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Looking to the Future.

2010 NBA Mock Draft boards are heating up and fans of the teams who aren't in the playoffs are already looking forward to next year. As Wizards fans, we have a few draft picks to ponder, two of which have yet to be determined. Now that the Caps are out of the playoffs, there's not a whole lot of sports excitement in DC, so I figured it's time to start some speculation about what this Wizards team will look like next year.
First, and foremost, there will be a new owner. Anyone who has paid attention to the Washington Capitals the past few years knows that Ted Leonsis did a great job transforming that team. But are the Wizards further off than the Caps were when Ted took over? There are a number of things that need to be sorted out, and the NBA Draft is fast approaching.
That brings us to the three new players the Wizards will acquire through the draft next year, assuming they stand pat with those three picks. Ted Leonsis has not only stated, but demonstrated that he believes in building sports franchises with young talent. That's a good sign for Wizards fans because probably the biggest shortcomings of this franchise have been the lack of development of their young players. Sure, Blatche stepped it up during the second have of the season, and had some good games during the first half, but who else can we really say has a good shot at being a big part of Flip Saunders' rotation next year? So it is vital that the Wizards hit on all three of these draft picks. The top 10, most likely top 5, pick is possibly the most important one. When you pick in the top of the NBA draft, or any draft for that matter, it is essential that you get a player who can be a major building piece for the franchise. Of course, hindsight it 20-20, but as a Wizards fan wouldn't you feel a lot better about this season if we knew going into next year we had Steph Curry or Tyreke Evans? As it stands now, the Wiz may end up with nothing to show for that pick they dealt last year before the draft for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. No ones sure if they'll retain Randy Foye and Mike Miller, who's in the latter half of his career, may want to go to a contender.
I'm not going to sit here and try to predict who the Wizards will pick, but I have some ideas. The thing is, there really isn't one position where you can say the Wizards definitely won't draft someone. It will be interesting to see if they hesitate to draft a certain position based on a certain free agent they may be targeting. To me, that would not be a smart idea. This franchise cannot count on one of the top tier free agents signing with the Wizards this offseason. They need to look at it like this: They've got three picks, two in the first round. If you draft well, you should be able to pick up three starters depending on whats available and who they re-sign. It really isn't a stretch to look for a guy who can start his rookie season in the second round of the draft, the Utah Jazz found Wesley Matthews Jr. and he was un-drafted. Wizards fans are just so used to second round picks basically being throw-aways that the idea of finding a player late in the draft who can contribute seems foreign. There's only two rounds in the NBA draft, so teams can't afford to whiff on either of the picks if they're rebuilding such as the Wizards are. Now let's get to what the make-up of this team may be next year.
I'm going to start doing a section in my blogs during the offseason with some ideas of what the roster may look like for the Wizards next year. This isn't me being a fantasy team owner and telling you who I wish we'd get. This will include players who are already on the team as well as people I think who may be added.

Point Guard- Gilbert Arenas. . .
This is really the one position that is most up in the air. It's safe to say that Gilbert will be back but who else? Word is they'd like to re-sign Shaun Livingston but in the interviews I've heard with him, he may not want to come back. Honestly I'd look for them to take someone like Greivis Vasquez in the late 1st round or early 2nd round. This team could use a tall point guard with his passion for the game.

Shooting Guard- Nick Young, Randy Foye, Quinton Ross
I think the Wizards will end up re-signing Foye to at least add some depth, but also in hopes that he'll continue to improve his game. He'll be able to play some point guard also if needed, although I think he's better suited as a 2. We'll know pretty early in the offseason what they think of Nick Young. If they go for a 2 guard early in the draft, then we know what they're thinking. Quinton Ross will most likely pick up his team option for next season.

Small Forward- Wesley Johnson, Al Thornton
Wesley Johnson is a logical pick at 4 or 5. They could either bring him or Thornton off the bench. Thornton can also play some power forward and depending on what they do in the draft and if he re-signs, James Singleton could end up playing more as a small forward than he did last year.

Power Forward- Andray Blatche, James Singleton
If JaVale McGee can but on some muscle and step it up a little for next year, he'll probably start at center, allowing Blatche to play power forward and drift out for those jumpers he loves, without them having to worry about losing a presence in the paint. Both Singleton (assuming he re-signs) as well as Al Thornton will see some time at the 4 as well.

Center- JaVale Mcgee
As of now, he's the only true center on this team. It's quite possible Blatche could end up playing a lot of center but I think you can look for the Wiz to add a big man through the draft, because Andray, while he can play in the paint, prefers the play on the perimeter a lot of the time. I highly doubt they'll re-sing Oberto, and they shouldn't, so look for them to bring in a similar veteran presence in the paint. A guy like Marcus Camby would be ideal, but the Trail Blazers locked him up for a few more years.

So that's only 9 players so far, but that includes only one of the draft picks. The draft is really up in the air, but I don't think it'll depend a whole lot on who they re-sign. Mike Miller is really the only guy who could have an impact on the draft if he chooses to re-sign. I don't think the Wizards will be all-in for free agents this summer, but they will certainly be in the mix. I doubt they'll focus too hard on Lebron James or Dwayne Wade, but I could definitely see them making a run at a David Lee, Joe Johnson, or Chris Bosh. If they could lure one of these guys to D.C., this team would be in a lot better position. Imagine a starting five of Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Al Thornton, Andray Blatche, and Demarcus Cousins. Now that'd be pretty impressive for a team who had to ship off two of it's top three players last season. Anyways, this may be wishful thinking right now, but it's not unreasonable to think one of the better free agents out there may look at the Wizards situation, compare it to that of the Clippers and Knicks, and decide that they can win here. Either way, it should be an exciting off season in D.C.

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