picking right before a fairly large dropoff in talent in the draft, and it just so happens to be a draft where it's a reasonable expecatation that you could pick up a difference maker at No.16. And if you're really feeling optimistic, you can reason that the lack of depth caused by injuries gave Grunfeld and Jordan a good chance to evaluate guys like Blatche and Roger Mason and give them experience and extended minutes in major games, as well as weed Haywood out as the douchebag he is.) The one big man who I think it might make sense for them to take is Jason Smith or Nick Fazekas if they could move up in the second to take him, but they already have too young jump shooting (presumbably) soft big men in Pecerhov and their most recent experiment, Vermeenko. So a solid wing who could possibly replace Jamison if he walks after this coming season, or if they decide to sign somebody else with the cash he frees up. The usually mind-numbing John Hollinger actually has a pretty good free Insider preview article about some potential free agents. Most of the real names are pretty unrealistic to expect to be available, but there is one name that's particularly intriguing: Elton Brand, who would bring some internal scoring, defense and toughness. His availability would depend on the somewhat mercurial Donald Sterling decides to drown the Clippers in another two decades of mediocrity by cheapskatedness. I wouldn't mind them trying to trade for before this season or sign after this season to a small two or three year deal Shaun Livingston, who had a lot of potential (though didn't allways live up to it) before he Thiesmanned his knee. He's still only 21 or 22 as well, though his knee is probably about 60 or 70 now, but because of lack of any really meaningful production and the risk of the injury, not to mention only one year left on the ol'mulitmillion dollar piece of paper, making him a gamble that might be worth taking.
Also, I'm glad the Wizards picked up local player and future Bruce Bowen, D.J. Strawberry. Oh wait, they're just working him out every other day the month leading up to the draft? Not much of a poker face, that Ernie Grunfeld, not that it'll matter since Strawberry figures to be a mid-2nd rounder at most anyways, but I'll gurantee he ends up being a successful Bruce Bowen-type of guy in the league for at least the next 8-10 years. He had the same kind of defensive insticts as Juan Dixon in college, but with more size and muscle.