It’s natural for people to look for excuses when things aren’t going the way they should be. For fans of the Washington Wizards those reasons range from curses to injuries to a general manager history loaded with an occasional good move but far more blunders through both trades and the draft. That's Bob Ferry, John Nash, Wes Unsled, Michael Jordan, and Ernie Grunfeld for those of you keeping score at home.
After the latest loss to the Pacers I thought to myself, I wonder what happened to all those draft picks. Having gone through Ernie’s picks two things popped out. First was the fact that Washington does not do a good job of developing their own talent, but that’s not just an Ernie thing. If you go back to Bob Ferry this franchise has a history of swings and misses.
The second thing that caught my eye was that Ernie doesn’t do well with Euro’s. At all. It’s almost as if he has an itch for drafting guys who have no chance in hell of making the league. Linguistic fetish maybe?
When your record as the head of basketball operations is 288-463 (.370) and your draft record is littered with the people listed below how can fans buy into that the owner is doing what is in the best interest of the franchise?
Fans can’t even buy into the hope of our young players because our young players can’t even get on the floor. When you’re number 6 overall pick and your number 18 overall pick have a combined 9 DNP, Coach’s decisions there is a problem.
If it’s the player, then it’s on the man who picked them too. But how many times are we going to continue to blame the players? For a franchise that in 52 seasons has missed the playoffs 26x, I guess blaming the players is the easier way to accept losing.
Where are they now: The Ernie Grunfeld Years:
(5) Devin Harris – Harris is averaging 7.5 pts, 2.5 assists in just over 23 minutes for the Atlanta Hawks. His best years were spent with the Nets and in the grand scheme of things, what Antawn Jamison did for this franchise is far more than anything Harris would have done in my humble opinion. The current Wizards ended up with the 2nd, 4th, and 44th pick in this draft, albeit it 8 years later in Okafor, Ariza and Shaun Livingston, the latter which has since been cut. Strong draft.
(32) Peter John Ramos – Last played for the Seoul Samsung Thunders of the Korean Basketball Association where he averaged 18.1 pts and 9.9 rebounds per game. I know @funkylikemulch is going to love this retro moment.
Oh hey there: Luol Deng (7), Andre Iguodala (9), Al Jefferson (15), Josh Smith (17), Jameer Nelson (20), Kevin Martin (26), Anderson Verejao (31), and Trevor Ariza (44)
(20) Pick was traded to Orlando for Brendan Haywood in 2001. Denver drafted Julius Hodge
(49) Andray Blatche – 7 Day Dray is averaging 10 points, a shade under 6 rebounds, and shooting the best FG% of his career for the 16-15 Brooklyn Nets. Another little fun fact, Blatche is now working with his 5th coach in 8 years (Eddie Jordan, Flip Saunders, Randy Wittman, Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlisemo for those counting at home.)
(18) Oleksiy Pecherov – The Euro who reminded us of Stewie and even more famous for his line, “I get buckets son” - has had stints with with Polytekhnik Kharkiv, BC Kyiv, Paris Basket Racing, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, Olimpia Milano and BC Azovmash Mariupol. Pech is averaging 16 points, and 7 rebounds a game while shooting 43% from 3pt land. Not too shabby for a guy drafted ahead of Rajon Rondo.
(48) Vladimir Veremeenko – This 2nd round steal by the Wizards is currently averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.5 fouls per game for Unics Kazan of the Russian PBL. Veremeenko has had stints with Avtodor Saratov, Dynamo St. Petersburg, BC Khimki, and now for UNICS Kazan. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Ernie’s record with Euro-picks is a little shady.
Oh hey there: Rajon Rondo (21), Steve Novak (32), Daniel Gibson (42)
(16) Nick Young – Young is currently posting averages of nearly 10 points, 2 rebounds, and a career high 1.4 assists per game, all while shooting 39% from the field. I loved having Nick in Washington because he was such an easy going, loose and fun player to talk with. He really never had a chance though because the Wizards don’t draft and develop players, they draft them and stall their careers. A very capable scorer who was drafted by the wrong team.
(47) Dominic McGuire – McGuire who has had stints with the Wizards, Kings, Bobcats, Warriors, Raptors and now Hornets, is averaging 2 points and 3 rebounds a game in just a shade over 16 minutes per game. I guess the positive from this draft pick is that he’s still in the league.
Oh hey there: Wilson Chandler (23), Rudy Fernandez (24), Arron Afflalo (27), Tiago Splitter (28), Marc Gasol (48)
(18) Javale McGee – There is no doubt that McGee is doing better in Denver than he did in Washington and I’m not just referring to on the court. The relationship between the Wizards and McGee had to end, we are all just trying to figure out why it happened in the first place. Considering we got Nene – who when he plays is 1000x a better basketball player than I’ll ever give JaVale credit for being, the Wizards are still 4-26 while Denver is 18-15 so I think JaVale gets the last laugh here. Pierre 1, Ernie 0.
