Wednesday, May 19, 2010

John Wall Or Evan Turner?!?

Last night was easily one of the 10 best sporting-related events I've even personally experienced, and strangely enough, no game was even being played. Thanks to errybody who Tweeted, IM'd, emailed, and texted me with congratulations. I don't think I got that many congrats when my kids were born, but anyways...

In case you are living under a rock, or not on Twitter, my favorite team, the Washington Wizards won the NBA Draft Lottery, and the chance to pick Kentucky phenom John Wall or Ohio State do-it-all swingman Evan Turner.

Ya'll obviously know where I fall in this debate. When you get the #1 overall pick, you go for the best player available, regardless of position. The Wizards are a 26-win team, so they have no right to be choosing based on position. You pick the best player, and figure out how to use him.

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Some folks think Turner makes more positional sense because the Wiz already have Arenas. That's beyond silly. The Wizards ranked in the bottom third of NBA attendance last year. With the rise of hockey and baseball in DC, they are now solidly 4th in the local pro sports pecking order. Picking Evan Turner, nice a player as he might be, will not sell any jerseys or get anyone to renew season tickets. Sure, he could be the next Brandon Roy, but he could also be the next Calbert Cheaney. Do-it-all swingmen come along every year. Game-changing point guards do not.

Besides, I'm always a bit leery of college players who rack up eye-popping stats mostly because they were so much better than their teammates and needed to do everything. Turner needed to grab 9 rebs, and dish out 6 assists a game, because his fellow Buckeyes weren't worth sh*t. Wall, on the other hand, played with 4 other guys who'll likely be first rounders. Big difference. And his stats were still pretty good.

Besides, when teams ignore obvious talent and try to "pick for need" early on the results can sometimes be disastrous. Hawks' fans (all 4 of ya'll), how's that Marvin Williams thing working out for ya'? Wouldn't the Blazers look much better with Kevin Durant? What if the Pistons had skipped Darko and chosen D-Wade, Bosh, or Melo?

Again, pick the best freakin' player!!!! Let the chips fall where they may.

Wall and Arenas can co-exist. The Zards began running a "two-guard" offensive system at the end of last season in anticipation of his return, and by all accounts Wall is an unselfish player who knows how to fit into a team concept. Common sense would dictate that you give them at least a season to see if it works out. If it doesn't work out, the team can find some creative ways of dumping Gil, be it via lopsided trade or buyout. Wall's the future. Period.

Adding Wall to a nucleus of young, but unproven players who got the opportunity to play during last year's throwaway season more of less guarantees this team can battle for a playoff spot this season. Add in a few smart free agent pickups (I personally like the idea of going after Rudy Gay), and if nothing else, I've got reason to keep my Wizards bobblehead collection in my office for another year without shame.

Go Wizards!

Question: Should the Wizards pick the best player available, or simply go for the best fit?

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