When a fan thinks about the NBA offseason, the first thing that comes to mind is that something new will happen with their favorite team. They will trade familiar faces for new ones and will try to get young players through the draft to help boost their play.
That’s what 29 other franchises’ fans expect heading into the offseason. For me though, I go into the offseason wondering what boneheaded move will be made next. If you couldn’t figure it out by now, I am a Washington Wizards fan.
This offseason was no different, except for the fact that the Wizards actually had a draft pick. In years past, Washington normally traded away its first-round pick at the trade deadline to nab players to help them in the playoffs, while also dumping players who couldn’t perform up to their contract.
This was the first draft pick since the Wizards selected Kelly Oubre Jr. in the 2015 draft. It was a chance for Washington to go young with the No. 15 pick, and everyone looked pumped in the war room.
Washington was finally on the clock with players like Robert Williamson of Texas A&M and Lonnie Walker from the University of Miami on the board. Yet, Washington went with Troy Brown out of Oregon.
It was a head-scratching decision that left Wizards fans, and probably even the players, with more questions than answers.
Anyone who watched more than two Wizards games last season most likely noticed a couple needs: a backup shooting guard, and that Marcin Gortat has to get shipped to another team.
Instead of going with a shooting guard or an athletic center, the Wizards went with a small forward that could have used another year in college. Even after John Wall talked about how the team needs better and younger players, the front office still doesn’t listen.
Going into the draft, the Wizards were discussing possibly trading back if the players they wanted to grab were off the board. With teams like the Suns, Hawks, Pacers and Nets sitting behind them, Washington could have dropped a few spots down for another pick since Brown was mainly projected in the 18-21 range. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
The Wizards still had another draft pick in the second round and had a chance to acquire someone that could possibly still make a difference on the team. Instead of doing this, the Wizards went with Issuf Sanon out of Slovenia. General Manager Ernie Grunfeld used this pick as a draft-and-stash product and will bring him in for the Summer League. This makes perfect sense for a team that wants to rebuild, but sadly, Grunfeld failed to realize that the Wizards should be in win-now mode.
It isn’t the first time that Washington used their second-round pick as a stash pick. The Wizards drafted Tomas Satoransky in 2012, and Aaron White in 2015, both as overseas products. Aaron White faded into dust, while Satoransky actually developed into a quality player.
Grunfeld decided to make a decent decision in trading Gortat for Austin Rivers on Tuesday. Rivers became a regular starter on the Clippers last year thanks to some injuries, but who knows if he can keep up his play. Still, the bigger question is who the Wizards will go with at the center position for next season.
There are options with players such as Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside and Nerlens Noel available either through free agency or a trade. I can’t imagine the picture gets clearer even after signing any one of these players. There is still the opportunity to try and pry DeMarcus Cousins away from the Pelicans, but it is unlikely that Grunfeld would pull the trigger on a trade like that.
The Wizards hold a long tradition of letting fans down year after year, and this offseason has started off on the same path as all of the others. Now is the time to sit back and watch this team continue to disappoint.