There's a really good article in the Washington Examiner today about DeShawn Stevenson and the new role he is trying to embrace. Here's a snipet.
That did not mean he would embark on a quest to post gaudy numbers. All DeShawn Stevenson wanted to show was his value to a team, not how many baskets he could make. The Wizards say he's done just that.
He's become the defensive presence they hoped for. He's averaged around 10 points a game, getting a bump with Antawn Jamison sidelined. And he's fit in well in the locker room.
In the four games since Antawn Jamison went down, Stevenson has upped his scoring to nearly 15 a game. He's also continued to keep his shooting percentages up, debunking the critics that said his shot selection will ultimately doom his career. You could argue that this is because of all the attention defenses pay to the Big 3, but Stevenson isn't taking those shots away like he would have in the past. He's clearly become a pretty valuable player for this team, and his age indicates that he should be a part of the team's core for a while.
The problem is that Stevenson's value is inherently tied to his league-minimum contract. If he wasn't making under 1 million dollars, I'm not sure he would seem so valuable in the eyes of the fans and the front office.
This offseason, the Wizards' front office will have to make a decision. Stevenson's almost certainly going to exercise his player option and become an unrestricted free agent. It seems like he enjoys playing in DC, and the Wizards are probably the team that can offer him the best situation. But Stevenson isn't going to re-sign for the league minimum again, meaning Ernie Grunfeld is likely going to have to negotiate a new contract.
So I'm curious. How much do you think Stevenson is worth? If you're Ernie Grunfeld, what type of contract do you offer Stevenson? How important is he to the Wizards' plans?