This Will Be Our Third Draft as New OwnershipPosted on May 29, 2012
We have owned the Wizards for two full seasons, one of them a lockout shortened season. During that lockout, we were NOT allowed to communicate or work with our young players in any fashion. When we closed the transaction to buy the team, we announced in a very transparent manner that we wanted to use the draft as a way to get an influx of new players into our system. We currently have under contract seven players that are in the first or second year of their contracts and were first round picks. Wall, Booker, Seraphin and Crawford just finished their second years, and Vesely, Singleton, and Mack (a second round pick) just finished their rookie seasons. We have a lottery pick – and a high second round pick this coming draft. That would mean we could have nine players on the roster all drafted by us or received by us via trade as new ownership. Nine players that are young, have upside, and can be developed within a new system that focuses on teamwork, defense, rebounding and doing all of the little things well that contribute to winning. That is a strong new foundation for our franchise and it was accomplished very quickly. As noted within this article, the draft has played a seminal role in four of the four teams that have reached the Finals for the NBA championship playoffs. The game seven in the Celtics vs. 76ers series also was instructive – the game was taken over and won by a former first round pick for the Celtics. He took over the game after their other great player, who was a first round pick, fouled out of the game. He saved their season and they moved on to the Finals vs. the Heat, also led by their first round pick. Tim Duncan was the first pick in the entire draft – Kevin Durant was the second pick in the first round. And on and on. The draft really matters to the success of a franchise. We also said that we would use trades as a way to improve the team. We made a great impact trade last season and traded away two young players and brought back a veteran who fits our system, cap and new culture quite well in Nene. Trades are vital in a rebuild. And free agency is another lever to pull. If you manage cap space well, you can use free agency as a way to add to the team. And using the D league well as a development tool – I was happy with how we were able to land a few very productive players from the D league last season. We also have not been shy on loading up on players that have grown up on the international basketball scene. Nene, Seraphin and Vesely are all products of globalization and are all selfless and play sound fundamental basketball. We are using new technology – and stats and analytics in a very creative fashion. We will communicate publicly on some of the work we are doing here for you during this off season. Stay tuned. We are also now able to work very hard with our young players during this off season on their development – providing strength and conditioning coaching, a shooting coach, working in the summer leagues and providing related services. Wish us well in the draft lottery tomorrow night. The lottery and the fall of the ping pong balls are simply about luck and good fortune – we will end up with a top five pick. And to change it up, since we have fallen in the lottery the last two times we sent team members to the event, (a head coach, and a player), we are sending up a family member and employee of our sports team holding company to help us out. I hope it works.