The start of the 2015-16 season remains several weeks away, which means there is time for reflection on what the Washington Wizards accomplished and a chance to look at the NBA road ahead. For the next couple of weeks, CSNwashington.com Insider J. Michael and Wizards correspondent Ben Standig will examine various issues and answer questions as the Wizards move toward a possible third straight playoff appearance.
Seeing as we recently talked about a former Georgetown star, we must provide equal time for an ex-Maryland standout. ... The Bucks gave up a first round pick for Greivis Vasquez. Good move or overpay?
J. Michael: Both. Vasquez didn’t have a great season in Toronto, because the Raptors had too much redundancy with Lou Williams coming off the bench with him. Williams, who won 6th Man of the Year in his only season there but only helped them win one more game (49), eroded Vasquez’s output.
I thought Vasquez’s value on the market would take a hit because of that, and my initial thought was that giving up a first-round pick probably was more than was necessary. However, look at the Bucks’ roster now with Greg Monroe. This is a possible top-four seed that can advance out of the first round of the playoffs and maybe deeper because the East is wide open.
If so, that first-round pick might come later which makes shipping that pick more digestible. No doubt, the Raptors got great value for Vasquez. The Bucks enhanced their bench and have a guard who can start if needed and get buckets. This is a rare case where everyone wins.
Ben Standig: There is no fun in agreeing with J. Michael, but that's the case in this instance. Well, almost.
Vasquez's energy and sky high confidence will help a team loaded with kids including Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo navigate the grind of an 82-game regular season. He provides coach Jason Kidd with a viable point guard and 3-point shooting threat on those nights Michael Carter-WIlliams proves ineffective. His backcourt size means Milwaukee can play big all over the court. Combined with Greg Monroe, another newly added veteran, Vasquez shows the Bucks are serious about contending this upcoming season. With the uncertainty in the East behind the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, this isn't a bad year to be bold.
The thing is, this might be Vasquez's only season in Milwaukee. He's entering the final year of a contract that pays him $6.6 million for the 2015-16 campaign. Maybe his presence helps push Milwaukee into the East's top-4. Maybe not. In some order (to be determined) I've got the Cavaliers, Bulls, Wizards, Hawks, Heat and Raptors ahead of the Bucks with the Hornets, Celtics and Pacers improving since last year. Even if Milwaukee makes some level of leap, how deep do they need to go in the postseason to justify giving up a 2017 protected first round pick (and a second rounder in 2015) for one season of Vasquez?
There is legitimate justification available for the trade. Folks might feel differently next April if the Bucks are bounced in the first round -- or don't make the playoffs at all.