2012 NBA Off Season Preview: Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards

2011-2012 Record: 20-46, 4th in Southwest
Stat Leaders: Nick Young, 16.6 ppg. JaVale McGee, 8.8 rpg. John Wall, 8.0 apg. JaVale McGee, 2.5 bpg

Depth Chart

C - Nene, Andray Blatche
PF - Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely
SF - Trevor Booker, Rashard Lewis, Chris Singleton
SG - Jordan Crawford
PG - John Wall, Shelvin Mack

Unrestricted Free Agents: FC Brian Cook, F James Singleton, F Cartier Martin, GF Morris Almond

The Good: Not much, as Washington had to hit reboot on their previous rebuilding effort. They did finish the season with an 8-2 record, so they have shown they can win some games. Contracts aside, the Nene for JaVale McGee swap will really help Washington on the court. He is a stabilizing presence in the middle for a young team in need of some veteran leadership. He provided his usuall all around strong performance, chipping in on scoring, rebounding, shot blocking and steals. If he can stay healthy and avoid all the nagging dings and nicks, he should help this team a great deal next year. Once McGee was shipped off, young big men Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely showed quite a bit of promise with some very good games. Trevor Booker has continued to develop and would make a very good 6 through 8 guy on a playoff team. After a very bad start, John Wall really picked up his game during the second half of the season. Without so much distractions and selfishness surrounding him, expect a huge leap in year three.

Wizards fans had this look on their face a lot last year.
The Bad: Washington thought they drafted the talent to surround Wall and turn Washington into winners. Nick Young had 20 point per game potential on offense. Javale McGee was a shot blocking and rebounding terror. Andray Blatche showed a couple years ago that he could be a realistic 20 point, 10 rebound machine on the block. All that fell apart in a hurry. All three players showed immaturity and selfish attitudes, and now only Blatche remains. The team would love to part with him, but he has shown that he is one of the most selfish, crybaby wastes of talent in the league, almost completely giving up on playing team basketball after signing a nice contract. So the Wizards will now try to build around Seraphin, Vesely, Jordan Crawford and the veteran Nene.

Key Free Agents: None. The Wizards have everyone worth anything under contract. And unfortunately for them, two massively overpaid players. They could be interested in bringing back James Singleton, who had a nice year overseas last year, for front court depth.

Projected Cap Space: -$1,097,262. It is almost impossible to fathom, but Rashard Lewis will make 23 million dollars during the last year of his deal. That is Otis Smith's handiwork there. Wow. Other then that deal, Nene's 13 million a year and Blatche's 7 mill, the team is in good shape. Thankfully for them, Lewis contract will run out after this year. Right when they will need to give John Wall a huge extension.

Amnesty Possibilities: It will be a tough pill to swallow since there still is talent there, but the Wizards need to part with Andray Blatche. He is the reason so many people resent professional athletes. He played hard until he got a big contract then completely stopped caring. That would free up 8 million dollars a year for the next few years for the team to go after some veteran free agents. Rashard Lewis, the logical choice last year, is an expiring contract who could be moved if the team wants to add some talent. It wouldn't make sense to cut him with only one year left on his deal.

Draft Possibilities: The worst the Wizards will be picking is 5, so they will be in on all of the usual suspects. Anthony Davis, obviously, would be the number one choice for Washington. He would provide everything JaVale McGee gave the Wizards, with added offense and a better attitude. If they can't get him, I think they would love to have Bradley Beal. Jordan Crawford is the only guy on the team that can hit a consistent three point jump shot, and Beal would immediately overtake him to become the starting shooting guard and back court mate for John Wall. That would be a very strong and fast back court. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be a nice third choice, as he would give the team a defensive identity. Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes are the fourth and fifth choices, respectively. I can't see the team gambling on Andre Drummond after all the problems they have had with their young big men, as unfair as that may be to Drummond.

Free Agent Possibilities: If the Wizards cut bait with Blatche, they will have money for free agents. Number one priority would be to find a veteran point guard to back up John Wall, who felt the pressure all year and led the NBA in turnovers. Andre Miller would be nice, but he should have his choice of playoff contenders to play for. Someone like Derek Fisher, Beno Udrih or Kirk Hinrich might be a good move. Also, the team needs to add more shooting. Crawford is the only reliable three point shooter on the roster. Jamal Crawford, Jodie Meeks and Alonzo Gee can all hit the three. Washington will have a boat load of cap space in 2013 when Rashard Lewis deal comes off the books, so right now they will go with what they have while adding a piece here and there.

Rebuilding, Contending or Status Quo?: Rebooting would be the correct answer. The team is shifting gears in their rebuilding effort, as they jettisoned two starters last year. Nene and John Wall will lead a bunch of second and third year players. Guys like Seraphin, Vesely, Crawford and Booker are more complimentary players. If Washington can get lucky and land someone like Anthony Davis or Bradley Beal in the draft, they will have their third great piece and that will go a long way towards getting this team back into playoff contention.

All logos courtesy of http://www.sportslogos.net/

Jonathan Carrano

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