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Nick Young and Dominic McGuire: Initial Thoughts

I've e-mailed a number of Wizards bloggers/media personalities asking for their responses to the draft, and when they all get back to me, I'll post them here.  I'll also try to get a link dump of reactions a bit later, but first, let's get my thoughts out of the way.

Without question, the first round selection of Nick Young is the correct one.  The top tier of the draft, to me, seemed to be 16 deep.  After the top 16, things really leveled off, and everyone has serious question marks.  Young represented the last of that top 16 tier.  Ernie's draft strategy was to select the best player available, and Nick Young was definitely the best player available.  

The other really great thing about the Young pick is that he can step in right away and fill an immediate need.  It's no secret that this team desperately needs better wing depth and bench production.  Even if the team re-signs DeShawn, they still have no backup 2 or 3, provided that Jarvis moves on as expected.  At the very least, Young provides that.  At best, Young becomes a better version of Stevenson, improves his defense, and adds a much-needed shooter on the floor.  I like that he's not a volume shooter, and I like that he's not the type to hog the ball, even if his passing skills need work.  

The other great thing about Young is that he's a model citizen off the court.  Like Caron Butler, Young had a checkered past, and it seems that he's grown from it.  His brother was shot when he was 5, and he flunked out of high school twice before finally dedicating himself his senior year.  He hasn't been in any trouble since, and his documentary has been well-received.  All the stories I've heard indicate that he's got great character and is excited to play in DC.  He has history with Gilbert Arenas, and his quirky personality fits right in with this clubhouse.  

The biggest question is how the team will get the most out of him defensively.  He's always had the tools, but from what I've heard, he suffers from the Caron Butler syndrome, where he gambles too much and gives up too easily.  I've heard that one of his biggest problems is his lack of focus, and that doesn't bode well with being a good defender.  On the other hand, he has excellent natural ability, and it's difficult to get a read on his defense from watching in college, since he played out of position so much.  To me, the drafting of Young means that the Wizards must hire Tom Thibodeau as an assistant coach.  Thibodeau would be an excellent defensive mentor.  Young's defensive progression is so important to this team.  If he doesn't become at least as good as Stevenson defensively, then he becomes a bit redundant -- an offense only guy on an offense only team that DESPERATELY needs to get better defensively to be a real player in the Eastern Conference.

As for McGuire, I, like many of you, would have liked to see Ernie draft a big guy, like Marc Gasol or Aaron Gray.  After Peter John Ramos got cut, it would have been nice to have another big man project somewhere in the organization.  But I don't have any huge problems with the McGuire pick.  He's a junkyard dog type, kind of like Renaldo Balkman last year, and that's something this team could definitely use.  He probably replaces Michael Ruffin in the rotation, and I know that you all think that's a good thing.  I trust Ernie as far as second-round guys too.  This is the guy that took Michael Redd, after all.

The only minor quibble I have is that Ernie wasn't able to trade Haywood, Etan, or Daniels.  I imagine that he tried and found little interest, which doesn't surprise me.  Still, Charlotte was practically selling both their picks.  Wouldn't Brendan Haywood straight up for the 22nd pick make some sense?  With the 22nd pick, the Wizards could have picked a big like Nick Fazekas, or a wing like Morris Almond, Derrick Byars, Jared Dudley, or Rudy Fernandez.  They also would have received a 4-5 million dollar trade exception, since Charlotte is under the cap, and they could have used that to acquire a higher-salary guy, like a Marcus Camby.  Perhaps Ernie proposed that to MJ, and he turned it down.  Who knows.  Either way, it's a bit disappointing, but it's hardly a catastrophe, as long as Ernie doesn't just sit on the draft.

Overall, I'd give the Wizards a solid B+.  It was a nice draft, but there still was SOME room for improvement, if not much.