One of my biggest complaints about Ernie Grunfeld's draft strategy is that he does too much swinging for the fences with his mid- to late-round picks. Sure, you'll occasionally hit with this philosophy, but you also squander the chance to find good, cheap role players that fit your style and your identity. The best teams have found good role players with late draft picks (just from this year's title teams, you have Rondo, Perkins, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic, all taken 20 or later). Seeing as this year's draft is incredibly deep with college talent, we need to be making our late selections with utility and polish in mind.
But of course, to do this correctly, we need to have a good idea about our team weaknesses. Obviously, this is problematic because there are only six players under contract, all of whom bring their own questions to the table. We also need to be thinking about the long-term fit in addition to the short-term fit. That all being said, here's one perspective on what this team needs with John Wall at the helm and who might fill that hole.
(Note: I'm going to try to keep this realistic, so while we need a defensive-minded starting center, we're probably not going to get him with pick 30 or 35).
A TAD Guy (three-and-D) guy
This is my new acronym to describe the guy who can play the Bruce Bowen role going forward. Scan a lot of the best teams, and they have a guy like this playing as one of their starting wings. I'm talking about a low-usage wing player that guards the other team's best player on defense and effectively spaces the floor on offense. With John Wall in tow, and with the prospect of a potentially vicious drive-and-kick attack spearheaded by Wall and Gilbert Arenas (as well as a potentially awful defensive backcourt, to be fair), this guy is an absolute must.
I also think one of these late picks is the perfect spot to find this player. On the one hand, guys like these are commonly referred to as a "dime a dozen," because they tend to be on the cheap side. On the other hand, it's a lot harder than it looks to find someone who can exhibit all three of the necessary qualities for the role (low-usage, great on D, good three-point shooter). If it was easier, more team would have them on their team. There are a lot of players who exhibit two of these qualities, but finding one who exhibits all three is tougher than it looks.
That said, this is the perfect spot to find one of these guys. While everyone else shoots for the fences, sells their pick or goes for a Euro guy to stash, we could easily be unearthing the next Bruce Bowen. I would strongly urge Ernie, Ted and the gang to use one of the two late picks for this purpose.
A stretch four
Ultimately, if we're going to have John Wall on our team, it'd be nice to find a power forward that can run the pick and pop game, especially when Andray Blatche isn't on the floor. James Singleton in theory could be this guy, but his shooting was dreadful this year, and he's more of an interior guy. In general, our three-point shooting needs to be much better, because we took far too many long twos, and that's not good for efficient offense.
Possibilities: Craig Brackens, Stanley Robinson, Lazar Hayward
A wide body
As mentioned above, we're not going to find our starting center for the next ten years with the late picks we currently have. However, we do need someone to get tough interior buckets. The Wizards were near the bottom of the leaguein eFG% on shots inside of 10 feet, so this is definitely a need. Guys like this also often fall in the draft (Jake actually made up an acronym for them a couple years ago), so it's definitely a direction to consider.
Another ball-handler (if Shaun Livingston leaves)
In other words, a backup point guard.
Shooting of any kind
I can't stress this enough - we were killed last year with our lack of three-point shooting. Part of it was a matter of shot selection -- only Chicago shot more attempts per game from 16-23 feet - but part of it is personnel. Only Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young are elite three-point shooters, and Arenas was off his game even during the part of the season he played. Wall obviously has shooting issues of his own, so he's not going to solve this problem. Our late picks, however, could.
Agree? Disagree? Are there legitimate weaknesses missing here that can realistically be filled with late picks?