Wizards 2012 Draft Plan B Might Rest In Michael Jordan's Hands
Chris Jackson, later Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, was the third overall pick in 1990. Where will the Washington Wizards go with the No. 3 overall pick in 2012?
Over the weekend reports surfaced from news outlets in both North Carolina (The Charlotte Observer) and Ohio (The News-Herald) that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, will trade up with the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the second overall pick. Charlotte would reportedly get the 24th pick from the Cleveland as part of the deal. Such a move by Michael Jordan’s Bobcats could screw the draft hopes of the Washington Wizards.
Coming off last week’s trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, Washington’s camp may have revealed a preference for Bradley Beal out of the University of Florida, leading their old nemesis, the Cavs (who are targeting Beal themselves), to believe that they’ll have to sacrifice an asset to get their man. And there’s nothing the Wizards can really do about it other than settle for what’s left.
People, myself included, might make something out of Washington’s draft preference — a pick that, if chosen wrongly, could significantly setback rebuilding — resting in the hands of former Wizard Jordan, but it would be a smart move by the Bobcats. Charlotte GM Rich Cho, as well as the team’s vice chairman, Curtis Polk — who used to be an agent for David Falk, a former rival of the Washington franchise and Abe Pollin — are smart people. They know that Charlotte needs just about everything, and if this means trading down to settle for two out of three prospects being available between North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson (along with getting the 24th pick, which comes with more value to a team like Charlotte), then the move is a no-brainer. If Wizards fans want to be irked at someone screwing them, it should be directed toward Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and not necessarily Jordan. Both are easy targets in any case.
But, it’s all in the game, and the Wizards can only worry about themselves. As unideal as it may be, they must always have a Plan B, or C, or D. Problem is, again, with a draft that will be highly influential to Washington’s ability to rebuild while planning not to have a high lottery pick again for quite sometime, Plan B can leave them significantly divergent from the best path. Instead of filling the greatest need of wing scoring with the best shooting guard in the draft, Beal, the Wizards could find themselves settling for Barnes or Kidd-Gilchrist (or Robinson, as unlikely as he may be at this juncture).
Still, there are no guarantees. No guarantee that Beal will be the next Ray Allen or Dwyane Wade, just as much as he could simply be the next Kendall Gill. Nor do we know what type of players Barnes, a potential high-return talent with questionable mental fortitude, or Kidd-Gilchrist, a tenacious wing player and finisher but with lessening degrees of offensive ability the further away from the rim he gets, will be. There’s not even a guarantee that Beal is the player Washington prefers over others. Draft time is about assumptions, rumors, speculation, incorrectness, and mystery. All of these clouds obscure teams reaching for the sun but also trap in the heat, underlying the importance of the Wizards’ brain trust keeping cool.
So, dear reader, whether you prefer Bradley Beal or not, if you will assume for a second that he’s Plan A, what do you do for Plan B?
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