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Player evaluation: Darius Songaila

One of the scapegoats for this disappointing NBA season was the World Championships, which wore out many of the game's top stars.  Only a couple players, however, actually got hurt from playing in the tournament.  One was Pau Gasol.  Another was our very own Darius Songaila.

Songaila, if you remember, hurt his back in what was originally a minor injury that kept getting worse and worse.  He missed half the year, robbing the Wizards of a key post player.  When he came back, he displayed a nice shooting touch, stunk defensively, and struggled on the glass.  Essentially, he was a decent frontcourt reserve that looked better because he was money on mid-range jumpers.  He wasn't bad by any means, but was he really deserving of all the praise he got from beat reporters and the like?  I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong...I do think Songaila is a useful player at a fairly decent price.  But the Wizards need frontcourt players that rebound and defend, and Songaila does neither.  He's never been a good rebounder even before getting hurt.  Making matters worse, he plays the same position as Andray Blatche, who has the potential to be the defender and rebounder that's desperately needed.  Songaila took minutes away from Blatche in the playoffs this year, and that really can't happen again.    

Songaila's box-score contributions make him look better.  He shoots an excellent percentage, scores a lot of points, and doesn't do anything stupid.  But he's awful at the things that don't show up, such as strong defensive rotations, surrendering offensive rebounds, and hedging on screens.  The Wizards score plenty already.  It's on the very things Songaila struggles with that they need the most help.

If nothing else though, we know Songaila has really strong shoulders.  That has to count for something...even if it's for the other team.

I'm curious how you guys see Songaila on this team.  He has his defenders, and I remember when the TNT crew reported that Mike Brown was really scared of him during Game 2 (I think) of the first-round series.  He definitely is a bit of a mismatch for an opposing team.  But with Jamison, Blatche, O-Pec, and the two centers already there, where would he fit in?  I'm curious to hear what you all think.