Washington Wizards Trying to Keep Up With Other Lower-Tier Teams

12:56 PM, Dec 14, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (The Wiz Kid/WUSA) -- While I've been openly desperate in my clamoring for the Wizards to obtain free agent center Nene (a top 25 NBA player in my book), it looks as if Washington will shift their focus on hitting a home run during the 2012 offseason. That seems like a very large risk to me, but so be it.

Clearly they aren't the splashes that this franchise needs so badly, but the additions of Roger Mason Jr. and Ronny Turiaf are quality stop-gap fillers during this Wizards rebuilding mode. These are the veteran players coach Flip Saunders needs in the locker room to exemplify maturity. Plus their contracts are done following the season.

And on the surface of things, it looks like the franchise may be willing to let Nick Young go as a restricted free agent -- a good riddance if you ask me. There have been no apparent signs of negotiations between Young and the Wizards as the shooting guard continues to hang out in L.A. while he awaits a new contract. Also the team has all but certainly lost veteran wing Josh Howard to either the Spurs or Jazz.

There are some other teams the Wizards will compete with along the bottom half of the eastern conference for the coveted eighth seed (sarcasm). These "laughing stocks" are trying to make themselves a better organization right now as opposed to 2012. Here's what they've done (including draft day trades) and how it impacts the Wiz.

Indiana Pacers

Added: David West, George Hill

Lost: Josh McRoberts (Lakers), Mike Dunleavy (Bucks), T.J. Ford (Spurs)

Projected lineup: Darren Collison-George Hill-Danny Granger-David West-Roy Hibbert.

Wizards impact: The Pacers have moved themselves from the eastern basement conversation to the middle-of-the-pack alongside Atlanta, Orlando and New York. So realistically, if the Wizards beat the Pacers it should be considered a solid win. Last year's team, who gave the Bulls a competitive series in the first round, is much improved. I was completely befuddled when the Spurs let George Hill go so easily. Hill isn't a superstar by any means, but he's a guy that makes everything run smoothly and can be the clutch guy that Danny Granger isn't.

Milwaukee Bucks

Added: Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Mike Dunleavy

Lost: Corey Maggette (Bobcats), John Salmons (Kings), Keyon Dooling (Celtics)

Projected lineup: Brandon Jennings-Stephen Jackson-Mike Dunleavy-Drew Gooden-Andrew Bogut

Wizards Impact: Is there any doubting the Bucks are better than the Wizards? The front office did exactly what they needed to do in easing pressure off of Brandon Jennings. Udrih can play alongside Jennings in certain lineups and now the offense will most likely revolve around Stephen Jackson's scoring capabilities. If Milwaukee continues to play superb defense this season a playoff berth is not out of the question.

Toronto Raptors

Added: Jamaal Magloire, Rasual Butler, Anthony Carter

Lost: Sonny Weems (Overseas)

Projected Lineup: Jose Calderon-DeMar DeRozan-Andres Bargnani-Ed Davis-Reggie Evans

Wizards Impact: Here's one of the very few franchises that are worse off than the Wizards. And by worse off I think there's a better chance of me going on air tomorrow at WUSA-9 than the Raptors making the playoffs. The team did add some pieces to a surprisingly solid bench of Jerryd Bayless, Amir Johnson, Leandro Barbosa and Linas Kleiza. I do think as long as the Raptors reside in Toronto, the team will continue to actually exist in today's NBA.

Are the Pacers, Bucks or Raptors going to win a playoff series? No. But each of the teams have addressed issues and improved their roster.

This "going all-in" for 2012 should have Wizards fans scared that they won't be able to sell a top free agent on coming to a team that finished 13th in the eastern conference. Remember that I warned you.

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