John Wall, Washington Wizards and the 2010 NBA Draft -- First Things First with Tracee Hamilton

Jun 25, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

What's the topic? Are you kidding? The NBA draft is the topic. Gilbert and John Wall sharing the ball is the topic. The lower picks are the topic. Let's talk Wiz, baby! (In my head, I'm starting to sound like Dickie V. Not good.)

I missed posting this yesterday to the comments on Dibble/MASN. Steinberg posted some nifty details on the exchange with Knight.

I didn't get this in time yesterday but thought I'd pass it on in case some of you missed it. What a strange argument. And then they both pull out their postseason creds? Really?

Good morning, all. I thought I'd tie up loose ends before we get to the draft.

Also, I have solved the Gil Thorp mystery, and I'm embarrassed to say I should have solved it a week ago. My old friend Neal Rubin is apparently writing Thorp these days, and I didn't know that. Neal and I worked together in Detroit for many years and had some adventures, including driving together to Cooperstown for my first visit there. Neal did a story on the back rooms of the museum and I tagged along. Amazing stuff. Anyway, that explains the shout-out, I think. I haven't contacted Neal yet to confirm but at least it makes sense now.

I missed your live chat Thursday, so commenting late. Why was the month (after all of the Q &As) in Russian? Solidarity with Ovechkin, or did someone hack the settings in your chat? Wish Ovie had won the Hart Trophy!

Russian text made it into the chat? I took Russian about 30 years ago but couldn't begin to read it, write it or speak it now, sadly. So I can't answer that one. Strange.

How many times have we heard last night "XXX will be a work in progress" including by the Wizards? I understand that college players may not be ready for the NBA their first year, and that you can't really know how a player will be when they've only played one year after being a high school phenom, but it would be a lot better to hear the word "potential" than the words "will be a work in progress". For that NBA teams pays tens of millions of dollars?

This is the result of drafting near-children and players from overseas, I think. Lots of risk now in the draft. Look no further than Kwame Brown. Even if you didn't think Kwame would be the next Jordan, how many people thought he would be a total bust? And how much time and treasure was invested in him to find that out? What a crapshoot. I'm glad I'm not the one writing the checks.

And with all these question marks, a guy like Scottie Reynolds goes undrafted.

So now that the Nationals have Jeezus Strasburg and the Wizards have John the Baptist nothing but bright skies and sunny days ahead, right? I don't see a Wall and Arenas backcourt being unworkable. Arenas had some of his best years as a SG with Larry Hughes running the point what is the big deal about this? Also not sure what the Wizards are going to do with Wall, Arenas, Kirk (your very own Kansas Alum), and Childress all on the roster...

The Wizards are very much still a work in progress, as are the Nats. They are saying Arenas and Wall can play together, but they have to say that as they try to move Arenas, which seems to be what they're doing. I wish them luck with that. But yes, they are a little overstocked at the moment. I'd be happy if I thought Kirk was destined to stay but not sure yet that that's what's going to happen.

Heard that several of the players drafted by the Wizards are raw, don't have good foot movement, struggled against, needs to develop? What does that say about the Wizards' drafting? And is this same thing heard in other cities about players their teams drafted? If these players have problems, why don't more teams choose players better developed who can contribute to a team? Or is potential so important that it's worth large contracts and early draft selection so the other team doesn't get them?

Same theme, different verse. It's not just the Wizards' picks. There is a lot of raw talent and there are a lot of GMs and coaches who believe they can turn that talent into something. Some of them may even be right. But they can't all be right.

So who is doing your surgery? I think you need to go to Birmingham and have Dr James Andrews do your shoulder. Why settle for second best because of the WPs health plan? No one in this area has the expertise.

Ha! No, I'm going with my regular guy, Dr. Marc Connell. He's aces. He did my plantar and I'm good to go. He's seen my with shoulder pain for a lot of years so when he said it's time to cut, I trust that. But Andrews was my second choice.

Reportedly John Wall will be insistent that he want's the number that Hayes wore but is now retired. I know that today's high school players - sorry, those players with an extensive playing experience during their one year in college - don't remember anything beyond today's Twitter or yesterday's blog, but give me a break; has his  one year of being "one of the greatest college players of our generation" been enough to unretire a number and give it away to someone who hasn't done ANYTHING yet?

The Wizards won't do that, and truthfully I don't believe he'd ask. He was asked last night about choosing a new number and he said he knew he had to but hadn't done it yet. He may be young but he hasn't struck me yet as stupid.

