Wednesday , Jun , 22 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Washington Wizards 2005 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – The future of basketball is bright in Washington. The
Wizards won 45 games in the 2004-05 campaign, and returned to the playoffs for
the first time since 1997. They defeated Chicago in six games in the first
round, but were swept by Miami in the conference semis.

Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison both made the Eastern Conference All-Star
team, marking the first time since 1987 that a pair of Washington players were
named to the roster. Arenas finished the season averaging a team-highs in
scoring (25.5 ppg) and assists (5.1 apg), while Jamison averaged 19.6 points
and a club-best 7.6 rebounds. The duo makes up one top one-two scoring punches
in the NBA.

Larry Hughes, who can become an unrestricted free agent, had a great season
for Washington. He averaged 22 points, 6.3 boards and 4.7 assists in 61 games.
The Wizards will do their best to re-sign him in the offseason.

The Wizards need to get stronger and tougher down low. Forward Kwame Brown,
who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, has not worked out and
is scheduled to become a restricted free agent. Brown averaged just 7.0 points
and 4.9 assists during the regular season, and stopped playing for the team
during the first round of the playoffs. Washington will most likely allow
Brown to play elsewhere next season.

Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas patrol the middle for the Wizards. They are
simply players who know their role and try and do it the best of their
abilities. Haywood and Thomas are big bodies who can rebound and occasionally
score when they are close to the hoop.

Washington does not have a first round pick and will have to find a diamond in
the rough with the 49th overall selection.

Key Player(s): Gilbert Arenas (Guard), Juan Dixon (Guard), Brendan Haywood
(Center), Larry Hughes (Guard), Antawn Jamison (Forward), Jared Jeffries

Team Needs: Inside toughness, rebounding and a low-post scorer.

Draft picks: 2nd round (49th overall).