Another day, another blowout Wizards loss, another piece on the Wizards' long-term rebuilding efforts. This time, it's from Carla Peay of the recently revitalized Washington Times, and it really doesn't say anything that hasn't been said already. The Wizards are not playing to win now, they're playing to win in the future, collect assets, maintain flexibility, yada yada yada. We get it.
For most of us fans, we're beyond the stage where the model needs to be explained or justified to us. I don't want to speak for everyone, but I think most of us are on board with the idea of building around young talent and staying patient. We've seen 25+ years of quick fixes, and we've also seen a different team in our backyard succeed using the same model. The rebuilding is painful, but that doesn't mean the plan isn't sound. The angst is more over whether the model is being executed correctly, not whether the model itself is the way to go.
Basically, we've spent enough pixels of surface analysis already. What has to happen for this to actually work? Here's where I'll throw out something that I've been thinking about for a while. To me, the most important step, by far, is the 2011 NBA Draft, specifically that first pick. I'd go as far to say that the entire rebuild hinges on it.
NBA fans like myself sometimes get carried away with the "Assets! Assets! Assets!" step of it all. When Sam Presti turns six months of Kurt Thomas into a truckload of draft picks, we swoon. Hell, when Ernie Grunfeld turns five months of Kirk Hinrich into Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford and maybe Kenneth Faried (just a possible example), some swoon too. That's nifty.
It also is very, very secondary to the real task at hand. Think about it this way: what really separates Sam Presti from David Kahn? Sure, one different is Presti got lucky to draft Kevin Durant, whereas Kahn inherited Kevin Love. But think about some of the "creative" trades both guys have made thus far:
- Presti traded Ray Allen and the 32nd pick for the fifth pick, Delonte West and Wally Sczcerbiak; Kahn traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the fifth pick, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov.
- Presti traded for Kurt Thomas and two picks, then traded him to San Antonio for a third first-round pick; Kahn traded two second-round picks for Michael Beasley.
- Presti traded a first-round pick for Thabo Sefolosha; Kahn traded Corey Brewer for Anthony Randolph.