The Washington Wizards plan of building through the NBA Draft hasn’t exactly come to full fruition. Despite having five first round selections over the past three NBA drafts, three of which were within the top six picks, the Wizards only have a 4-24 record to their name this season. By no surprise Washington’s pitiful record is by far the worst in the NBA this season.
The Wizards have seen nearly all of their first round selections flounder thus far. Bradley Beal, the team’s selection with the third pick in the 2012 NBA draft, has gotten off to a rather underwhelming start, averaging a mediocre twelve points per game on an unsteady thirty-five percent shooting percentage. Yet there is still some substance of hope with Beal, unlike the team’s 2011 first round selections Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. Both of whom appear to be major busts for the Washington franchise.
With the team’s former number one pick, point guard John Wall, wavering on the topic of resigning long-term with the franchise, the Wizards are facing an immense amount of pressure to put a respectable roster around Wall.
And who better to turn to than a former college teammate of Wall’s, DeMarcus Cousins. It has been well-documented that Cousins is extremely unhappy and disgruntled in Sacramento, and a trade seems intimate. Washington has been described as an “ideal” landing spot for Cousins as reported by USA Today’s Sam Amick.
“ Specifically, two people close to the situation who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation said a trade to the Washington Wizards would be considered ideal for Cousins and Fegan because Cousins could rejoin former Kentucky teammate and fellow [Dan] Fegan client, point guard John Wall.”
Cousins determination to reunite with John Wall gives Washington the chance to atone for their most recent mistakes that have left the franchise lacking financial flexibility in the short-term. Those mistakes would be acquiring the hefty contracts of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets in an attempt at making a very unlikely playoff run.
But the question here is will the Wizards make a run at Cousins? They already had reportedly missed out at an opportunity at acquiring former Oklahoma City Thunder sixth-man James Harden. Whose to say they won’t do the same with Cousins?
The Sacramento Kings asking price for Cousins has been rumored to be extremely high, perhaps to high for the Wizards. The idea of building around Cousins and Wall is certainly an enticing one. The duo found much success at Kentucky, and with the right players around them could definitely do the same in the NBA. Washington has a pair of veteran big men in Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor that could not only keep Cousins in check, but perhaps help the former Kentucky Wildcat grow into a more mature player.
But, in order to acquire Cousins the Wizards will be forced to take on the contract of forward John Salmons as well as relinquishing key pieces to their future. Salmons is due close to sixteen million dollars over the next two seasons. Realistically the franchise will most likely have to part with Bradley Beal, which at first look appears to be a very high asking price. After all Beal was just selected in the top three of the 2012 NBA draft and was in the good graces of numerous NBA scouts.
Beal certainly would not be going to Sacramento with Tyreke Evans still remaining, but more likely a third team with other parts going to the Kings. Washington certainly would rather part with Beal than their 2013 first round pick, a pick that could net them a better replacement for Beal in UCLA shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad is clearly an all-around more talented offensive player than Beal, as Beal has struggled this season beating opponents off the dribble. Not to mention that Beal’s strength coming into the season was his shooting, and that has yet to be seen through Washington’s first twenty-eight games.
There is no denying that such a move would be a monstrous risk for the Wizards. Washington is still having nightmares of the migraines caused by Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and JaVale McGee, and acquiring Cousins could easily make those nightmares a reality. Then again does Washington really want to put all their eggs in their drafting abilities and talent development? Both of which have failed miserably as of late.
Cousins would give the Wizards a center to build around, Okafor and Nene are coming to the end of their well-respected careers and neither should be in the Wizards long-term plans. The options in the 2013 draft are littered with question marks. Anyone from Nerlens Noel to Alex Len have detractions in their games that could prevent them from making the impact suspected from a top-five selection. Cousins is not only a more developed player than any big man in the 2013 draft, but he also has the most potential. He gives Washington a better core to build around no matter which way you look at it.
Sure, you Cousins may not be the most efficient offensive player and he may have the best attitude but there is no denying his talent. A change of scenery could do DeMarcus some good and potentially bring the best of out him. The Kings appear more and more unwilling to gamble on Cousins. Somebody has to. Should it be the Wizards?