Wizards Win Wall Sweepstakes

Steve O Speak

Luck, at least the good kind, isn’t something you usually associate with the Washington Wizards. But that could all change after they won the top pick in last night’s NBA Draft Lottery. The Wizards moved up from the 5th pick in the draft to nab the top overall pick. This will be their first number one overall pick since 2001 when they selected Kwame Brown (oops). The Wizards will now get the pick of the litter as they try to rebuild from a disappointing year last season. One that saw their best player under house arrest, and the rest of the stars traded away for spare parts and salary relief.

The Wizards will look to put the 2009-2010 season in the past, by drafting a new superstar player. While there are a few choices for the Wizards to pick from, their selection has to be PG John Wall. A strong case could be made for either SG/SF Evan Turner or PF/C DeMarcus Cousins as they both have the star potential as well, but Wall has to be the selection. When it comes to the NBA, point guards and centers are the most important positions on the floor.

Sure plenty of stars like LeBron, Wade and Kobe thrive as 2’s and 3’s, but the ultimate success of a team will come down to their PG and C play. So while Evan Turner is a great player, and could be the next Wade (probably a bit too high of an expectation) you can’t take him unless you already are set at point guard. Now some might point to Gilbert Arenas (whose legal troubles appear to be over) as the team’s starting point guard, but Arenas is more than capable of playing the 2 guard role and leaving the point guard position to Wall.

As for Cousins, while I would rank him as the player with the most star potential and talent in this draft, he is also the furthest from reaching that level. Unlike point guards (or even SGs and SFs) power forwards and centers usually need some development time upon reaching the NBA. Usually these players just relied on being the biggest/strongest player on the court in college, and were able to dominate. They don’t have that advantage in the NBA and that is why it will take years sometimes for them to develop into a starting caliber player (if they develop at all). While there are definitely exceptions to the rule, they are few and far between. What makes things worse for Cousins is there are some serious character/mental toughness issues with him, which is also the same profile as many of the failed big men over the last 10 years. Cousins has immense talent, but would seem to check out of games at times for Kentucky. Also, he didn’t do a great job of controlling his frustration when he faced off against other physical big men. While I personally have loved Cousins this season and think he is a fantastic prospect, the unknown is too great to select him over a point guard like Wall.

John Wall is not without his flaws. As a freshman (like Cousins) he made his share of mistakes, but the athleticism and talent are definitely there. Wall is a very long point guard with a large wing-span that is reminiscent of Arenas or say Derrick Rose. Wall isn’t a completely refined player, and will need to work on his assist/turnover ratio. He will also need to be more aggressive rebounding in the NBA. Wall’s three point shot isn’t NBA perfected yet either, and will be a work in progress. So why is he the sure-fire top pick? Because Wall is so young and talented. He might not be a great passer yet, but he is already a very good one. He also uses his long arms and quickness to get steals and has the potential to be a lock down defender. Wall can create his own shot, but he is also good at creating space when he doesn’t have the ball.

Wall and Arenas have the potential to form one of the best back court duos the NBA has seen in a long time. If they can figure it out, they can pull the Wizards out of the rut they are in and finally make them a championship caliber team.

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