(Below the jump, full audio from today's press conference, courtesy of friend of the site Rashad Mobley. If you aren't reading Rashad's stuff on Hoops Addict, please start. -Mike).
Press conferences announcing the signing of a new player tend to be full of over the top language and celebratory gestures. Today's press conference announcing the signing of Fabricio Oberto didn't appear to be any different.
Ernie Grunfeld began matters thustly:
We still felt like we still needed one piece to our puzzle, which was a veteran big man, someone who has a lot of playoff experience, someone who's willing to sacrifice his own game for the benefit of the team, and someone who's able to give good depth at the center and power forward position, and we're here to introduce that player today, and his name is Fabricio Oberto."
Flip Saunders: "He’s a player that has a very high basketball IQ, and the things we like to do both offensively and defensively– he’ll be able to help us."
So, grain of salt pounded.
Still, I've got a sinking feeling that Oberto's going to end up getting a ton of minutes this year. Scan Flip's recent teams, and you don't see too many rangy bigs like Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee getting minutes. More often, it's the solid types -- the Joe Smiths, Rasho Nesterovics, Antonio McDyesses, Ervin Johnsons and Theo Ratliffs -- that take the minutes. This is also a front office with a win-now mentality, and I'm not sure how much patience they'll have for the inevitable ups and downs you'll see from Blatche and McGee.
Having no patience would be a mistake. Sure, Oberto can help in the playoffs because he's been through the wars, but the Wizards need Blatche and McGee to develop, both for now and the long-term health of the franchise. Blatche and McGee possess more raw talent than seven Obertos combined. The more chance they get to cultivate that talent, the better. The Wizards will reap the benefits of their talents down the road if Flip allows them game opportunities to improve early on.
Yes, even if it means sacrificing a few games early on. And if Oberto doesn't like it? He's a pro, and less time will be better for his body in the long run anyway.