My thoughts are below, head over to Bullets Forever to check out the thoughts of the Pradamaster and JakeTheSnake on Darius Songaila.
More than anyone else on the team, Darius Songaila had a full share of detractors this past season. Sure he took an occasional ill-advised shot. And perhaps his 6’9″ (or 8″) frame wasn’t enough to deal with the sizable tasks asked of him. But Darius was always up to the challenge, and in my opinion, the type of key role player that winners need.
The main issue with Songaila, more than shot selection, is rebounding. His rebound rate (10.2) was below that of both Dominic McGuire (11.7) and Oleksiy Pecherov (12.1). Darius still out-rebounded Caron Butler per 36 minutes (6.3, good enough for 6th on the team), but that’s not saying anything at all. Even without athleticism, you’d expect Songaila would have the tactic to do better than a couple rookies. When you think about the needs from a power forward, and the woes on the glass for the Wizards, D-Song’s board effort comes up as a disappointment. When factoring Songaila’s on-ball defense, or lack thereof, I can certainly sympathize with those who are emphatic about limiting his presence on the court.
Now consider the offense that Eddie Jordan runs, a pro-style Princeton. When operating at a higher pace, which we all know occurred less in 07-08 than in years before, Songaila has the veteran savvy to move with a purpose….whether it be posting up, or setting high ball screens in transition.
Songaila’s true bread and butter within the offense comes with his pick-and-pop-ability. He shoots with confidence, has a fairly quick release for a big man, and seems to have range that extends slightly beyond the college 3-point line. Not only can D-Song knock down the J when called upon by an opposing defense focusing on a driver, but he has the ability to see and make the next pass, perhaps adjusting to the shifting D giving someone else a better look. Songaila’s Ast-% and ‘Assists Per 36′ were both good enough for 5th on the team in 07-08.
Hopefully in the future, we will be seeing more Andray Blatche as the first big off the bench as opposed to Darius Songaila. I think Darius is an ideal guy to have fighting with Etan Thomas or Dominic McGuire, depending on the situation, for the next big to get minutes. Some may question Songaila’s contract amount for playing such a role. To me, it’s not terrible (3-years, $13.578 million left). I’d certainly rather have that instead of the amount owed to Etan (2-years, $14.219 million).
Next season, this year’s 19.4 minutes per game could dip to below 14 per for D-Song….but that’s okay. Darius Songaila is the type of player who will give his all no matter how long he plays, and that’s why I’m cool with him being a Wizard. Besides, it would be nice if D-Song had a future chance to give LeBron James his Crocodile Dundee moment with a real chop to the face instead of an inadvertently caused side fist.
Up Next: Antonio Daniels