Editor's Note: Fun concept. Bumped.
With training camp starting today I thought it would be interesting to rank the players based on their importance to the organization. This is a big season for the development of the young core, not to mention the tough upcoming decisions the organization will have to inevitably make at some point down the road with a few of their players.
1. John Wall- No brainer here. Wall looked spectacular in the "summer circuit" and was by far one of the top players of the tour. Everybody is hoping for a D. Rose like jump in his game from rookie season to year two, but let's be honest, Wall isn't going to win the MVP this season and the Wizards aren't going to be playing deep into the postseason. Overall, better decision making, a more successful outside game, and the continued development of him being the leader and face of the franchise are highest on my list for him this season.
2. JaVale McGee- He is "the freak" of the NBA. No other player has the package of height, athleticism, and coordination that McGee posses, but with this being now his fourth NBA season and a contract one on top, it's time to see him to stop being a "pogo", a jump shooter, or a point guard and it's time for him to focus on playing defense, rebounding, and blocking shots. If McGee commits to playing defense, the offensive stats that he desires will naturally come. This is a huge season for McGee and his future in DC, the Wizards have cap space next season and I'm sure a large chunk of that is "earmarked" for McGee. It's up to him to prove whether he earns it here or from some other team.
3. Andray Blatche- My #2 and #3 players represent what could be, what could've been, and what it should be. Blatche like McGee is an extremely talented player, however just like McGee it's not his talent that's prevented both the player from excelling and the team from winning, but it's what the player lacks between the ears. Being "young & dumb" is natural for any teen or early 20's male, however the league is filled with guys 20-25 years old and most of them eventually seem to "get it", Blatche is entering his 6th season and that question of maturity is relevant today as much as it was five years ago. Loads of potential in "7 Day", but like with McGee, patience is running thin and chances are running out.
4. Jordan Crawford- I'm a big fan of this kid. I think he's got everything it takes to become a very solid piece of the franchise's foundation for the next several years. I love his tenacity, his desire, and his passion. He's been battling his entire life to prove that he can really play, first with his older brother, then with the Indiana drama, dunking on LeBron, his incredible NCAA tourney run with Xavier, sitting on the bench in ATL, and eventually pairing with Wall in DC to become the top scoring rookie duo in the league last year. He's quiet, but confident off the court and electric on it. He's got the versatility to play either guard spot and the potential to get red hot at any moment. This year will show what role Crawford is best suited for moving forward: is he a starting SG or is he a "microwave" off the bench.
5. Chris Singleton- This may be high for some, but Singleton is exactly the type of player in the league that has a great chance to succeed. With excellent size for a wing player, Singleton wows with his defense, which can not be underrated when typically the opponents best scorer is a wing player. In the short term he can be a 3&D guy off of the bench, if he really uses that "chip" on his shoulder from slipping in the draft for motivation we can see a great player. Lots of guys have used that line before, most just say it, some have really meant it....Randy Moss meant it! I have faith that Singleton is going to be a real baller (like Wilson Chandler) for some time and make some GM's regret passing on him.
6. Kevin Seraphin- If this team is going to succeed and if JaVale McGee is going to stay in DC, the team will NEED to find some beef inside to bang in the paint. Last season was a tough year and a lot of changes for Seraphin. I think he'll come back more comfortable and much more confident than we saw last season. I'm not saying he's Nene, but I think he can come close. Eventually Kev can become a solid 8 & 8 guy and a "banger" down low.
7. Jan Vesely- I'm very 50/50 on him right now. I love his athleticism, his fire, and his swag (especially for a Euro), but what concerns me is his shooting ability. No doubt that Vesely can fly above the rim, but he'll have to turn into a complete player if he's going to earn his high draft pick. That means developing an outside game, using his size to rebound, and playing within the system of the offense and defense. It's a low ranking for their 1st rd pick, but only because he's got a lot to prove, but the talent is there.
8. Rashard Lewis- Okay 'shard, it's time to earn your money. Lewis will most likely be the opening night SF as long as he doesn't suffer any set backs with his knees. He says his knee is "90%", but he may have to realize that 90% is the new 100% for a NBA veteran. Lewis will need to help get the team through some of the tough times, but most importantly he needs to embrace his role as a teacher, big brother, and leader on this team. Lewis could be very beneficial to Singleton and Vesely and that should be his way of thanking the team for paying his inflated salary.
9. Trevor Booker- Book got injured and lost an opportunity to get some extra minutes down the stretch run last season. I saw him at Morgan State this summer for the Melo, Durant, CP3, LeBron game and while he didn't play much, physically he looked really good. Booker can carve out a nice niche on this team as the "energy" guy off the bench. What he can do in his 15 mpg can have a major impact on winning and losing. I expect to see a tougher more rugged player in year 2. Having a trio like Booker, Singleton, and Seraphin is very exciting because you can see that they have potential to become really good role, "niche" players on a team with other scoring options.
10. Shelvin Mack- I'm not sure whether he'll grow more into a back up PG or a shooter off the bench. I think he can do both and become a Derek Fisher type player. A guy that can hit the big shot, won't hurt you, and won't get noticed much throughout the game unless the ball finds him open for a big shot. I expect he'll be attached to Same Cassel throughout much of the season.
11. Hamady N'diaye- The guy can play defense, he really can! It's going to take another year or two, but within 3 to 4 years of being in the NBA, "H" will become a very serviceable backup center for 10-15 mpg....just don't pass him the ball or let him shoot!
12. Roger Mason Jr.- Low minute role player who needs to teach the young kids what the DMV is all about.