Jackson: Washington must leave Howard alone

Jackson: Washington must leave Howard alone
December 9, 2011, 9:58 pm
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Earlier today, my respected colleague, Chase Hughes, wrote an article on why the Washington Wizards need to at least attempt a trade for Dwight Howard. Well Mr. Hughes to that I say, "Stick to baseball and hockey." Just kidding. But in all seriousness he couldnt be more off base.

While he did make a great point in saying that the Wizards need to find John Wall a fellow star running mate the answer isnt by mortgaging their future for one player. Washington has the complementary pieces in place to become a consistent threat in the Eastern Conference.

If the Wizards bring back Nick Young (they have presented him a qualifying offer and are waiting to see if another team matches that) theyll have a long and athletic guard to pair with Wall in the backcourt. Young is capable of scoring 18 to 20 points per game and hes steadily improving defensively. Last season Jordan Crawford proved that he could be instant offense whether in a starting role or coming off the bench. Andray Blatche, for as much criticism as is sent his way, is a solid NBA starter. Last season, he averaged career highs of 17 points and eight rebounds. Those are solid numbers for a former second-round draft pick. If JaVale McGee could accept a role of just running the floor and being an anchor on defense (a la Tyson Chandler), the Wizards would have a solid nucleus around Wall.

In this summers draft, President Ernie Grunfeld picked up three more pieces to surround Wall. We dont know what Jan Vesely will bring, but at the least we know he can run the floor and finish at the basket. At 6 feet 9, Chris Singleton has not only the size and athleticism to defend, but he also has the mindset of a defensive stopper. On a team full of shoot-first scorers, he provides a nice change of pace. In the second round the Wizards selected Shelvin Mack, who reminds me a lot of Oklahoma Citys Eric Maynor. Mack could easily step in and be Walls back-up for the next few seasons.

Counting the re-signing of Young, that gives the Wizards seven solid rotation players to surround Wall with. Now, I understand none of those guys is a superstar, but that leads to my next point. Next seasons draft is loaded with potential superstars. In all likelihood the Wizards will have another top 10 pick in next summer's NBA draft. That is where Grunfeld could find a superstar to pair with Wall. Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Andre Drummond and anyone who plays for Kentucky will all be there for the taking.

Want to know the reason OKC and San Antonio compete every season as small-market teams? They dont miss on draft picks. They also dont attempt instant fixes by bringing in big names via free agency or trades. Right now the Wizards are on the right track and need to stay the course. That means leaving the Dwight Howards of the world alone.

For the other side of this argument, read Chase Hughes' take on why Washington must go after Dwight Howard.