For the Wizards, it seems like forever since their last playoff run during the 2007-2008 season. Since then, they’ve struggled to be a competitive team and capitalize on their top draft picks. But things could be changing with John Wall now on the roster. The Wizards are looking to build a team around him and get back to the playoffs. This off-season could be a very important to the Wizards franchise as they’re looking to find John Wall a running mate and also find the right coach for this organization.
Long-time Wizards GM, Ernie Grunfield was just recently given a vote of confidence as owner Ted Leonsis with a two-year contract extension. Grunfield has had his hits-and-misses as Washington’s GM but the team has seen success under him. This could be an important next few years in his tenure as Wizards haven’t shown much improvement the past 4 years. The key for Grunfield will be hiring the right head coach to lead this team. The Flip Saunders experiment didn’t go as well as he had hoped, so finding the right man will be the key with John Wall leading the franchise on the court.
The Wizards roster witnessed a large shakeup during the trade deadline with JaVale McGee and Nick Young being sent out and Nene being brought in. Grunfield has done a good job of weeding out the cancerous players that once littered the Wizards roster, as Andray Blatche is arguably the only one left now. Players like Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford and Trevor Booker all flashed this season showing they could be productive role players going forward. The 2011 Draft Class also looked to be solid contributors going forward. Grunfield will need to continue building around John Wall and changing the culture of the team.
The Wizards currently have the second pick and a 19.9% chance of getting the first overall pick in the draft. Getting Anthony Davis would do wonders for the franchise and would solidify the team’s long-term future. The Wizards can do no worse than 5th after the lottery but will hope to repeat its success from 2001 & 2010 when Washington previously won the lottery. Historically, the second spot has won the lottery four times, which equals the first slot in the lottery. The last time the second slot won was in 2009 when the Los Angeles Clippers selected Blake Griffin.
When looking at the talent available to the Wizards, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the player that looks to be a perfect fit for what they need in Washington. Not only would Kidd-Gilchrist help change the culture there but he’d also fit in real well with John Wall and what this team wants in their players. The Wizards will most likely not be drafting a center high but depending on how they see Nene and Andre Drummond fitting together, that is a route they could explore. The Wizards draft plans could also depend on where they see Jan Vesely fitting in, whether it is at power forward or at small forward. Thomas Robinson and Bradley Beal are also likely to be very strongly in the mix for the #2 but it seems like right now Kidd-Gilchrist is the player to beat if the Wizards get the #2 pick.
The pressure is on in Washington, from top-to-bottom. The future is tied to John Wall and Ernie Grunfield being able to surround him with the type of coaching and talent that he needs to succeed. The Wizards should be able to come out of this draft with a good player, which should help in continuing to re-build the core.