Monday, June 21, 2010

Wizards 2000's Draft Recap

The 2000’s were a rollercoaster-like decade for the Washington Wizards. They started in January 2000 with the stunning announcement that Michael Jordan would become general manager of the team, and ended with longtime owner Abe Pollin passing away Thanksgiving eve 2009. In between these two massive events, the Wizards saw the team go from mediocre to electrifying to heartbreaking to a doormat resulting in a number one overall pick in 2010. Like they did 10 years before, the Wizards will have a new man in charge with this pick in new majority owner and owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment Ted Leonsis. The Wizards can only hope this new beginning will signal a steady rise to prominence in the 2010’s.

Here is a recap of the last drafts the Wizards have had since they last had the number one overall pick in 2001. It was Jordan’s first draft with the team, and one where the team and fans believed would begin turning the team around.

2001: Kwame Brown, Glynn Academy, Brunswick, Georgia (1, 1)

Brown was the first high school player selected number one overall in the history of the NBA Draft. He spent four disappointing seasons in the District and only averaged more than eight points per game once in 2003-2004 when he averaged 10.9 PPG. Brown’s tenure ended tumultuously in 2005 after he got into disagreement with then head coach Eddie Jordan. Although he has had a decent NBA career, Brown never lived up to the hype of the number one overall selection, and some believe his selection set the team back a few years. He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Caron Butler in 2005. Brown has averaged 6.7 PPG in his career.

2002: Jared Jeffries, Indiana University, (1, 11)

Jeffries was coming off of leading the underdog Indiana Hoosiers to the NCAA Tournament final when he was selected as a lottery pick by the Wizards. Jeffries was to be the power forward the Wizards could pair with Brown for years to come. He never lived up to the 11th overall selection as he averaged 5.73 PPG over four seasons in Washington. Jeffries left the Wizards after the 2005-2006 season for the New York Knicks, where he continued to underachieve. Jeffries is still in the league with the Houston Rockets. He has averaged 5.3 PPG in his career.

Juan Dixon, University of Maryland, (1, 17)

After leading the Terrapins to their only NCAA Championship, Dixon became the Wizards second first round pick of 2002. Dixon, who holds the career points record at Maryland, was seen by many as a hometown selection for a Wizards team in need of a spark. He spent three seasons in Washington before bolting for Portland. He averaged 7.93 PPG, but had his best years with the Trailblazers. Dixon came back to the Wizards for the 2008-2009 season, but his best days were left back in Portland. Dixon signed with a European team in 2009, but tested positive for steroids in 2010 and has been suspended by FIBA indefinitely. Dixon averaged 8.4 PPG in his NBA career.

2003: Jarvis Hayes, University of Georgia, (1, 10)

Jarvis Hayes came out of Georgia with the reputation as a sweet-shooting perimeter guard. He rarely displayed that range with the Wizards, however, spending four disappointing seasons with the club where he mostly served as a backup. His best season was in 2004-2005 when he averaged 10.2 PPG. Hayes was not tendered a contract after the 2007 season, and went to the Detroit Pistons where he was a valuable member off the bench. He spent the last two seasons with the New Jersey Nets, and has averaged 8.3 PPG for his career.

2004: Devin Harris, University of Wisconsin (1, 5)

Harris was drafted with the intention of dealing him immediately to the Dallas Mavericks for Antawn Jamison. Harris’ statistics increased each year in Dallas before he was traded to the Nets for Jason Kidd in 2008. The Nets are building their team around him, and he has averaged 16.67 PPG. Jamison went on to become one of the Wizards top players of the 2000’s. He became their captain and led them to the playoffs for four straight seasons. He averaged 20.7 PPG as a member of the Wizards before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 as part of the Wizards rebuilding effort.

2005: Andray Blatche, South Kent Prep, (2, 49)

Blatche was the Wizards only selection in this draft, and has had an up and down career in DC. Picked out of high school, many knew Blatche would be a project, but he has upset many fans with his play and attitude. In 2010, Blatche seemed to get it right when he averaged 14.1 PPG. His scoring average has increased in each of his five seasons in the league, and he is a part of the Wizards rebuilding effort heading into the 2010’s.

2006: Oleksiy Pecherov, Ukraine, (1, 18)

Pecherov spent two seasons in DC, where he averaged 3.6 PPG before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. He did not play his first season in DC, and he never seemed to get on track. He only averaged 8.9 minutes per game here, and has averaged only 3.9 PPG in his career. He was one of their biggest disappointments as a first round selection.

2007: Nick Young, University of Southern California, (1, 16)

Young was an elite scorer during his time in college, and he has flashed his offensive talents during his three seasons in the NBA. His defense, however, has left little to be desired for. He has averaged 9.1 PPG in three seasons, but has come off the bench in 30 of his 231 career games. The Wizards will continue to hope he develops into an all-around player, but with the emergence of other guards, it’s put up or shut-up time for Young.

2008: Javale McGee, University of Nevada, (1, 18)

McGee was a very surprising pick to many when he was selected 18th overall by the Wizards in 2008. He’s tall, lanky, and extremely athletic. He still lacks post moves and gets overpowered by other centers in the league, but the Wizards are hoping he can develop into a center-type for them in the future. He has averaged 6.5 PPG in his two seasons in Washington, but he will need to step up in that department next season.

2009: Traded Selection

The Wizards decided to trade the 5th overall selection in this draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves for veterans Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Foye and Miller were looked at as solid contributors to a team that already had Gilbert Arenas, Jamison, and Butler. Things declined soon into the 2009-2010 season for the Wizards, however, and there’s no guarantee either player will be around next season. The Wizards passed on drafting the rights to Stephen Curry in this draft.

2010: John Wall, University of Kentucky, (1,1)

Freshman phenomenon John Wall will bring his dance, swagger, and most importantly his immensely talented game to the Wizards in 2010. He will be the point guard the Wizards can build around, and he can be the marketing dream the Wizards have been waiting for since Arenas’ star faded after his issues last season. Wall is seen by many as one of the top point guard prospects of the last ten years, and he brings a pass first mentality to the position. He is also regarded as one of the top defensive guards coming out of college. This is a no brainer selection, and one that has had DC in a frenzy ever since the Wizards won the lottery in May.

The Wizards will head into the 2010’s with two certainties:

Ted Leonsis is the new owner, and John Wall is whom they’re building their team around. Leonsis emphasizes scouting and development, so the draft will be where his scouts and general manager Ernie Grunfeld will make their living for the foreseeable future. Leonsis has preached patience from the fans, but would like more than anything to see a winning basketball team in the District.

"[We want to] build for a new relevant, and bright future,” Leonsis said at his introductory presser. “[I want to] know what Washington, DC will be like when we win a championship, and that’s my hope and dream and aspiration to bring this city closer together and create those lifelong memories for families.”


  1. This is a great post! You nailed it on the head. I like Wall and hope this isn't a mirage. New owner Ted Leonsis is the right owner for this team as we start the rebuilding process. What do you think?

  2. Appreciate it. Yes, leonsis is very committed to building through the draft and meshing young players together. The Oklahoma City Thunder model is one the Wizards should follow