[Ed. Note: Bullets Forever commenter and Ridiculous Upside contributor Jon L delivers some great analysis of some players from the D-League who might be able to help out next year. The Wizards haven't used their D-League resources much since its inception, but with the team looking to stay competitive and find contributors on the cheap, this might be the time to start using it more. -Jake]
With no disrespect meant to Rook6980, who wrote an excellent post looking at 2009 UFAs, this has been a pet peeve of mine for a little while now.* Time after time, NBA teams on the whole tend to overvalue NBA veterans who may not have much left to give over D-League guys who are younger, still capable of improvement in many cases, and let's face it, cheaper. Certainly there are some guys on Rook's list who I think could be a very good fit for the Wizards - McDyess and Pachulia particularly. But I thought I'd take a look at some players who spent time in the D-League last year who could absolutely help the Wizards - they're not going to be world-beaters, but all of them have at least one skill that fills a current need on the roster. (Full disclosure: I help cover the D-League for the SB Nation blog Ridiculous Upside). I kept to Rook's criteria, and while Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards haven't really shown much of an interest in the D-League in the past, I think there are some players on this list who make as much sense as trying to pay Joe Smith however much he wants.
*Though I am a little confused that he lists signing someone who wasn't picked in one of the weakest drafts of the last 10 years over signing a D-League player.
Rod Benson, 6'10" Center - Here's a name you may know. There's been some question whether NBA teams have shied away from him because of his blog and internet videos, but a bigger culprit might've been his somewhat-slight frame (he was listed at 225 last year). He's dedicated himself to weight training this off-season in addition to working on his shot, which is okay but not great. He's an excellent shot-blocker though. Benson averaged 3.32 blocks per 48 minutes last year, second in the league, though his rebounding was a little more towards the middle of the center pack. I guess there might be some folks here who would worry that he would team up with Young, Blatche and McGee and keep them from focusing, though I'm less concerned. I think he'd be a good fit for the team, and a decent option for another year or two while McGee develops.
Dwayne Jones, 6'10" Center - Jones was the starting center for Austin the last half the season, so I saw him play in person a fair amount. First, the bad news - he has almost no offensive game to speak of. He's also a pretty poor free-throw shooter, though he really dedicated himself to improving on that late in the season (and did, in fact, show some improvement), and he has a good form. Now the good news - Jones was the best rebounder in the league last year, and none of the league's other centers were all that close. About 12 rebounds a game and 17 and a half per 48 minutes. He also averaged about five offensive rebounds per game, 1.6 more than the #2 guy. Jones gets a lot of points on putbacks and tip-ins. He's also a solid interior defender, but has some trouble trying to defend further out.
Brent Petway, 6'8" Forward - Petway was the D-League's defensive player of the year last year, one of the two or three best individual defenders in the league. He's not great offensively (part of that is lack of development in college under Tommy Amaker), but he can lockdown both forward positions. He was also third in the entire D-League in blocks last year. Please, please, please, Ernie. At least take a look at Petway.
Richard Hendrix, 6'9" Forward/Center - Hendrix was the best rebounder in the D-League last year in per minute numbers (and second to Dwayne Jones on a per-game basis). He's a bit undersized as a center, but he can play there. His drive is sometimes questionable, but dude can rebound.
Lance Allred, 6'11" Center - You also may have heard of Allred, as he spent some time with the Cavaliers a few years ago, and because of some of his personal circumstances. He's a little bit older than a few of the other guys on this list, and he's not quite as talented a shot-blocker or rebounder, but he's a smart player who'd be a good locker room guy, and he has some decent offensive moves. He also spent some time playing power forward this past season, I believe.
Josh Davis, 6'8" Forward - Scott over at RU would likely disown me if I didn't mention Davis here. He can play both forward positions, and occasionally some center. He's a bit older, but he's a very smart basketball player who's not great at any one thing but good at a lot of them, including rebounding, shooting, getting steals, and executing the pick and roll. The more I think about it the more I think he'd be a very wise pick-up for the Wizards.
Jason Ellis, 6'7" Forward - Ellis can play both forward positions, though like Hendrix he'd be a bit undersized at the larger position, but he's an excellent rebounder.
Kurt Looby, 6'10" Center - Looby's more of a project than most of the guys on this list, as he hasn't been playing basketball for all that long, but he's a crazy shot-blocker. 4.78 blocks per 48 minutes as a starter crazy. He's further down on this list because he's even skinnier than Benson, and a lot of his offense right now is alley-oop dunks.