March 29, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford (15) and Indiana Pacers shooting guard Paul George (24) scramble for a loose ball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Washington 93-89. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE
My mind keeps going back to 'volume over precision' (draft many rookies) when it comes to the youngster approach detailed in the Ten Point Plan. It's a methodology that implicitly acknowledged the fallacy of the Thunder model before the blogosphere began taking explicit pains to point it out. The scientific method demands any model/theory be replicable by independent experimenters. While the skill of the experimenter/GMs attempting to execute their respective rebuilds differ wildly, hitting in the lottery over and over is both crucial and unlikely.
'Volume over precision' means everyone from Ted on down was aware of the likelihood of the circumstances leading to the deadline deal. Pruning happened, the level of the team improved and the developmental environment ripened in one shot. But what does the aftermath mean for Jordan Crawford?
Everyone knows DC is a pro sports pressure cooker. Andray Blatche has done his inadvertent best to be 'everything that's wrong with the Wizards' and the team benefited. The deadline trade has been addition by addition and subtraction both. The basketball quality of the team has risen dramatically and low IQ basketball is no longer disffused among several players as it once was. Cohesive play from the Center position is demanding a more intelligent brand of play from every player on the court.
I asked earlier this week about college-level players asked to do everything to cover for teammates with inferior skillsets and watching the debate among draftniks as they wonder whether or not said players can transition into a focused role. Take Nick Young and ESPN article Mike linked to:
Late in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, Young passes the ball from the corner to Chris Paul, who immediately feeds it back to him. Young stalls for a second before realizing he's wide open and streaks to the basket for a dunk and foul.
He said afterward he didn't know what to do until Paul screamed at him with directions.
And that's always been the rap on Young -- supreme shooting ability and usable athleticism but below-average on-court awareness.
via ESPN LA
Of course, there's plenty of pressure in LA with high expectations and that is something Nick can and probably will adjust to. But after watching Nick do the same thing time and again, watching Flip successfully mold his game to a workable state and finally being ready to believe he could be that 3rd or 4th option...I feel like we're looking at what would happen to Jordan Crawford without guidance; just another highly talented ball player who can't make the right decisions.
But JC has a few seasons before he reaches journeyman status and his destiny is still an open book. A lot of the problem with /ahem ridiculous upside is how difficult it is to project what a player should become and what they will become. It's almost impossible to plan around upside when you've drafted by volume over precision. Kevin Durant was a scorer, Russell Westbrook was an attack first point guard and James Harden was a playmaking two. The lottery offers far more certainty. (Typically.)
Thus, the peril of collecting those mid round picks is that figuring out their NBA skillsets often takes longer...add that to a franchise foundation that can't dictate offense or defense in the halfcourt and you have a recipe for minimal growth. From Nene Hilario to David West to even Carmelo Anthony, the Wizards have quietly expressed interest in players to address a roster situation even (or especially) an elite coach would balk at. Adding higher IQ veteran players who can hold down a starter's role has been extremely necessary for developing the mid round picks the Ten Point Plan hinges on and it sucks that it's taken this long to get one. Of course, it's easy enough to say no one was about to come to DC...but as Rook would counter, 'there was nothing available' is the warcry of a perennial loser.
In all fairness, we're still in John Wall's second season and Ted warned us of a painful road back to contending (though the last time we were there I was but a twinkle in my father's eye). The Wiz have blown ballast and the team has been all but completely purged from the days of finga gunz. But can you blame us for doubting? Failing to develop and/or hold onto valuable players has been a hallmark of this franchise. Devastating injuries with botched recovery programs make us wonder if the Wizards medical staff has receivied the collective mark of Cain. I'm hopeful again with the acquisition of Nene, but as everyone knows, this offseason will be huge for us and for more reasons than the draft. There's still time to figure things out around John Wall, but no one who hit the countdown clock to his restricted free agency on draft day is going to rest easy.