Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Building a New “Wall” in Washington

“Mr. Prokhorov, you can’t tear down this wall”

There is a new era in Washington as the Wizards won the draft lottery for only the second time in franchise history in DC. Even though they had the sixth best chance of earning the top spot, they lucked out over several teams to draft first overall in June 24ths’s draft. The New Jersey Nets had the best chance, who, with new Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov at the helm, were trying to entice Lebron James to come to Brooklyn with the #1 pick and Jay-Z.

The consensus best player in the draft is Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall, followed by Ohio State’s Evan Turner. Luckily this gives the Wizards the perfect opportunity to part ways with Gilbert Arenas and usher in a new era for the franchise. After jettisoning Jamison, Butler and Haywood, Washington can now ship out the gun-toting Arenas and the rest of his $100 million contract to make room for Wall.

Another part of the new era of the franchise is the arrival of new owner Ted Leonsis, taking over for the late Abe Pollin. Hopefully he follows his model with the Capitals, which includes drafting Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, Semin and Varlamov, and not the Wizards’ formula. The Wizards either draft well, but trade the players before they reach their potential, like Devin Harris, Steve Blake, Richard Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace, or makes a colossal bust. At least Jordan isn’t around anymore to work out the players before hand and botch the only other time they had a #1 overall pick with Kwame Brown.

This will be the fourth #1 overall pick since 2004 for DC area sports teams, which isn’t surprising for the city with the longest 4-team title drought. While Strasburg has yet to pitch a game, and the Nats have not even drafted their #1 pick this year yet, the Wizards can only hope that Wall will pan out as well as Ovechkin has for the Caps. They could easily trade down and draft more players to fit their many needs, but the Wizards desperately need a new face of the franchise.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the Wiz need a new face of the franchise, but they need to make sure its the right face. Wall has had some history with the law already in high school and while he is not Rodman or Artest, I think the Wiz need to focus on which player makes them better immediately. The Wiz have needed a quality big man in the low post for years. Until they get that it doesnt matter how many good PG's/SG's/SF's they bring in. They would be wise to take a long look at the ultra talented Favors or Cousins (although he comes with some attitude issues of his own) to provide the rebounding and scoring presence down low. They could easily trade with NJ who needs a guy like Wall and does not need another big at pick 4 and get another pick out of the deal. This to me would show some basketball IQ on new owner Ted Leonsis part and go a long way towards fixing a long standing issue the Wiz have had in the front court.