Let's not mince words, I didn't like the draft and I'm sure that most of you didn't as well. As draft hype built up, I think most of us felt like we knew what Ernie was looking for with the pick. Although some fav prospects were off the board like Speights and Hibbert, we all felt confident that Ernie would get someone that could give us something. Some us of were hoping for Mario. Others wanted to see Jamison-Lite Darrell Arthur. There were those hoping that Hickson could be the choice. And then there was yours truly, crossing his fingers and whispering "Please not a project, please not a project, please not a project..."
Then David Stern gave us the bombshell.
Javele "So raw he has to get his mom to write his draft profile" McGee
It didn't look good last night, and trading Bill Walker for cash (at least it wasn't for bats!) at the end of the night added a nice punch to the gut to close the night. There was a part of me that really wanted to post something right after that, but I thought better of it. Maybe there would've been some entertainment value to it, but it would've been far too harsh, especially for someone that's never put on a Wizards jersey.
Now that I've slept on it, and put some thought into it today, I've started to come to grips with the decision. Am I bouncing up and down about it? No, but I can live with this pick. Maybe I'm sipping the Kool-Aid here, but try and follow my reasoning.
- If nothing else, JaVale is big. Even if he turns out to be a terrible defender, at least he's a big, terrible defender. If you're keeping score at home, that's an improvement over a scrawny, terrible defender or a short, terrible defender. Even if it's a small step, it's a step in the right direction.
- Arthur and Hickson are both nice players, but neither would be able to vill the defensive void left when Haywood leaves the game, so I can understand why they were lower than McGee on Grunfeld's board. They're both nice players, but they wouldn't fix our major problems.
- McGee was best center available. Sure he's a project, but so was every other center left on the board. Say what you want about the fears that JaVale's stats could be padded from playing in the WAC, but at least he started. That's more than DeAndre Jordan and Alexis Ajinca can say.
- Throughout draft history, center has been the hardest position to get dependable players for. The talent gap between the haves and the have nots among big men is far wider than the gap at the guard position. If you can find someone that has a chance at being one of the haves, or close to it, it's worth the risk. Mario Chalmers would've been a great addition here, he would've filled the need for a stopper at the point, but ultimately as long as Gilbert is here, he's only going to be a role player. We can find a defensive point guard that can fill the role Mario would fill here (albeit not quite as well) by signing a free agent for the vet's minimum (case in point: DeShawn Stevenson) far easier than we can find a center for the vet's minimum that will have any kind of impact.
Maybe this is a case of me being delusional, maybe I was just too angry Thursday night, or maybe I'm just trying to make the best of a bad decision, but I'm more of a fan of this pick than I thought I would be when I first heard it. Only time will tell if JaVale can become the player that we want and need him to be, but I'm ready to see what the future holds.