As you know the trade sending Juan Carlos Navarro to the Grizzlies is final. In return the Wizards get a protected first round pick or worst case scenario a second round pick and cash considerations by 2013, only if they haven’t received a 1st round pick by then. When you look at this trade in a vacuum, it is easy to be a little disappointed. JCN is widely regarded as one of the premiere Euro league players at a time when a number of European players are All-Stars or playing near that level. The assumption that most make is that if he is the best Euro league player, then surely he will be a very talented player in the NBA. And if you subscribe to that line of reasoning, it is easy to understand why you would be disappointed with this trade. You would undoubtedly believe that Ernie Grunfeld gave JCN up for virtually nothing in return.
I don’t believe that is the case. First, we have to consider that every player entering the NBA is unique, a player’s success is based on many factors, not the least of which is the players surrounding him, the coaching style (and whether the player truly matches what the coach likes to do), distractions off the court (positive and negative), work ethic, talent (does your game translate well to the NBA), etc, etc, etc. With that said very few players are guaranteed to be successful in the NBA. So for a moment let’s consider that he is just as, if not more, talented than Tony Parker, there is still a number of other factors that can determine his ultimate success or failure in the league.
When you look at JCN’s stats in the Euro league, you realize that they look surprisingly similar to Dan Dickau’s stats at Gonzaga. It is true that this is not an apple to apple comparison because JCN was playing in a professional league, while Dan Dickau was playing “amateur” college athletics. It could be argued that the talent level in Men’s D1 basketball is pretty close to the talent level in the EL. The point is that prior to entering the NBA, both players had very similar stat lines and both were great shooters in their respective “leagues.” But, as we have seen with Dickau’s NBA career thus far, that does not mean it will instantly translate into a successful NBA career. All rookies, including international players, have an adjustment that they need to make to the NBA game which easily take 2 – 3 years. But, again there is no guarantee of success.
Given that JCN could be Dan Dickau 2.0, I am comfortable with the trade to Memphis. I like the fact that the Wiz are most likely getting a 1st round pick for a 2nd round selection. As Ivan Carter of the Post pointed out, that gives them an asset that they could package together in another transaction that could help address some more pressing needs. (For example, could Indiana be enticed to trade Jermaine O’Neal for a combination of players and two 1st round picks?) I like the fact that they did not potentially make an Eastern Conference team better by trading him to the West. I would be even happier if the 1st round pick that the Wiz received was not protected, or at least only lottery protected.
Now, if I had a crystal ball and could see that JCN would be a future All-Star-type player would I still like this trade? Given the current make up of the team, I still believe that trading JCN’s rights is the right move. Ultimately this trade can only be judged once all the facts are in, and the facts most likely won’t be in for a few more years. There are still too many questions that will need to be answered before a final evaluation can be made. How well does JCN adjust to the NBA? Does he become anything more than a shooter off the bench? Do the Wiz get a 1st round pick or a 2nd with cash considerations? Do they draft a player with that pick? If so, how does that player help the team? Does this pick help them pull off a trade in the near-term that benefits the team? Or do they trade the pick at some point in the future? Unfortunately, only with time can we answer these, and other, questions.
With the Andray Blatche contract now signed – terms undisclosed – and the roster nearly set, what if anything happens with some of the names on the team that have been linked to possible trades? At various points this summer we have heard about possible trades involving Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas and Antonio Daniels. More so than Daniels, I would like to see the Wiz move both Etan and Brendan. While I like the effort and the energy that Etan brings, I would like to see the Wiz get out from under his contract and possibly bring in a less expensive veteran who could provide you with his same stats and energy. Brendan on the other hand, I would like to see moved because of his much to inconsistent play and the fact that he tends to sulk when not in the game. Plus, the way he finished last season, I would not bring him back to play for my team – if I were calling the shots. His behavior burned that bridge and then buried the ashes.