Randy Foye and Mike Miller, newly acquired players from the Minnesota Timberwolves, were introduced to the media during an NBA Draft reception at the Verizon Center in Washinton, DC on Thursday, June 25, 2009. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
WASHINGTON, DC – After dealing the team’s first round selection to the Minnesota Timberwolves Washington Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld hinted Thursday he may deal the team’s second round pick as well, exiting the draft completely.
Grunfeld held true to his word, almost. With the 32nd pick in the draft, Washington stood pat and selected University of Central Florida swingman Jermaine Taylor, Conference USA’s player of the year last season.
Minutes later the Wizards dealt the draft rights to Jermaine Taylor to the Houston Rockets for and undisclosed amount of cash.
Taylor (6’5”, 207 pounds), may prove to be a capable scorer at the NBA level. As a senior, Taylor averaged 26 points per game on 48 percent shooting, connecting on 37 percent of his three point attempts. But following the deal that brought Randy Foye and Mike Miller to Washington in exchange for the Wizard’s first round selection, Washington is stuck with a glut of guards and Taylor likely would not have made the final roster.
Curious is the fact that Grunfeld chose to pass on a couple of players who could possibly have helped Washington even as second round picks.
Pitt forward DeJuan Blair, a tough if undersized post player, went to San Antonio just a few picks later. Blair was considered by draft pundits as the best rebounding prospect in the draft and his dominance over this year’s number two selection, Hasheem Thabeet, during the NCAA tournament was expected to remove doubts about his lack of height. The 6’6” Blair outplayed the 7’3” Thabeet on both ends of the court when their teams met in the tourney, living up to his reputation as a fearless bruiser.
Blair presumably slipped in the draft due to concerns about potential problems with his knees after having surgery on both ACLs as a prep player.
Georgetown product DeJuan Summers would have been a popular pick with Washington fans had Grunfeld pulled the trigger at 32, instead the uber-athletic forward will aim to make his impact in Detroit, who selected him 35th overall.
Washington will still have to find a way to add size to their roster after Wednesday’s trade left them with only four post players, Antawn Jamison, Brenden Haywood, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, on their guard heavy roster.