After Jake lamented on Twitter that the Wizards' only SF options at this point were Josh Howard, Cartier Martin, Rodney Carney (gross) and Adam Morrison (if this happens I will be so angry), I got to thinking about ways the Wizards could expand the pool of players they're looking at. Naturally, since I help write about the D-League, my thoughts turned there.
The Wizards have a history of not really paying attention to the D-League, though that changed a bit last year when they called-up Mike Harris, Alonzo Gee and Martin. I have a sneaking suspicion that Grunfeld reached out to Harris and Martin because they've already played in the NBA a little in the past (Martin with the Bobcats and Warriors, Harris had a call-up to Houston earlier last season), he at least appears to be trying a bit more. Which is why I was disappointed to see they traded for Yi Jianlian and brought Morrison in for a workout. I get EG's strategy to go after cheap, relatively low-risk options for a year and then hopefully let them go if they don't work out (I say hopefully because we all remember Pecherov's extension), but Morrison has done nothing to show that he's improved his game to the point where he's more than an 11th or 12th man and Yi is now on his third team in four years, which is telling.
So then, I came up with a list of small forwards the Wizards should take a look, and who would be even cheaper than someone like Carney or Morrison. These players wouldn't even have to be signed for more than a year, so EG's overall strategy could remain. I also didn't look at trades or anything, though off the top of my head the Wizards might want to ask what it would take to pry Derrick Brown away from Charlotte. Signing Howard probably would be the best move depending on the cost, but if you're looking at Rodney Carney in 2010...
- Larry Owens: I'm a huge Larry Owens fan. He played power forward for the Tulsa 66ers last year, but his size is more suited to the wing. The best thing about Owens is that he's already pretty versatile, so the transition should be easy. He has some decent post moves, can shoot, handles the ball pretty well, and has the mobility and quickness to defend on the perimeter. The other best thing (yes, there are two best things) is that he had the talent to lead the league in scoring last year, but instead played unselfishly and did whatever the team needed him to do.
- Carlos Powell: Powell was a legit D-League MVP candidate in the D-League last year before going to play overseas. He's similarly versatile, though he's probably a better passer than Owens, and his outside shot tailed off a bit last year. The Suns looked at him last offseason and liked him, and while there is a knock on him from the past that he was a bit too stat-focused, he still averaged five assists per game as a small forward, and the Albuquerque team he was on last year wasn't very good.
- Kasib Powell: (No relation to Carlos) Powell is a former D-League MVP who can play both forward positions, has a nice face-up game and can defend a bit. He's also a really solid guy and got a call-up a few years ago with the Heat, so maybe that can entice Grunfeld.
- Build a time machine to go back and call-up Reggie Williams (okay, this one's unrealistic).
- Trey Gilder: Gilder's probably more of a power forward, but he's athletic enough and his offense has improved enough to where I'd be interested to see what he can do at SF. Gilder started last season with the Memphis Grizzlies,
- Derrick Byars: Byers was excellent in college and played very well in the D-League, then went overseas last year. He made the Bulls out of training camp last year but was cut before the season actually started. LIke most of these players he has decent size and can shoot. He's not the quickest guy on this list, but he gives good effort on the defensive end
- Gary Forbes: Forbes has played three different positions throughout his career, being a forward in college, handling the point a little bit in Summer League last year and shooting guard this past week. Also, David Thorpe said he was an NBA player on Twitter (it was a few days ago, I can't find it now), so he certainly has skills and a decent reputation.
- Ron Howard: Howard's probably closer to a shooting guard (he's 6'5"), but he's an excellent defender and has really improved his offensive game over the last year. He went from shooting 16 combined three-pointers over two seasons to shooting 38 percent from outside.