It's nice to have a draft order set and the Senior Bowl behind us (other all-star games, too, I suppose). The combine is the other big event of the offseason, so we really are halfway to the draft. Sort of.
32. Jermaine Taylor, SG, Central Florida
The Rockets ended up selling this selection to Houston. I thought the Wizards could have used some muscle up front after trading Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila. (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)
2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
Bullets sign C Fabricio Oberto
Rockets acquire SG Jermaine Taylor from Bullets for cash
Bullets acquire SG Randy Foye and SG Mike Miller from Timberwolves for No. 5 pick in 2009 NBA Draft, C Etan Thomas, PF Darius Songaila and PF Oleksiy Pecherov
2008-09 Season Summary:
On paper, it is sort of difficult to believe that this team finished with the second worst record in the NBA. But when you take into account that two of their expected starters (Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood) combined to start just seven games, it makes a lot more sense. Having fired their head coach just eleven games into the season, Washington never found any consistency and finished 13 games worse than any other Eastern Conference club and snapped their streak of four straight post-season appearances. For further analysis of this team I consulted sportswriter Dave Zirin, host of XM Radio's Edge of Sports show. Zirin is the author of 4 sports books, has a column on Sports Illustrated's website and lives and works in the Washington D.C. area. "The Wizards need Blake Griffin really badly, they need a beast who will grab rebounds and dunk the ball hard and scare people," Zirin said. Since the Wiz lost out on the Griffin sweepstakes, they will have to make a trade to land a player in that mold.
PG Mike James (PO) UPDATE: James has exercised his player option
G Juan Dixon (UFA)
2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $75.9 million
2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Get Gilbert Arenas healthy - Agent Zero is 27 years old, due about $95 million dollars over the next five years, has already had three surgeries on his left knee, and has played in just 15 games the past two seasons. The Wiz seem set on keeping Arenas as their franchise player, but they need to make sure he stays healthy this off-season so they can get their money's worth next year. "The question for the Wizards begins and ends with Gilbert Arenas, if he can come back and not be a shoot first point guard. He had a couple games at the end where he like 10 points, 15 assists and he just seemed much more in control and getting his teammates involved. If Gilbert comes back, it all changes and the Wizards are a playoff team again. That's how good he is," Zirin said
2. Figure out their roster - The way their roster is set up, the Wizards have 14 players under contract for next season as well as the fifth pick in the NBA Draft. I think Washington has done a nice job of compiling their starters as well as their role players, but they just have not meshed together very well. New head coach Flip Saunders will have plenty of options within his current team and should help find a consistent line-up to get the Wizards back into the post-season. Perhaps the only area to address is a sharp-shooter from the outside since they finished with the lowest three-point percentage in the league.
3. A Sharp-shooter - Perhaps the only area for the Wizards to address is a sharp-shooter from the outside since they finished with the lowest three-point percentage in the league. Getting Arenas back will help a little bit as he is a career 36% shooter from downtown. Still, Washington may want to dangle one of their seven post-players to land a deep threat.