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2011 NBA Offseason: Washington Bullets

Draft Grades, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Washington Wizards (Last Year: 23-59)

2011 NBA Draft Team Grade:

The Wizards, err... Bullets hit a home run during the 2011 NBA Draft. Jan Vesely could end up being the best foreign player out of this draft class so getting him at No. 6 adds instant versatility and athleticism to the frontcourt. Chris Singleton was an absolute steal at No. 18, and could end up Washington's starting small forward by the end of the year as he will provide a needed defensive stopper. Shelvin Mack is a solid second-round value whose big-game experience should allow him to contribute right away. He should be able to back up John Wall at the point or possibly play alongside him at times. (Team Grade: LOVE IT!)

Live 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

6. Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Vesely has been the guy the Wizards have been targeting for quite some time so this comes as no surprise. He is 6-11 and a great athlete so he will fit the forward spot running alongside John Wall. The big question is whether he is a small forward, power forward, or can play both spots. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

18. Chris Singleton, F, Florida State
Wizards needed to add a defender and that is exactly what Singleton is. He is a great value here and will help fill a hole at the three along with Vesely. Now with McGee (7-0), Blatche (6-11), Vesely (6-11) and Singleton (6-9), Washington has a ton of size and length in the frontcourt. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT!)

34. Shelvin Mack, G, Butler
The Wizards need a backup point guard for John Wall, and Mack's big-game experience makes him a very nice second-round value. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

*** 2011 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***

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hosch kabosch 06-01-2012 06:09 pm (total posts: 2)
14     40


1. Ernie Grunfeld is incompetent

2. Ernie Grunfeld is incompetent

What they should do but Grunfeld will combat it because he is incompetent.

1. Amensty Blatche. Only reason this hasn't been done is Leonsis is impressed with how Grunfeld has handled the team's financials. Biting the bullet on this massive mistake would blemish the team's financials so he's trying to find any takers for this clown. No one is going to pick your trash Grunfeld get this guy out of town. Going to boo him till you have to.

2. Jordan Crawford. Horrific volume shooter. Guy kills the offense and when he isn't on the court it's like fresh air into the offense. John Wall would play a lot better w/ a non ball dominant 2 guard, someone who doesn't dribble himself into ridiculous 25 foot fade aways with a full shot clock. Kim English would be a great answer in the 2nd round. Ray Allen would be a nice FA but Grunfeld destroyed the Bucks franchise back in the day by trading Ray Allen for breaking down Gary Payton. He was fired the next year. Similar move with the McGee for Nene trade, I don't think McGee is a great player but the trade reeks of a lack of intellectual development from Grunfeld.
Bullets reality 05-31-2012 02:09 am (total posts: 6)
22     16

Fairly good look at what the Wizzies need.

I like the PG combo as Mack played really well off the bench late in the season.

Chris Singleton, while unable to create his own shot, did hit 34.6% on 3PT and 68.2% on FT. If those numbers become something like 38% and 75% he could be a longer Bruce Bowen type with his defense. I really like adding MKG to the mix as he and Singleton could bring some superb wing defense and help the team get more fast break points.

Depending on how the 2nd pick goes, it's got to be MKG, Beal or Barnes for the Wizzies. Whichever one they land, they should look to add the veteran at the other position instead of as a backup PG.

Lewis will be shopped to teams looking for an expiring contract and could even be packaged with someone else to upgrade a position if needed.

Agree completely on going the amnesty route with Blech. He's been a joke for years now and he's the last of the knuckleheads that needs to go (it was an enormous boost to the team to be able to dump both Brick Young and Magoo Magee last year).

This team could legitimately start next season with 4 hard working post players, all of which are good scorers, a double salvo of long defenders at SF, a sweet young PG combo and a youngster/veteran duo at SG. That, along with the potential of the Blech and Lewis contracts being gone, seems like a pipe dream from just 1 year ago that actually came true.
Concerned Wiz Fan 06-28-2011 06:56 pm (total posts: 1)
52     53

I'm very cautiously optimistic about the wizards' draft this year.

While I am as excited as the next guy about visions of Vesley running the break alongside JaVale and J-Wall, I'm really worried that Jan will turn out to be more of a liability than anything else. From what I've read, opposing Euro-league coaches already mark him as a weak defender when he plays SF because, despite his great length, he doesn't have the lateral quickness to keep up with smaller, quicker opponents...consequently putting him into foul trouble quickly. On top of that, his career rates from 3-point range, which is suppose to be one of his major points of interest, and the free throw line are below average (correct me if I'm wrong) and he's pretty much exclusively a spot shooter (which I don't consider to be too big of a deal because J-wall will be able to create plenty of open shots for the rest of the team.
Aside from those points, I love his athleticism given his height, but his highlights really only show him dunking over scared euro-league players that don't look like they've seen a dunk in their lives (although I must admit he gets up there pretty high). I kinda have a hard time seeing Dwight Howard shy away from swatting the dunk of a skinny European next year...
The important thing will be to decide what Vesley is going to be and stick with it. If he's going to be a post player and develop moves with his back to the basket, he needs to add some pounds and get tougher. If he's going to play more SF, the wiz probably need to set up a help defense that conceals some of his lack of lateral quickness...which could actually work since JaVale is really only interested in help defense to get a blocked shot instead of guarding his man...

