Running down the best of what was said about the Washington Wizards and the 2009 NBA Draft …
“We wouldn’t have done anything different. The only player I would’ve been upset if he slipped to five was Blake Griffin, and he went No. 1 overall obviously,” [Ernie] Grunfeld said. “We wouldn’t have taken anybody but Blake Griffin if it came to this pick. Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, James Harden – we liked all those players, and everybody else did. But if we had a chance to get Miller and Foye in exchange for that pick, there was no question about it.”
>> [Washington Times]
I found it quite amusing that the player most experts had slotted as the second-best talent in the draft slid all the way down to fifth. It was eerily similar to the Wizards drop on the night of the draft lottery, when they had the second-best chance of winning the top pick and dropped down to No. 5. On that night, Rubio didn’t seem like a possibility. Now his career will forever be linked to the Wizards, much like Devin Harris, who has blossomed into an all-star in New Jersey.
The Rubio thing is particularly ridiculous for two reasons. First, he carries a lot of trade value, and second, even if he does stay in Spain as rumored, you still hold his draft rights, don’t have to pay him (keep in mind part of the motivation of swapping 5 for Foye/Miller was that the latter two have shorter contracts that the #5) and, assuming you really believe a rookie won’t help you much anyway, you don’t have to actually give him minutes. There’s a no-lose to drafting Rubio, even if he doesn’t turn out to be as good as advertised.
Ricky Rubio lasted ’til fifth? You mean the Wizards could have kept their pick, No. 5 — HELLO! — and taken Rubio themselves? How do you say “Maravich” in Spanish? If the Wizards are going to start the season with 10 guards on their roster, then why couldn’t one of ‘em be this kid? In case Gilbert Arenas opens the season in physical therapy, why couldn’t we have watched Rubio throw those delicious passes, the likes of which nobody even attempts anymore in the NBA? The Wizards could have moved Arenas, ultimately, to shooting guard, which of course is what he is.
The Wizards understood that they were unlikely to get a player at No. 5 who could crack their rotation, and they wanted to be serious contenders right away in the East. I think the addition of Foye and Miller puts them there. The Wolves were willing to pay significantly more than any other team, giving up two solid starters. I don’t think the Wizards could’ve done any better in getting value for the No. 5 pick.
Wizards traded the No. 5 pick to Minnesota to get Mike Miller, deciding they needed to make their push now instead of waiting for a rookie to grow. Miller will become a feared shooter again.
“I told Ernie, we must’ve done something right. We made the trade and then Cleveland made the trade and so does Orlando,” Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said jokingly. “From our standpoint, we think we made a drastic improvement and put us in a situation where it’s going to be more difficult for teams like that to guard us.”
>> [Washington Post]
Grunfeld & Co. are aware that the need remains, and with Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee still unproven, they would rather get a veteran — even if it does end up being more expensive than what they would’ve paid Blair. Mike James and his expiring contract are bound to be a part of the possible pieces to move as part of a trade to acquire a big man, and maybe DeShawn Stevenson as well, although with him just coming off back surgery, teams might not want to touch him.
The surprise, however, is that Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair slid all the way to the second round and the Wizards had a chance to take him — a move that would’ve met the need for an additional big body — but didn’t.
I was literally re-sizing a DeJuan Blair photo, just in case, when the Wizards got on the clock last night, drafted another guard and then traded him for cash. Then I went to sleep.
The Wizards sold the pick for $2.5 million. That better be redistributed in the form of free beer for season ticket holders. So Houston know owns the rights to Jermaine Taylor. The scoring guard, not the super middleweight. Ernie Grunfeld says there’s more news to come tomorrow.
There he was, Jahidi White 2.0 waiting for the Washington Wizards to snatch him up with the 32nd pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. To an extent, it was surprising that he had dropped that far; but the pick was there for the taking by the Wizards.