I can't understand the NBA draft when you hear, "He needs to work on his maturity...the only weakness in his game is his shooting...if he's in shape", "he needs to work in the Development League...he's several years away from being an solid player", "He needs to gain weight and fill out", or, after Orlando chose Orton, "He played only one game his senior year in high school, the last game of the season, but he scored 3.4 points a game in his year at Kentucky." And this is the future of the NBA? What the NBA thinks will make people want to watch the games? More and more it makes the NBA of years past, when college players worked on their game for several seasons and players developed a following (rather than a couple of great games that are being Twittered among people), look like a more professional league than it is now.

Another verse of the same song. Apparently the commentators struck a nerve last night with all their talk.

Interesting article by L. Shapiro this morning about the World Cup broadcasts. I will say that he probably gives a little too much credit to ESPN for their coverage. I've been traveling around Europe and Africa for work for the past week+ and have been watching the games on the local channels. Everything is the same as the ESPN coverage; the same graphics, same camera angles and the same African chants when they come back from commercial. I assume that FIFA is producing the coverage and then distributing it to all their network partners? I'll be in Accra tomorrow for the game so my US allegiance will be low-key but hopefully we can pull out a win! It's going to be a very tough game against that squad.

Yes, I'm sure everyone is sharing feeds. ESPN does its own off-field reporting and studio show. So I'm sure you're right.

I will be watching tomorrow as well, from my basement sports lair. Looking forward to it.

Okay, we have to withhold judgment until we know what the Wizards gave up to Chicago. (Please please please let it be Gilbert.) But last night looks awfully good right now: John Wall, some big men, a useful Hinrich, and three million dollars.

I don't think it can be Gilbert unless the Wiz agreed to pay part of his freight. If the Bulls are trying to clear cap space to make a LeBron run, they wouldn't want Gilbert's remaining salary, right?

But your point remains: the Wiz apparently to have a good night.

I live in Philadelphia, and as I was riding the subway (yeah, that's what we call it here) to work this morning, I noticed a man wearing a LaVar Arrington jersey. A NY Giants Arrington jersey. In Philadelphia. As a Skins fan, I threw up a little in my mouth. Of course, the next best thing I saw this morning after I got off the subway was an older gentleman wearing a full business suit (probably in his late 40's) cruising by me on a skateboard. That kind of made up for the mouth vomit.

Those are really good, weird subway (ahem) observations. Love the guy in the suit and skateboard. The jersey ... that's just weird.

By giving the Bulls cap room with the trade for the 17th pick, haven't the Wizards given the Bulls the chance to sign LeBron, and possibly a Bosh or Wade, thus cementing their lock at the top of the Eastern Conference for years to come?

Yes, that is possible. Not sure what the Bulls are getting, but certainly the Bulls' impetus was the desire to clear cap space to get James.

I'm not convinced, yet, that having James gives you a lock on the Eastern Conference title. But James and either of those other guys, and you'd have to wonder.

So what is all this about the coach seeking permission from players before moving them to a new position? I keep hearing "football analysts" say that the Redskins should have asked Fat Albert's permission to move to the 3-4 instead of the coach (who is the boss) making a unilateral decision. This sounds like selfish former players making excuses for selfish current players.

I was going to ignore this topic today, but this headline is such a keeper, so I can't.

You can't ask a player's permission to run a certain scheme. That's crazy talk. You can talk to the player about why you are making the change and try to get him to buy into it, but permission? No.

I heard the Skins' new OL on with Lavar yesterday, and he said he'd play whatever position they wanted him to play. Period. That's what you want to hear.

Andy Rautins? I mean...seriously? The Wizards at least did better than New York last night. The only explanation I can think of is Rautins played with Cuse at MSG a couple of times so people will like him, but he's not a pro-caliber player at all. Would much rather have the undrafted Sherron Collins.

Well, I'm completely biased, but Collins gives you a lot more than Rautins. Collins finished the season badly but can really play. His weight issues may have scared some teams off. When he doesn't work out constantly, he balloons.

This has got to be the shallowest draft in at least 10 years right? I mean, who outside the top 7-10 picks really has a shot of ever being a starter? I don't think a single player.

Seemed shallow, yes, which would explain all these "this guy could be good with a ton of work" comments, I suppose. I agree with you about starters -- maybe the first 10 of the first round.

Last night at the Mystics game, they showed a video of numerous Washingtonians, including Ovie, Strasburg, and Zimmerman, sayting Welcome to Washington. On the way out, we were given "Wall Game Change" tees. They sure know how to market.