Beyond that, I absolutely love the Singleton and Mack picks as they add great toughness and defensive prowess of the bench. Love the point of Singleton as our defensive stopper after watching him do just that all the time in ACC play, hopefully he can develop a little more offensive ability tongo with it

All in all, I think the draft rests on the success of Vesley (no surprise there) which worries me because he seems to have a lot of the characteristics of the typical Euro-bust of the early/mid-2000s
mprofetta 06-24-2011 10:07 am (total posts: 1)
41     27

I think that the "is he a SF or PF?" question has become kind of outdated in today's NBA game. While there will always be a place for your classic, Buck Williams-type PF on an NBA roster, today's game is all about long, versatile athletes who can run the floor and beat you in a variety of ways. The Mavs just won the title with Shawn Marion (the prototypical SF/PF 'tweener)as a key contributor. Vesely will be murder on the break with Wall.
Better than Walter 06-23-2011 09:26 pm (total posts: 1)
35     31

Don't forget that they have the length of Seraphin and the pure bulk of Booker on that front line as well. That's really 6 guys to split up the SF/PF/C positions.

2010-11 Season Summary:
Despite not winning a road game until the middle of February, there is reason to be optimistic in our nation's capital, and not just because the Wizards showed off their new, old-look jerseys. The most important part of a re-building project is finding a star player to add pieces around. That is exactly what Washington landed with last year's first-overall pick, John Wall.

Wall put together an impressive rookie season averaging 16.4 points, 8.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, and appears to be the next young, great point guard in the NBA. He has not even scratched the surface as to how good he will become and should be the foundation of everything the Wizards do for the next several years.

Part of Wall's spectacular rookie season was due to the Wiz opening up minutes for him at the point. Washington began the season with a crowd, but general manager Ernie Grunfeld found someone to take on Gilbert Arenas' terrible contract (even though they were forced to acquire Rashard Lewis and his equally awful, cap-killing contract in return.) The Wizards also dealt Hinrich to the Hawks and landed a young shooting guard in Jordan Crawford, who made the most of his opportunity in the District, and an additional 2011 first round pick.

Outside of Wall, the Wizards also saw young players JaVale McGee and Nick Young take major steps in their game. McGee turned into a force on the defensive end with his shot blocking and doubled his rebound average after taking over the full-time duties as starting center. Nick Young took over as the everyday starting shooting guard and emerged into a dangerous scorer, more than doubling his point total in his fourth year in the league.

Andray Blatche continues to develop at the power forward position, posting the best numbers of his career. His effort and commitment to winning is still a question mark but combined with McGee, it is a young frontcourt duo that has the potential to grow into a formidable combination. Not to mention, 2010 first-round picks Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker add even more depth and young talent up front.

Outside of that young core, the Wiz roster was made up of a hodge podge of players who likely should have been playing in the D-League. Still, the franchise has made the correct moves thus far in their re-building process, and as this young team matures together over time, it should soon be back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: JaVale McGee/Trevor Booker/Hamady Ndiaye

PF: Andray Blatche/Jan Vesely/*Yi Jianlian/Kevin Seraphin

SF: Rashard Lewis/Chris Singleton

SG: ^Nick Young/Jordan Crawford

PG: John Wall/Shelvin Mack

NBA Free Agents:

SG-^Nick Young (RFA)

PF-*Yi Jianlian (RFA)

SF-Maurice Evans (UFA)

SF-Josh Howard (UFA)

PG-Mustafa Shakur (UFA)

SF-Larry Owens (UFA)

SG-Othyus Jeffers (UFA)

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $40.7 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. Small Forward: There are young pieces to build around in the backcourt and frontcourt, but the Wizards have a huge hole at small forward. Washington ran a number of players through that position this past season (Al Thornton, Josh Howard, Maurice Evans, Rashard Lewis, Cartier Martin, Alonzo Gee, Larry Owens, and even Yi Jianlian.) Lewis is the only of that group under contract for next season and has played more power forward than small forward the past couple of years. Plus, he has seen a major dip in his production. If the Wizards can find a small forward of the future, it will only accelerate their re-building phase.

2. Forever Young?: Nick Young is entering the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him almost $3.7 million next season. He is a restricted free agent so Washington faces the question of whether it should sign him to a long-term extension, possibly have to match another team's offer sheet for his services, or risk letting him become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2012. While Young knows how to score the basketball, he does not offer much else in terms of his playing defense, creating for teammates and rebounding. Also, he often displays a quick trigger in terms of his shot selection. With another young shooting guard in the fold in Crawford, how much would the Wiz be willing to spend to keep Young?

3. Backup Point Guard: I gushed about Wall's rookie season earlier, but Washington still needs to add some depth at the point. Wall averaged nearly 38 minutes a game in his first season which is a lot for someone in their rookie season. Finding an affordable veteran who can help Wall hone his game but also contribute valuable minutes when he needs a blow should be an offseason goal despite the weak class of free agent point guards.

4. Three-Point Shooting: Young shot a respectable 38.7 percent from distance last season, but Wall and Crawford did not top the 30-percent mark. Lewis has been a reliable outside shooter during his career but shot his lowest percentage from three in eight years. If the Wizards can add a true three-point threat who can take advantage of Wall's ability to drive and dish, it will certainly add to their offensive productivity.

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