I am not surprised that these stories about the draft and young players have started to appear in print. They are well researched and well written. But there are two perspectives to share.
Young players develop at their own pace and in context to how the team is developing and playing. When you are a sitting with one win this season, it is very easy, and frankly casual, to critique very young players. We now have six players we have drafted in the lineup, and one player that we traded for who was a first round pick in the lineup, as well in Jordan Crawford. So, that’s seven players out of 15 that have come into our rotation from the draft in the last three off seasons.
Frankly, more than half our team is now made up of seasoned and complementary playing vets. We have seven new vets in our lineup this season as well. And Cartier Martin, who has played with our team before. People advocate for change, and sometimes having so much change at a time when you also have core players out with injuries makes for a very tough start to a season. I am supportive of our young players, and will continue to advocate that we build around a core of players that we have drafted and developed. We have made trades to add the vets. We have done some free agent signings. What we haven’t done is wade into free agency to add a big star to our team.
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We have many players on our team that we drafted. As noted, John Wall, our point guard is our most tenured player. This would be only his third season. He hasn’t’ played a minute yet this season. The other two players in that draft – three seasons ago – Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker –have also contributed. But Booker has been injured a lot of late. Take a look at this link and at the last six years of the fate of the first round picks in the draft as to injuries. It happens.
So two of the three players in our first draft of ownership are not in the lineup this season due to injuries.
We basically did start over, building a roster from scratch and a team that evolved around athleticism, running, and two players – Nene and Wall – who have special skills and can make players around them fit in and play better team ball. Nene has been limited to his minutes this season and has played only fou games with limited minutes.
Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza are best situated in a running, fast-paced offense. We have now had to slow down play without John Wall in the lineup, and we are asking players to play half court sets. This is a miss -match for their specific skill sets. Jan Vesely is in his second year of development. You always support a young, talented player, who is 7 feet tall, can run and is fundamentally sound. Jan has our support, and is working hard to develop his all-around game. But this is his second year in the NBA, and he is playing without a starting point guard who can push the pace of play. We shouldn’t be so fast to write him off as a player. This is easy to do in media but not something that is smart to do for our franchise.
I support Jan Vesely.
Our draft has yielded many players that have been developing well. Kevin Seraphin is playing many minutes and contributing. And as he develops his game, will be looked at as a player that was a steal in that draft. Chris Singleton, in only his second year, is in our rotation too and playing well and contributing.
Bradley Beal is only 19 years old, is a rookie, and is learning what NBA basketball is all about. But he certainly has shown signs that he will be a key rotation player and a starting player as time goes on in the NBA. He will look better with John Wall in the back court too.
So, we will continue to develop our young players. We will bring back our injured players slowly and appropriately. Their long-term health and wellbeing is very important to them, to our fans and to us. We will work free agency to add to the team. We will try to make astute trades to improve, but we also must develop cohesion, chemistry and structure around a system with so many new and young players in the rotation.
The season to date has been a very tough experience for us all. I have been through tough times before, but this has been a very sobering and humbling experience. I am committed to getting it right and to building a franchise that is respectable, competitive and that wins for our fans.
I also wanted to come to the public support of our young players. I think that is important for them to know that we believe in them.