While we all focus on Ernie Grunfeld's decision with the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, there's also two second-round picks at No. 38 and No. 54 to consider. As he has for the past month and a half, Grunfeld indicated Tuesday that the Wizards are unlikely to use both on players that will be on next year's roster. Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
The Wizards also have picks No. 38 and 54 in the second round, but Grunfeld said he doesn't expect the team to have three rookies on the roster next season. "If you look at the players that we have and the players in the positions we want to fill, it's not going to allow roster spots for so many players who are inexperienced."
Grunfeld was later quoted as saying this year's draft class was deeper than most give it credit for being. The dichotomy, at first glance, is odd, but it's worth examining what Grunfeld is specifically saying. Essentially, he's suggesting that while the draft may have talent, the Wizards may not have enough room on their roster to accomodate it.
Is that true, though?
An NBA roster must have, at most, 15 players. The Wizards have 10 players with guaranteed contracts next season. They are as follows:
- Emeka Okafor
- Trevor Ariza
- John Wall
- Bradley Beal
- Jan Vesely
- Kevin Seraphin
- The No. 3 overall pick
- Chris Singleton
- Trevor Booker
Seven of those players will be under rookie contracts next season, which is definitely a lot. The Wizards also have the following free agents:
Keeping Webster is obviously a priority, and Price and Temple are potentially worth bringing back if they come affordably. The Wizards may also need to keep open the possibility that Tomas Satoransky will come over this year, though I'd place the chances of that happening at under 25 percent. All that happens before looking at the free-agent market.
On the surface, then, Grunfeld is right. If the Wizards use both second-round picks, they will have 12 players under contract, with nine of them on rookie contracts. That's before considering Webster, Price, Temple, Satoransky and other free agents. This point of view isn't coming from nowhere.
Then again, a roster doesn't have to be static. Multiple players could be combined in a trade before the season begins. Disappointments like Vesely, Booker and Singleton could be salary-dumped in trades where no players come back. Price and Temple don't have to be retained. Etc. Heck, both picks could be packaged to move up, even though Grunfeld said that was unlikely.
All this is to say that I don't quite see the purpose in being so public about the team's intentions with those picks. There are plenty of reasons not to use both or to use at least one to draft and stash a European player, but why let a roster full of disappointing former draft picks dictate public strategy?
Maybe a compromise is using the No. 38 pick on a player for next year and stashing the No. 54 pick a la Satoransky. That would be fine with me.