The Draft That Got Away

Ricky Rubio and DeJuan Blair could have been steals for the Wizards

Flip Saunders was just as laughingly confident that Ricky Rubio would not slip to five as he was enthralled with the guy. His partner in crime, Ernie Grunfeld, having seen Rubio play twice in person, mostly likely felt the same way.

To be a proverbial fly on the wall of the Wizards' draft 'war room' Thursday night when Rubio was available at the fifth spot. Grunfeld's face probably looked like he just swallowed an entire egg filled with arsenic, knowing that at some point the shell would crack and it'd be worse than fecal matter hitting the fan.

Wizards fans are not happy. The befuddled distraught is compounded by the fact that Abe Pollin's team sold its second round draft pick when the best rebounder in college basketball, an area of desperate need, was available in the form of Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair.

And the much vaunted (by the national media) trade for Mike Miller and Randy Foye? That was dwarfed by the Eastern Conference movements of Shaquille O'Neal to the rival Cleveland Cavaliers and Vince Carter to divisional foe Orlando Magic.

Draft night 2009 seemed eerily similar to draft night 2008, but worse. Last year, many were incensed. They didn't know who the heck JaVale McGee was ... the Wizards hadn't even worked the guy out. But lo and behold, fans came to find out that McGee was one of the team's most valuable assets and the crow sure tasted good.

Patience must be a virtue. The summer isn't over, but at this time it's hard for Wizards fans not to judge the curious maneuverings of the franchise. Grunfeld is in a hole and it's going to be very tough for him to climb out.

With a fanbase already under a cloud of perpetual losing and a made-up curse, the only cure for the disappointment will come in the form of winning -- winning in very heavy doses.

Kyle Weidie is a D.C. resident who writes Truth About It and contributes to Bullets Forever, both Washington Wizards blogs. Follow the latest Washington Wizards news on Tumblr.

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