You may have noticed that since Pradamaster took his hiatus that I've been sticking to game threads and recaps. Part of that is by design (so I don't end up burning out too) and part of that has been because of some computer issues, but now that I've got a little window of free time I'm going to try to get to some of the thoughts that I haven't been able to elaborate on yet.
- The big talk around practice is that Gilbert and Brendan will come back with 15 games or so left in the season. The thing to watch out for is a 4 game road trip that will send the Wizards out tp the West Coast right around that time. I get the feeling the team will want to bring the Gilbert and Brendan back on the court for a home game and that they'd much rather go on the cautious side for this one, so my guess for a return date would be March 23rd when the Wizards come back from that road trip to face the Bulls at home. I'll probably end up wrong on this one, but it seems like a good date to come back to me.
- One thing that's been lost in all of the hoopla over the return of Gilbert and Brendan to practice is that we haven't heard anything about DeShawn Stevenson recently. Does anyone remember when his back injury was only supposed to sideline him for 2.5 weeks? To date, he's only played 2 games in the 2009 calendar year. I don't want to speculate, but I'm curious about what's going on there.
- Michael Lee chronicled Nick Young's up-and-down season today in Wizards Insider. He points out a common criticism that's been brought up with him throughout his young career: When he's not scoring, he's not doing a whole lot. I would agree that his ability to score the ball is the only area where he's above average. Yet, it's intersting to note that the team is better defensively and better at rebounding when he's on the floor, even though he himself isn't a great defender or rebounder. Your guess as to why that is is as good as mine, but I suppose it's worth noting. Maybe he's got a little Battier in him.
- If the Wizards still plan on using their first round pick as bait to get someone take one of the team's bad salaries and get under the tax, Hollinger has a trade proposal for the Wizards to consider:
The most interesting case by far is Washington. It appears that its best route to getting under the tax would be to trade its first-round pick -- which could be first or second overall -- to a contender along with a handful of bad contracts, and get back a productive player on a good contract. Just to create one completely hypothetical (I emphasize hypothetical) scenario, they could send the pick along with Darius Songaila and Etan Thomas to Memphis for Marc Gasol and get under the line.
That would allow the Wizards to keep together their nucleus of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, plus they'd have Marc Gasol, Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee up front. Since the Wizards are firmly in win-now mode anyway based on their recent salary decisions, trading a high pick in a weak draft seems a reasonable strategy.
I've got to say that probably wouldn't be all that bad of a move if the goal is still to get under the tax this off-season at all costs. A frontline rotation with Haywood, Jamison, Gasol, Blatche, McGee, and Pecherov has the potential to be very nice. Sure, there's no Blake Griffin in that lineup, but I could live with it.