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Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 05/23/2011

Lucky number six

Well, fellow Wizards fans, it could always be worse. You could be the Clippers executive who traded the Cavs that No. 1 lottery pick, but didn’t bother to top-3 protect it (the Clips would have been looking at a core of Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Derek Williams/Kyrie Irving, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and Al-Farouq Aminu, who combined will be making less than $20 million next year and would be under team control for at least the next two seasons). Cheap and controllable, Donald Sterling’s two favorite qualities in his employees.

As much as we were hoping to hit the jackpot for the second year in a row, we knew that wasn’t going to happen (the Orlando Magic were the only team to luck into back-to-back No. 1 picks). Unfortunately, the Wizards franchise history picking at sixth is mixed. Tom Gugliotta (1992) ended up being a solid NBA player and even making an All-Star Team, but his best years were after he was traded by the Wizards for Chris Webber. Calbert Cheaney (1993) put together a few decent years with the Wizards before fading in to a career as a bench player at the ripe old age of 27. The very first time the team had the sixth pick back in 1984, they drafted “Dinner Bell” Mel Turpin before smartly trading him on draft day to the Cavaliers... before reacquiring him five years later. Upon seeing Turpin shuffle on to the court during one game that season I looked up to my father and asked him if other team’s centers also walked with a limp.

Which brings us to the Wizards current situation, what do they do?

Top Priorities

— A small forward who can hit the three and defend (if you start Wall and Crawford in the back-court you need someone on the floor who can make threes consistently)

— A power forward who can play in the post and defend

The Wizards top options to fill those two slots are Derek Williams (small forward) or Enes Kantor (power forward), but it’s doubtful they’ll be around by the sixth pick. Luckily the Wizards have assets to try to trade up.

Assets

Andray Blatche: Say what you will about him, but he’s got a decent contract (getting paid $6M, $7M, $7M and $8M over the next four seasons) and he’s only 24. Worst case, he’ll average 15 and 8 with unenthusiastic defense. Best case, he’ll put up 20 and 10 with average defense.

— The sixth and the eighteen picks of the first round, plus what could be a lottery pick next year.

Nick Young: Assuming the team acquiring him is prepared to give him an extension, he’s got pretty good value.

Cap Space: While it’s unclear what the next salary cap will look like, the team is about $8M under the cap not including Nick Young and they could take on salary to get a deal done.

By Lee Friedman  |  10:35 AM ET, 05/23/2011

Tags:  Wizards, Lee Friedman

 
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