Wizards’ draft position attracting attention
As Thursday’s draft draws near, the Wizards are discovering that No. 3 is in demand. According to two league sources, the Wizards have been fielding calls in recent days from teams interested in moving up to possibly select Kansas big man and District native Thomas Robinson.
The Charlotte Bobcats hold the second pick in the draft and are reportedly interested in taking Robinson but they also need to acquire more assets after finishing 7-59 last season. Cleveland has been mentioned as a possible trade partner for the Bobcats, since it holds picks No. 4 and No. 24.
The Cavaliers have interest in Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and could risk losing out on the player they covet most by standing pat — which adds to the intrigue leading up to the draft.
The Wizards have interest in three players — Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes — and believe they are in a great position to address their needs for an upgrade in perimeter talent. It would likely take a knockout offer for the Wizards to budge, but they are picking up the phone.
If Charlotte deals the No. 2 pick and blocks the Wizards from taking the best perimeter option on their draft board, it would be interesting to see if Washington stands in the way of the Bobcats taking Robinson. This is a crazy draft game.
We should be considering Robinson for ourselves. We've got a lot of PF/C tweeners who don't rebound and don't play in space. It'd be nice to get a true PF like Robinson that does those things.
I'm of the opinion that PF is the second most important position in today's NBA game. First is the player who runs your point, be it a PG, combo guard, or point forward like LeBron.
I think a few rule changes made in the late 90's and early 2000's have made huge changes in the way the game is played. Offensively, the pick and roll/pop is now king and guards who can get into the lane and score/dish are 1/2 of the equation. The other half is a forward that can stretch the floor with the pop man and also finish at the rim as the roll man. Isolation scoring isn't as important as it used to be. The days of the big man scoring 27+ PPG on ISO post offense are probably over. Back then, if it even looked like you were thinking about guarding an area instead of your man to help out a big who was getting posted up by the Hakeems of the world, it'd be an illegal defense call. Your post up bigs will get aggressively doubled now, so the low post game from the big has become more of a secondary form of offense primarily designed to create space for the perimeter scorers.
The new prototype of offensive player is best personified by Westbrook/Rose/CP3 as the facilitator at PG, and Durant as the finisher at forward. Huge, fast guards that get into the lane at will to create space for their teammates coupled with a tall forward that can run, finish, and shoot is nearly unstoppable on its own. Durant can not be effectively guarded when a floor is properly spaced. And even when it's not, he can still pull up in your face and shoot over most opponents from range.
Things have changed most on defense. The NBA is about floor spacing now. Zone defense + defensive 3 seconds + loss of arm & hand checking has fundamentally changed the way the league plays defense. It's about preparation, rotation, pressure, and help now. Team defense is vastly more important than lockdown man defense. In the old days, you'd just man up on your guy and shove him around to keep him out of the lane and if you failed, there was a big camped out beneath the basket to give you help. Now the floor is much more spaced. You play defense by putting a hand in the face of shooters to bother them with pressure--which is effective, but you can't muscle offensive players around any more. You have to be comfortable defending in space.
The 4 man that can defend the rim against slower and more traditional fives/alter shots in the paint and around the rim but also step out to the perimeter and guard increasingly prevalent stretch 4s and 3s is now the most valuable defensive player in the game. With that player alone, you can pretty much play great defense.
I read an article that points out we've never really had a full careers worth of the PF that defends the new stretch forward. It said KG comes closest, but his career sort of straddled the eras between the rule changes. Since the rule changes, there hasn't really been a transcendent 4 to come into the league to counter the Nowitzki's of the world.
Anthony Davis is the prototype defensive 4 of the future in the same way Kevin Durant is the prototype scoring wing of the future. He has the background of a guard with the length of a center. He's utterly brilliant playing in space and his length is so freakish he completely clogs the paint too. Plus he rebounds, handles the ball pretty well (breathtaking going coast to coast), can pull up and shoot (providing his own offensive ability to stretch the floor as the pop man), and he finishes so ridiculously well as to make him an elite roll man too. Basically, he's as close to the perfect future 4 as we're likely to see for a long time. Holding 4s to his standard is going to be disappointing.
Where I'm going with all this is that I think TRob could be a far more valuable player than he's been given credit for--if he becomes a standout defender.
He's got some inkling of a face up game and he certainly has potential as a standout finisher and roll man given his strength and athleticism. He should be offensively valuable. He rebounds. What I'm most curious about is his defensive potential. If he had the ability to guard the 3, 4, and 5 like Davis, he would be the clear cut #2 prospect in the class. He's got good length, he's very strong, and he's quick and a good leaper. On paper he projects to be a good defender. Wonder how good he really is though.
Also, if Vesely ever got stronger and gave us something in the pick and pop game, he'd be a terrific 4 man. He can defend 3, 4, and 5 and finish in the pick and roll. He doesn't rebound all that well though and he has no strength in his base at all. And right now, he has no shooting ability whatsoever. Too bad he's so flawed.
