It's the 59th minute of the 11th hour of NBA labor negotiations and all signs are pointing towards the dreaded lockout. While progress seemed to be made recently during the meetings, it doesn't sound like there's been enough to close the massive gap the player's union and owner's allowed to divide the two sides. Once the owners decide to lockout the players, the stance has been made, sides have been taken, and the negotiations then become a power struggle. I believe that the likely lockout should play a role into the player the Wizards take on Thursday and perhaps the best long term move would be to draft Jan Vesely or Jonas Valanciunas.
In a perfect world the Wizards land either Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter, but that's simply hoping many things work in their favor. The likely scenario will be that both guys are gone before the Wizards are on the clock and then need to scratch off Plan A and go to Plan B. In my opinion Plan B should be drafting either Jonas Valanciunas or Jan Vesely. With a the real strong potential of a lockout that will drag into the season, the Wizards would be wise to draft a Euro that they can stash for a year until the dust settles.
In the previous lockout of '98 the league shortened the season to 50 games and the nation's economy was in a lot better shape, the league had just lost MJ, but league interest was at least close to an all time high, and the owners still held out for what they wanted. I think it's safe to say that this one is going to get ugly, especially since well over 50% of the owners are losing money right in the current formula.
Given those circumstances (keep in mind summer league has already been cancelled), why not draft either Vesely or Valanciunas with the plan that they'll stay in Europe for one more season (where they'll be getting paid) and continue to develop on what the Wizards front office instructs them to work on. In fact, I'm sure the Wizards could be in constant contact with either JV being that they won't be under the NBA's umbrella, thus contact between team and player is legal. Vesely would be a better shooting, stronger 22 year old and Valanciunas would be a 255-260 lbs. (adding 10-15 lbs) 7+' center with a better feel offensively around the basket and stronger underneath.
One major factor for my logic on doing the unpopular thing and drafting a Euro to stash is that the Wizards will eventually play themselves out of the lottery. Most likely by John Wall's 3rd season he will be capable of leading this team into the playoffs or at worst near the bottom of the lottery and the franchise's chances to acquire top tier young talent will diminish. There's historically a window that comes with drafting a franchise player like Wall,with 2-3 years being about the average.
Drafting the Euro and keeping the nucleus of Wall, Crawford, Booker, Blatche, McGee, Seraphin, maybe NY together for one more season would most likely still have the Wizards with a lot of ping pong balls in the lottery, especially if it's a short season and all of their young pieces still unfamiliar with one another. In essence the Wizards dedicate the 2011-12 season to those players above and in 2012 they'll be able to bring in either Vesely or Valanciunas and potentially a SF like Barnes, Jones, Davis, Gilchrest, McAdoo, or any of the other top prospects potentially available in the '12 draft. At that point the team is most likely one more year away from not being in the lottery for the next 5-8 years. They'll either go the route to become an elite team like Dallas or Chicago or a team stuck in "no mans land" like Atlanta or New Orleans.