I’ve been working on a piece about Eddie Jordan and his rotation size, specifically in comparison to the rest of the league and how it may or may not relate to team success in the NBA. The research is taking longer than I thought, so….spawned by a Slam Online blog entry today, I wanted to assess the Wizards role players for the upcoming season first.
In “Know Your Role,” John Krolik highlights five types of role players (plus Robert Horry) that every team wants. How do the Wizards stack up? Well, let’s see.
1. The Mistake-Free Backup Point
This one is easy….Antonio Daniels is even cited as an ideal example. AD is a leader who is willing to put his body on the line and the team first. In my player evaluation of Daniels, I cited negatives such as inability to shoot and defend. However, with Arenas back and Antonio going back to the bench, those inefficiencies will be somewhat masked in the bigger picture. The key theme is the steadying veteran presence Antonio provides as the point guard leader of a young second unit.
2. The Bona Fide Sniper
This is an big area of concern for me. Gilbert Arenas is the team sniper, but he’s no role player. Gone is last year’s sniper in Roger Mason, who will fill the role for the San Antonio Spurs. Sure, Nick Young will be expected to provide an offensive spark off the bench, but I’ve never been confident in his ability as a long distance threat. Are you telling me that the Wizards will look to Oleksiy Pecherov to be the unconscious jacker from deep? I sure hope not, and that’s assuming he’s not reporting for D-League duty during the upcoming season.
3. A “Three-and-D” Shooting Guard
Krolik cites DeShawn Stevenson as fitting this bill and I couldn’t agree more. This is where I really respect Stevenson for his personal player development in adding the three-point shot to his repetoire. It’s funny that at times, DeShawn seems to have a penchant to taking ill-advised shots (and perhaps this was accentuated last year with Gilbert’s offense absent), but at the same time, most of my observations tell me that DeShawn is a relatively selfless player on the offensive end and is well aware of his role on the team. Dominic McGuire, altough more of a SF and lacking trey-ball range, strikes me as a role-player-in-training in this area. Off the bench, I think McGuire will be able to defend multiple positions, and judging from his summer league progression, could bring a threatening mid-range offensive game.
4. The Energy Big
Darius Songaila immediately comes to mind. While he doesn’t provide a Red Bull fueled spark per se, his rough-and-tumble style and fearless ability to mix it up qualify him for this type of role player. What’s also key about the role of a big such as Songaila, especially in the offensive system of Eddie Jordan, is his ability to pass and make the defense pay with his concrete ball screens. The future role of Songaila with this Wizards team can be deemed questionable, but in the least, he’s a secondary role player who should see around 12-14 minutes of action a night.
5. The D-And-Dunk Center
This role fits Brendan Haywood. In 07-08, he emerged as a legit Eastern Conference defensive stopper in the paint, and his offensive game, still not something you can’t hang your hat on, proved to be an asset. While I wouldn’t call Haywood a “great” interior defender, his lateral movement is still too mechanical, his presence is more than suitable in the East.
Note: Etan Thomas has the potential to be a pseudo #4 or #5 role player in 08-09, but now is someone who I consider to be an unknown entity. I do feel that Eddie Jordan will have some options to toy with on his squad, I’ll be curious to see how it shakes out.