Depending on what Charlotte does at #2 of course, the pick will be Barnes if he's there. Lock.
Do NBA draft trades make much sense for loading picks to "build" talent? It seems to me that it works better in the NFL because there more players on the field and even the non-starters have a significant impact in the games. In the NBA, with only 5 starters and usually 1 or 2 other guys getting decent playing time in a game, doesn't it make sense to stay put and draft a guy you think will have an impact immediately? If you drop down and pick up two guys who are #5 and #6 on your bench, I just don't see the benefit there.
My dream is that Sullinger falls all the way to the 2nd and we get him. It's totally possible.
Anybody else find the way the NBA handles draft day trades incredibly annoying?
still want to trade 3 for 6 and 11 and draft Barnes and Ross
Case for TRob:
- Fills long term need for true PF.
- Fills huge rebounding need
- Athletic, runs the floor well, projects really well defensively because of his quickness, strength, and long wingspan
- excellent hands for a big
- huge pick and roll potential, a la Derrick Williams or Blake Griffin
- should be able to guard opposing threes and fours and play strong positional big man defense because of his powerful build
- Body is completely NBA ready--will be able to make an immediate impact as a rebounder
- Interesting face up potential, solid ball handler for a big. Looks like he'll be a complete PF in time
- Winner, super high energy guy that invigorates the team with his relentlessness and activity in the paint and on the glass
Case for Beal:
- Fills large perimeter shooting need/need for an off ball scorer
- Helps space floor for the bigs
- Hustles, great character, chemistry guy, bonus on the defensive glass
- Super smart, improve our low team IQ substantially
- Improves our small ball lineup giving us a pretty nice 3 guard option since he rebounds
- Excellent potential as an off ball and on ball perimeter defender, improves us defensively
- Excellent outlet for dish and drive/transition 3s
Case for MKG:
- Elite defensive potential, ability to guard 1-4, outstanding pick and roll defender
- Excellent rebounder, fills some of our rebounding need
- Excellent ball handler, will be able facilitate the offense, especially when John is out. Increases ball movement on that end.
- Elite transition finisher.
- Puts the ball on the court and scores giving us a creative offensive player that will be able to score in ISO situations
- Has a nifty little post up game that will be effective against opposing 2s and 3s.
- Character guy. Hustle is infectious. Makes the whole locker room better by working and playing with demonic energy and intensity. Huge rah rah presence.
Case for Drummond:
- Elite body and athleticism. Legit superstar potential to be one of the three best centers in the league one day.
- Elite pick and roll defensive potential
- Elite shotblocking potential
- Elite offensive rebounding potential
- Elite finishing potential in transition or in pick and roll.
- Rare ability to step out and defend in space because of his speed and agility
- Elite potential to be a low post scoring force because of his size and strength
Case for Barnes:
- Prototype SF physically, runs the floor well
- body is completely NBA ready
- excellent defensive potential--smart, powerful, long, athletic
- should be a good pick and roll defender that can eventually guard 3s, stretch 4s, and big 2s.
- outstanding scorer with go to mentality
- potential for elite, Paul Pierce-esque mid range game.
- outstanding ISO scorer that can be a big source of crunch time offense
- excellent 3 point out let for drive and dish and transition situations
- solid rebounding potential
- spaces our floor well because he's such a threat from mid to long range
- good character guy, knows how to deal with pressure and high expectations, unselfish, winner in the past
If they trade down, we are likely to pick up a SG who will play maybe 10-20 minutes a night and give us bench scoring. Right now, we don't have anyone who can come off the bench and give us offensive production. If we move back into the 10-15 range, the player we will be picking will almost surely be drafted for a bench role. This team isn't looking for young talent, but rather cheap talent, because they can't afford veterans. Or at least quality veterans. They can sign guys from the D-League but they won't be much better than a guy from the late lottery slots.
Wizards want to make Bobcats nervous that if they trade 2 to Clev for 4 & 24, TRob, the guy the Cats covet, might not be there. Nice!
That franchise annoys the crap out of me.
Honestly, it's foolish of us not to consider either taking Trob for ourselves or using him as trade bait. The guy is probably the #2 player in the class and a legit quality PF. A similar but lesser prospect in DWill went 2nd overall last season.
Emeka Okafor and Trevor Booker should not be an impediment to taking TRob. Okafor is probably a one year rental and Booker is a rotational player.
So who wants to go to the VIP draft thing with me tomorrow at Verizon Center? My dad faked (shocker), my brother is in Colorado, Gator Bait is on the other side of the country, it's too late for my co-worker to get off, and nobody else I know gives a **** about the Wizards. So who's down? Free food, drinks, meet ex-players. It's basically free minus transportation.