Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld held his customary pre-draft press conference at the Verizon Center today. You could tell he was excited about Thursday, and finally making a selection with the first overall pick, instead of just finding ways to avoid talking about it.
Its been a month since they won the lottery, and during that time the team was not allowed to talk about who they were planning on selecting with the first pick, even though everyone expects the team to take Kentucky PG John Wall. While Grunfeld again couldn't say who they were taking for sure, his analysis of Wall all but confirms that he will be the pick.
- Re-iterated that he couldn't talk about who the pick was, but said this about him, "an outstanding young man, comes from a great program, and outstanding leader. Really understands the game. One of the rare players that makes those around him better."
Certainly sounds like John Wall to me. Don't expect any surprises at the top of the draft tomorrow night. Here is some more insight from the press conference:
- "This is an exciting time for us. The draft is coming up. Its the beginning of a new era with new ownership. We made a lot of changes since last off season, and we're re-building. What better way to start the the process, start a new era than with the number one pick."
- Grunfeld thinks the workouts are a bit overrated. Just a small part of the whole evaluation process. They really focus on the regular season and how the guys play. The workouts are just an opportunity to meet the players and see how they react to different situations.
- On a trade: "Its is on our radar. We've had a lot of conversations. We're not sure anything is going to come through for us. But we've had a lot of conversations, trying to move up and get another pick. We've been working the phones, well see what will develop."
- What he wants in a player: "We're looking for are players that are committed to winning, to playing the game the right way, and have a good attitude, and want to be here for the long haul. We're looking for guys to build with."
- On the two picks after first overall: "At 30 and 35 there are so many more players who will be available to you. A player can go anywhere from 15 to 35 in this draft once you get past the lottery. It just depends on which team likes which player. So we've done out homework."
- "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if you're moving up. The pool is larger when you get higher"
- Grunfeld believes that the depth of this draft is at PF, especially at the top. The more you go down, the more it thins out. But again, he re-iterated that they needed help everywhere and would take the best player available.
- Claims the re-build, and the draft process really started at the trade deadline last year. The team got stale and needed to be refreshed. Wanted to put them in a good salary cap position, and lucked out with the top pick..
- There are only six guys under contract for next season, and Grunfeld said they would like to upgrade at every position if possible. He said its about trying to find the best players, as well as the players who fit the best.
- Also made it clear he couldn't talk about free agency, but expects it all to start when Lebron makes his decision.
- Everybody still excited for Thursday? It should get interesting.