COMMENTARY | Entering the 2013-14 NBA season, the Washington Wizards had high hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.
Unfortunately, their dream of accomplishing the goal of reaching the postseason has gotten off to a rocky 2-6 start.
With the talented trio of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle hovering over the basketball landscape as potential lottery picks in what appears to be a stacked 2014 NBA draft, the Wizards should delay their postseason aspirations and tank their way to a chance of landing one of the coveted future stars next June.
That's right, folks. It's time for the Wizards to embrace another year of mediocrity in exchange for the opportunity to secure a high selection in what's shaping up to be one of the greatest NBA drafts in recent memory.
A potential first-round postseason exit isn't worth sacrificing a chance to draft a difference-maker
Even under the circumstances of the best-case scenario, the Wizards could possibly limp into the playoffs as one of the Eastern Conference's lower seeds. That's where their postseason ride would end abruptly, serving as a sacrificial lamb to a juggernaut such as the Miami Heat, who would be on their way to yet another deep postseason run.
The 2013-14 Wizards are a talented basketball team that possesses the fatal flaw of defensive incompetence. Sure, the spectacular backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal will light up the highlight reels on a consistent basis. On the interior, newly acquired big man Marcin Gortat and Nene give opponents constant nightmares with their penchant for scoring in the paint.
Where the Wizards will fall short is on the defensive end, an area that's exploited by opposing teams on a nightly basis. Even if the Wizards can turn around their season and make the playoffs, they're lack of defense will pave the way for a quick first-round postseason exit.
Instead of focusing upon the short-term goal of making the playoffs this year, the Wizards should tank in order to position themselves as a perennial postseason contender over the long haul. Reeling in a premium talent such as Wiggins, Parker or Randle would set the Wizards up for sustainable success in the future.
Wiggins, Parker or Randle would look great in a Wizards uniform
If the Wizards embark upon the mission of tanking and successfully land a top three selection in next year's draft, they can't go wrong regardless of the direction they go with their pick.
Andrew Wiggins' upside is tremendous and his length would provide the Wizards with a defensive stopper capable of playing a huge role in helping them become much better at preventing the opposition from scoring so easily. With John Wall running the break flanked by Bradley Beal and Wiggins on the wings, the Wizards would be deadly in the open court for years to come.
Jabari Parker's all-around play was highly evident in his sparkling performance against Wiggins and the Kansas Jayhawks. He'd provide the Wizards with a true go-to-guy with the size to score in the paint as well as the athleticism to beat defenders off the dribble on the perimeter.
Lastly, Julius Randle is a man-child in the post, and his sweet left-handed stroke would give the Wizards a threat to attain at least 20 points and 10 rebounds on a nightly basis.
So despite the allure of attempting to make the postseason for the first time in six years, the Wizards should postpone their playoffs aspirations in order to tank their way to a high selection in next year's draft.
By doing so, they'll position themselves for a ton of future success by landing an elite talent that's capable of taking the franchise to heights significantly higher than a first-round postseason appearance.
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Drexel Perry's a freelance writer who covers the Washington Redskins and the Washington Wizards for Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @DrexelPerry.
- Sports & Recreation
- Washington Wizards
- Andrew Wiggins
- Jabari Parker
- Julius Randle