FanPost

Why the Okafor/Ariza Trade Was Brilliant

I can sum it up in one word:

Nene.

Of course, Nene wasn't involved in the deal. But getting him last year was likely what prompted the trade. When Nene arrived and Nick Young and Javale McGee left, the Wizards changed. Immediately, and greatly for the better.

It wasn't just that he was a better player, though of course he was. He brought a maturity and professionalism to the team that was missing. He understood defensive rotations. He knew where to be on the court. And he didn't act like a clueless chump much of the time.

Now Ernie Grunfeld has added two more players who bring many of the same characteristics to the team, if not the same talent. Both Okafor and Ariza hang their hat on defense. Both are vets who take pride in shutting down their man, and understand how to play the game. The intensity, professionalism and maturity they'll bring is comparable to Nene's. They won't be as effective, since they're not on Nene's level; but their intangibles will be similar.

What the Wiz also have gained is much greater depth. Nene's injury prone; now they have one of the best backups in the league if he's out an extended time. And no Wiz fan has to be told how thin they are at SF. Now they're thicker. There will also be more competition, and more vets to push and teach the kids. Everyone will be better.

Are the Wiz giving up on their rebuilding project? Hardly. The young guys include Wall, Crawford, Booker, Seraphin, Vesely, Singleton and Mack. Add to that the No. 3 overall pick and a second-rounder. The Wiz won't lack for youth. What they will have added is solid veterans around those youngsters.

And in two years, when the Wiz are hopefully ready to compete at a higher level (with the kids having learned how to play from the vets, and also learned how to be pros), the two new contracts come off the books, giving huge flexibility to lure that key all-star level free agent needed to get to the top. Those FAs will be easier to acquire if the Wiz have built a winning program (or at least one that's improving and looks like it's on the cusp.)

So what we're left with after the trade is a deeper team with a defensive-minded focus; a fine mix of youth and veterans; and a culture of playing the right way that leads to (hopefully) more wins. What did it cost us? Young, McGee, Rashard Lewis, Blatche (sure to be amnestied) and two years of less cap flexibility.

The road back to respectability started with Nene. Now that road is leading further onward, to the land of winners. The Wiz aren't there yet, but they can finally make it out on the horizon.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.

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