Since we're all tired of talking about a) Gilbert Arenas and b) the general suckitude of our current team, let's talk about something else.
Last week, the writers of Bullets Forever (me, Jake, Truth, Rook and bwoods) got together (virtually) to take part in a special fantasy draft. A draft of epic proportions. What type of draft, you say? A draft where we picked among all players who played for the Wizards during the last decade.
The rules? Six players per team, each with a starting point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center and sixth man. You could pick anyone who played for the Wizards during the decade (1999/2000 season to 2009/10 season), so long as they actually played at least one full season with the club. However, the player you drafted was the player he was when he played for the Wizards, not the player he was on another team (in other words, you're drafting the 39-year old version of Michael Jordan, not the Bulls version where he was the GOAT). Newcomers to this year's team were off limits.
What did we come up with? Here are the results of our draft, which was a snake format like all fantasy drafts.
Below the jump, everyone's full team and explanations for the picks.
(Note: game thread might be posted later than usual because of all the stuff going on).
PG: Gilbert Arenas
SG: Mitch Richmond
SF: Michael Smith
PF: Christian Laettner
C: Etan Thomas
6th Man: Popeye Jones
Gilbert Arenas: I guess a case could be made for Jamison or even Haywood, based on positional scarcity, but Arenas's best was so much better than anyone else's.
Christian Laettner: Wasn't here long, and his NBA career will probably always be thought of as a failure after his college career, but he was the second best offensive forward who came through town and had a very good season during the Jordan years.
Etan Thomas: Was underrated before he was overrated. Never should have been put so far ahead of Haywood, but still worth a third round pick in this draft. The team could use a 25-y.o. Etan right about now.
Mitch Richmond: Didn't have a lot in the tank by the beginning of the decade, but still a decent choice at the 2.
Popeye Jones: He was mostly done when he got here, but still a (relatively) serviceable big man.
Michael Smith: The last pick of the draft, and maybe the steal of the draft.
On the whole, this is kind of an undersized and soft team (even by Wizards franchise standards), but it will play *some* defense and can run the pick and roll with either guard and Laettner, and send Smith and Thomas/Jones to crash the boards on the weak side. Haywood will murder this team until he and Thomas both get thrown out for fighting.
Mike Prada's team:
PG: Antonio Daniels
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Juwan Howard
C: Jahidi White
6th: Hubert Davis
By and large, I like my team. I'm basically reuniting the 2007/08 backcourt with Juwan Howard (as good an Antawn Jamison clone as I could find at that stage of the draft) and Jahidi White (as good a Haywood clone as I could fine). Hubert Davis is kind of there to play the Roger Mason role as a backup guard who can light it up from the outside. Why Butler over Jamison? For one, I think I'm getting the 07/08 version of Butler, who was an absolute monster for a while. For another, Jamison's major defensive deficiencies would have really hurt my ability to find complimentary players. Juwan Howard was pretty awful on D too during his tenure, but at least my backcourt is decent on defense and White is capable of eating up space in the middle.
All in all, I think it's a well-balanced team. You have a clear #1 guy (Butler), a clear #2 guy (Howard, who was still a decent offensive player even from 1999-2001) and a bunch of role players who blend in pretty well. There won't be any concerns about guys not getting enough touches on my team, nor will there be any griping in the locker room. It's a bunch of professional guys willing to do their role. Maybe I've watched too much of the 09/10 Wizards, but I think that's really key.
PG: Tyronn Lue
SG: Rip Hamilton
SF: Jared Jeffries
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Kwame Brown
6th: Nick Young
Antawn Jamison (PF) - He was my first pick, for obvious reasons. AJ has, arguably, been the most influential and most productive player the Wizards have had this decade. His career numbers stack up with anyone. He's one of only 5 active players to score 16,000 points and grab 6,000 rebounds (Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Garnett) - Not bad, considering those other guys are probably HoF material. But Jamison still has some business to attend to; so those numbers will undoubetly increase.
Rip Hamilton (SG) - Looking back at the decade, the Wizards have employed some very mediocre shooting guards - and other than scoring, Rip Hamilton was another one. He improved his scoring in each of his first three years in Washington, and continued to improve in other ways in Detroit.... but while in Washington, like Nick Young, all he did was score; and he wasn't a very effecient at it - at that. After Larry Hughes was off the board; Hamilton was an easy pick. I need a volume shooter and a scorer from outside. Besides, I'm a sucker for a pretty jump shot.
Jared Jeffries (SF) - After picking two Offensive minded players, I was looking for someone to do the dirty work of perimeter defense. Jared Jeffries fits that bill. During his four years in Washington, Jared guarded everything from Shooting Guards to Centers. He was truly a multi-position player; and to this day, the only player I've seen that could reasonably guard LeBron James. Not much Offensively, but one of the very few Wizard's players in the last decade that took pride in his defense.
Tyronn Lue (PG) - Round three found me looking for a PG, and although Tyronn only started 24 games in his 2 years with the Wizards, his intelligence, ball handling and passing skills made him stand out. He would come in to the game, and immediately change the pace. He was also a pretty decent on-ball defender.
Kwame Brown (C) - If Kwame Brown had been picked 28th in the 2001 draft; no one would be upset. It's only because he was a #1 pick that folks around here think Kwame was a bust (and rightfully so). However, Brown has turned into a pretty decent defensive big man; with bulk enough to guard even the biggest Centers. Kwame had, arguably, one good year in Washington in 2003-04 when he scored 10.9 per game and had 7.5 rebounds per contest. Not exactly All-Star numbers, but Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas and Jahidi White were all already off the board.
Nick Young (Bench) - Sometimes electric, sometimes just burnt toast.... Part of Young's problem is the way his Coaches have used him; part of his problem is his refusal to do anything but score. Even so, just by the fact that he's played 4 seasons - and the fact that he's still one of my favorite players - he makes my squad.
PG: Chris Whitney
SG: Roger Mason
SF: Jerry Stackhouse
PF: Aaron Williams
C: Brendan Haywood
6th: Dominic McGuire
Unlike the other rosters compiled in this draft, my team has no All-Stars. I don't have a member of the Big 3, and I don't have Michael Jordan. Despite the lack of star power, I still feel I have compiled the strongest roster in this draft. Why? Interior presence, baby.
The Wizards have only had one competent big man in this decade, and I've got him. I may be sacrificing a little bit with Jerry Stackhouse as my primary scorer, but Brendan Haywood's dominance will cover that up quite nicely. When he battles in the low-post, he'll be facing Jahidi White, Kwame Brown, Etan Thomas, and Andray Blatche. I'll take that mismatch over any All-Star vs. Jerry Stackhouse any day of the week. Furthermore, Haywood's defensive presence will keep the other team's star players from getting into the paint for easy points. His ability to prevent easy points narrows the gap between Stackhouse and the other primary scorers he has to keep pace with each night even more. Add in two dead-eye long distance shooters in Chris Whitney and Roger Mason, plus the gritty, and somewhat underrated play of Aaron Williams and Dominic McGuire, and I believe I've got the makings of a real title-contender. Relatively speaking, of course.
Truth About It's team:
PG: Rod Strickland
SG: Larry Hughes
SF: Michael Jordan
PF: Darius Songaila
C: Andray Blatche
6th: Tracy Murray