Reactions, one by one:
The John Wall pick was the John Wall pick. I am smitten by this kid and officially freaked out that we're going to waste two years without as much cap flexibility as necessary to build around him. I've hung around him a bit now for the past two days, and I am more sure he's going to be great than any other player I've seen. Maybe he won't be the best player on a title team, but he'll always be the straw that stirs the drink. You could put 14 Ron Artests around him and he would make them work. He has that kind of leadership and character.
My favorite part of today (besides Wall's group going into the wrong interview room on their way up the stairs after he was picked) was when Wall said he wasn't afraid to speak up to lead older people. It was one of the very first things he said, and I was happy to hear it. Good. I believe him, and that alone gives me hope.
No day that ends with us getting John Wall is a failure. That said ...
The Kirk Hinrich trade was really bad, and for that, I blame EG, not Ted. Why? Because in theory, the Kirk Hinrich trade accomplishes the bare bones of Ted's philosophy. Ted's not afraid to take on salary in order to get more picks, and he probably told Ernie so. But at that point, it's on the general manager to fulfill the owner's philosophy in such a way to maintain proper cap flexibility and team building. The Kirk Hinrich trade does not accomplish that. Hinrich is okay, but he's also 29, and has not had a good season since 2007. He's slipping on defense, which was once his calling card. More importantly, he's owed $9 million next season and $8 million in 2011/12, one year after a new collective bargaining agreement is put in place.
It's the price that's the real issue here. Hinrich isn't bad, but at best, he's worth half his contract for half as many years. If Hinrich had one year and, say, $5 million left on his contract, I would be ecstatic. But he doesn't. For a team that just blew up an overpaid, capped-out roster, I find it absolutely shocking that we would then take on this kind of commitment for a third guard and a "mentor" for John Wall. (Speaking of: isn't it Sam Cassell's job to mentor Wall?). Did Ernie not learn at all from his mistakes with the Big 3 teams?
Think of it this way: Oklahoma City (I know, we bring them up a lot, but Ted talks about how great they are, so it's a fair comparison) acquired the 18th pick for one year and $2.1 million of Daequan Cook and the 32nd pick. For the pick just one pick higher than that, the Wizards took on two years and $17 million,
plus $3 million cash (UPDATE: my bad, we got $3 million in cash from the Bulls) and a future second-rounder. One organization is doing it right, and the other is doing it wrong.
Finally, the scariest part about this is that we could have given the Bulls the chance to get LeBron James and another max free agent. Normally, I don't really care about the kind of chances we give the other team with a trade, because we should only worry about us getting better. But in this case, it demonstrates yet again how management just fails at playing chicken. The Bulls should have to be the ones paying a premium to dump Hinrich and get this chance at two max free agents, plus Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. That's potentially much more valuable to them than the 17th pick is to us. And yet, we're the ones paying a premium for a pick that wasn't worth it. If Houston can get a ton of high lottery picks for letting the Knicks have the chance at two max free agents, why can't we?
(Sorry, one more PS: the Hinrich trade makes a bit more sense if there's some sort of salary dump set up for Gilbert Arenas. But if that's the case (and I find it pretty flippin unlikely), why not just go to a full youth movement and let Nick Young or a draft pick start at shooting guard? What do we really have to lose? What purpose does Hinrich serve then?).
The Kevin Seraphin pick is a complete unknown. On the surface, he seems like a classic bad Ernie pick. He's raw (he said he's only been playing for five years and hasn't lifted many weights), European (meaning he wouldn't be here) and nursing a knee injury that prevented him from doing many workout. But I've also talked to several people who tell me he's the real deal. He also said the Wizards were his first choice, and he's ecstatic to be here, so he could come as soon as next season. So I'll reserve judgment on this.
The Trevor Booker pick is also good by itself. We've needed a physical bruiser like Booker for a while, and he'll probably come cheaper than James Singleton or Craig Smith. I always liked him at Clemson, where he played with bad teammates and still produced, and I think he fills an immediate role right away.
The trading of two picks to get Trevor Booker is ... eh, probably unnecessary. Not necessarily because there's a lot of value at 30 or 35 - there probably isn't - but mostly because we didn't have to do that. We also didn't come away with the one easiest need to fill with a late pick - a nice TAD small forward. Sure, the Hornets stole Quincy Pondexter, but there were other capable wings available that could have helped (Damion James at 17, Devin Ebanks, etc). I like Booker a lot, but I'm not sure he's worth that haul.
The Hamady Ndiaye pick is typical Ernie. Not that we're likely to get anyone good at 56, but it just showed that he's literally throwing darts at a board trying to hit on the next best project center. The Wizards have now drafted the following raw bigs since 2005: Andray Blatche, Peter John Ramos, Oleksiy Pecherov, JaVale McGee, Kevin Seraphin and Hamady Ndiaye. One of these times, you'll hit it big Ernie. Until then, stop gambling.
Overall, I'm not quite as angry as some of you. At the end of the day, we did get John Wall (say that 5,000 more times if you're really upset. You'll feel better), a European big man with loads of potential, and a good, solid guy in Booker ready to play right away. Most of my ire is at the Hinrich trade, not with what happened otherwise.
But I also can't help but think that, outside of Wall, Ernie just traded around a bunch of pieces without really making us as good as we could have been after today in either the short- or long-term. From all we heard from Ted and Ernie leading up to the draft, there was real hope that we would really shift philosophies and make a huge splash in getting a real critical mass of young, ready to play prospects. Maybe this disappointment is due to unrealistic expectations, I don't know. But at the end of the day, I can't help but think that we could have done better outside of the John Wall pick.
One more note: I haven't had a chance to look at the open threads, but I've heard some pushback to some of the negative comments in there. On the one hand, I completely understand that point of view, and we need to keep things civil. On the other hand, I think it's important to note that the whole purpose of open threads are for instant reaction, and if that reaction is negative, then it should be expressed. If reading all that bugs you, that's fine, but also be sympathetic to those that are venting.