I'm guessing that's Leonsis, starting to trickle down.

Top of the morning to you, T-Ham. Your account of Wilbon going "all street" on some hapless Brit in Athens was hilarious. What did the Brit do to draw the "Wrath O' Wilbon"? And after Wilbon upbraided him, did the Brit look shaken and scared? And, finally, am I wrong to assume that D-Stein would have been frightened by the Brit, and would NOT have confronted him? Thanks, and have a great weekend!

I am not saying Cheese Boy is a coward, not at all. I'm just saying Wilbon has a little south side in him, still. He never got to go at the Brit himself; the confrontation happened at our hotel, when the Brit knocked on Carlson's door and threatened him. Carlson came into our office to report it and that's when Wilbon went street on us. If Carlson had let him, he would have gone after the Brit. Ask anyone who was there; it was awesome.

Now, I'll tell you something else on this very important topic, which I thought off too late to mention the other day:  J-Reid would probably be my top choice.  I've seen J-Reid in action and he's solid.

I saw someone use that phrase to refer to the Wizards' first pick. I thought it was cute. Am I wrong?

No, I like that, although I think we ought to go slowly with the nicknames. Like everyone did with Strasburg. :)

Since PT involves torture and pain be sure to get the hottest physical therapist they have for a distraction. When they are trying to get your range of motion back and strength having something nice to look at helps deal with pain.

That's some good advice right there. That's using your noodle.

Tracee: ancient Husker grad (again) to note when KU and NU play football this fall it will be the 105th straight, and probably the last for some time. This re-shuffling is ridiculous. I certainly don't mind NU going to the Big 10, but there is something to be said for tradition. NU/KU/Mizzou/KSU/I-State have been "together" since the 1920s (Oklahoma too, until the %$#%@& Big 12 started). I just can't get excited about playing Iowa every year (no offense to Hawkeyes everywhere). I can see it now - the yearly "Corn Bowl."

Hello, ancient Husker grad. I think there WAS something to be said for tradition. I think that's gone. I am afraid that if we old-timers don't start looking at college football strictly as a business we're doomed for disappointment.

I know that I will struggle to get as enthused about college football this fall -- not KU, because I'll always be enthused about KU, but the general games of the week. I have accepted that things must change. They can just change without me.

Ms hamilton, Your are forgetting the curse of Les Boulez. It will all turn into a disaster by the Sept 1. You can bet Mr Tony's hair on it.

That's not much of a bet!

Are we 100% sure it wasn't LaVar?

Ha! Yes, only because I heard LaVar on the radio that day.

Everyone is praising him for helping Rose develop. Clearly none of these people have actually watched a Bull game. Rose was good to begin with and needed no (and got no) help from Hinrich. Not to mention Hinrich being a poor offensive player anyways. It's an okay move for the Wizards, not as bad as some critics make out, but this is hardly a move for a grizzled veteran.

It's an okay move for the Wizards, depending on what happens next. If this is a sign and trade scenario, then it might be a brilliant move. If they can't move any of the guards, it might be a bad move. I'm withholding judgment beyond the faint hope there would be a Jayhawk in town to cheer for, which would be fun for yours truly.

Tracee, I see you playing a major role someday on sports radio. Any interest? And, if I could swing it, I'll pair you up with Steve "I'll have a beer with anyone" Buckhantz

I do one day a week, usually, with Mr. Tony and so I've seen just how much work it is. I sure couldn't do that and my regular job because I'd be bad at both. I know some people can do all these different things well but it's pretty rare. But I appreciate the vote of confidence!



I am a soccer fan and i have really thick skin about my sport. I do not have an inferiority complex and do not feel the need to make everyone like the game i like. hi, i am a soccer fan. pass the orange slices...

I was hoping you really were a well-adjusted fan until I got to the orange slices, which is either really funny or a desperate cry for help. I'm hoping for really funny...

Well, that's it for today. Time to get ready to meet Mr. Wall, and by meet I mean sit in a packed room as one of dozens of dopes trying to get to know Mr. Wall by watching him sit in a chair. What a job! Let's talk Monday!



Thought Van Gundy looked petty last night cracking wise at Sherron Collins' expense? Yes?

YES. Also took a shot at KU not having a draft pick last year. We didn't lose anyone of note last year. Dude, that's a GOOD thing. I'm not a fan of JVG.

Now I'm really quitting. Just had to get that out of my system.

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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