(47) Bill Walker – Traded for cash considerations which I’m sure was allocated towards something that is paying bigger dividends than the 6 points and 3 rebounds per game over a 20 minute average that Walker is currently providing to the Eastern Conference’s second best team. No worries though Walker doesn’t play a position that the Wizards are struggling to find an answer to.
Oh hey there: Ryan Anderson (21), Serge Ibaka (24), Nicolas Batum (25), Mario Chalmers (34)
(32) Jermaine Taylor – The Wizards traded Taylor to the Houston Rockets for $2.5 million dollars and more importantly passed up an opportunity to pick DeJuan Blair because of his bad knees. Good thing they traded Jermaine who is now playing for San Sebastián Gipuzkoa Basket Club, S.A.D., also known as Lagun Aro GBC of the Spanish League. Can you imagine the egg on the face of the GM if he had to cut the 32nd pick in the draft? Blair’s 12.9 PER right now would be higher than all but 4 current Wizards. Nene, Crawford, Okafor and Ariza. Just saying.
Oh hey there: Ricky Rubio (5), Stephen Curry (7), DeMar DeRozan (9), Brandon Jennings (10), Ty Lawson (18), DeJuan Blair (37), Marcus Thornton (43), Jonas Jerebko (39)
(1) John Wall – You couldn’t really get this pick wrong. Wall was undoubtedly the number 1 pick in the 2010 draft. The problem as with many of the players Washington has ever drafted – even prior to the Grunfeld years – is that players don’t develop here. Careers are stagnated and one can only hope the combination of all the losing along with the lack of players both vets and young being provided by the front office doesn’t make John go running for the brighter pastures when his contract is up.
(17) Kevin Seraphin – It took me so long to come around and appreciate what Seraphin was starting to do and now I’m back to being scared again. I sound like a broken record but it goes back to prior points, when it comes to draft picks this franchise does not develop players well. For as smart a businessman as Ted Leonsis is I’m shocked that he doesn’t see this as a fundamental problem. Can’t imagine he would have ever allowed his employees at AOL carry on with as many blunders as he’s overseen both as a minority owner and now the majority owner of the Wizards.
(23) Trevor Booker – One of my favorites on this current team, when Booker is playing at the level he is capable of playing he’s fun to watch and an energy boost to the team. Problem with Book is that he can’t seem to stay healthy. Before going out with his latest injury Trevor was averaging a little under 7 points and 6 rebounds a game with a PER of 12.12, 5th highest on the team. Unfortunately for Trevor, out of sight, out of mind.
(56) Hamady Ndiaye – Again, one of the nicest players I’ve ever encountered and for where he was picked I really can’t argue the pick, especially considering the fact that he was a defensive machine in college. However, this leads back to a familiar tune for this front office, how is it that Ndiaye was scouted but couldn’t get coached up? Hamady currently plays for Tianjin RongGang of the Chinese Basketball Association where he is averaging 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game.
Oh hey there: Eric Bledsoe (18), Avery Bradley (19), Landry Fields (39)
(6) Jan Vesely – The most painful of the Ernie Euro picks is the dunking ninja. Why you ask? Perhaps because Vesely was a top 10 pick in a down year in the draft that could have yielded a much more useful pick in Klay Thompson. When your basketball team is 4-25 and the number 6 pick in your draft from the year before has 8 DNP Coach’s decision, it’s either an indictment on the person who drafted him or the coaching staff. As far as I’m concerned there is enough blame to go around.
(18) Chris Singleton – In not so alarming news for Wizards fans, another 1st round pick is stuck in the “not quite sure how many minutes you’re getting tonight” game. Again, when your first round pick has 4 DNP Coach’s Decision in the last 5 games and the team he plays for is 4-25 who exactly gets the blame? Can it be that all these players are that bad that they can’t get burn on a really bad team? Why were they drafted then?
(34) Shelvin Mack – 2nd round pick drafted is picked by Wizards to grow alongside John Wall. Mack struggled to assert himself as the answer to Wall being injured so the Wizards cut him. Then brought him back with another journeyman (Garrett Temple) who eventually would end up taking the spot Mack was re-signed to run.
Oh hey there: Klay Thompson (11), Kawhi Leonard (15), Iman Shumpert (17), Kenneth Faried (22), MarShon Brooks (25), Isaiah Thomas (60)
(3) Bradley Beal – Come on now, isn’t anyone else scared to death about what is already going through the mind of this 19 year old kid? He looks shell-shocked at times and all the losing takes its toll on these players, we’ve seen it over the last 5 years. The good news is that his minutes are up which means that he’s learning the only way that top 10 picks should….on the court. If you are going to be 4-26, you might as well be 4-26 with the players you drafted gaining experience. If the problem is their attitudes, I ask you then, why did you draft them in the first place?
(32)Tomas Satoransky – Is currently doing what most Grunfeld Euro’s do, playing basketball overseas. Tomas is averaging a team leading 12.3 points, 4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game in 30 minutes of play for Cajasol Banca Civica Sevilla of the Spanish Basketball league. No worries Wizards fans, we have a history of doing good things with guys like this.
Oh hey there: Damian Lillard (6), Harrison Barnes (7), Draymond Green (35)