So let the countdown to Wizards draft 2007 begin! It's good to see Ollie and Lil Bro are practicing the art of blogservation with the inanity of the baseball draft, but it's time to get serious. While the rest of the NBA is engrossed in the coronation of Queen James, it's time for the WizNation to plot its next move.
Having surfaced from the the depths that were 1980-2003, what are the next steps the team needs to take in order to be a serious contender?
A. Keep the core together -- Butler, Arenas -- see anybody missing from this list? Yep. The 32-year-old Jamison, who averaged 32 & 10 for the depleted squad in the playoffs. His age and the lack of defense -- everybody had their season high point total against him this year -- make him expendable for the right price. We'll talk what that price might be later. Meanwhile the team has to keep getting better in order to keep Arenas around after his current contract expires. More on that later, too.
B. Get everybody to buy into defense -- hmmm, the Suns aren't playing for the title, the Spurs are. Defensive intensity can equalize a lot of matchups. Arenas has talked a lot about this before. Is he willing to put in the time he takes working on his shot and apply it to learning how to shut somebody else down?
And we do need a defensive stopper of a center, somebody who can control the paint and can be waiting there when people go around our perimeter defenders.
C. Build a worthy second unit. We need the young guys to get better (Blatche, Lang) and we need better guys. Daniels, Blatche, Songaila... then the list gets thin. In case of injury, they need to be able to step up. Etan probably is best a 2nd stringer, too.
- We are getting a 1st and 2nd rounder this year, possibly Juan Carlos Navarro for the 1 or the 2, possibly Pecherov and Veermenko from last year's draft. That's a lot of new blood, 5 new players through the draft alone. If just one of the Eastern Bloc guys can play, this will probably solidify the 2nd unit as Daniels, Navarro (shooting guard?), Blatche, Pecherov or Veermenko, E Thomas or Songaila. That's a lot of guys who are good fits for the Princeton offense, not a lot of defense. I think that needs to come from this year's draft.
- Arenas has said he would be willing to not max out his contract in order to help the team. Would he be willing to opt out of his contract (which he can do after this season) and come back for 10 million per? That would be huge, and, I believe, an act of selflessness unprecedented in the NBA. Jamison's contract would be up, too, so he could be kept, perhaps eventually as a star reserve devoted to instant offense, for much less. That would open up the possibility of the Wiz pursuing MAJOR free agents next summer with that free cap room. Moves next summer will really define the next 5 years. If we are able to keep the core together and have room to add pieces, look out...