Last month, Tomas Satoransky worked out for the Washington Wizards. The team's coaching staff was waiting to be impressed. They're still waiting.
The 6-foot-7 Czech point guard was regarded as the second-best international player in the June 28 NBA draft. Truth is, this year's draft class didn't have many good international prospects. There were plenty of NBA-ready college players. So many in fact, that there was first round talent available when the Wizards went on the clock with the second pick of the second round.
Rather than draft an NBA-ready college player, the Wizards chose Satoransky whose team President Ernie Grunfeld has been identified as a Euro stash asset who could be left overseas.
I didn't know the Wizards were so talented. How about the notion of selecting a player who could have been immediately challenged to make the team? Team owner Ted Leonsis has said a fifth consecutive season in the lottery would be "unacceptable."
"A different second round pick might have been able to make the team," Grunfeld said. But we're going to wait to see if we can add some veteran players to the team, to see who else is out there as far as a free agent is concerned. But this is a very good prospect we're talking about, a prospect for down the road."
Historically, Grunfeld hasn't done a good job with his second-round picks or in choosing European players in either round. Oleksiy Pecherov was a bust. Vladimir Veremeenko was merely thrown in as a part of the deal that landed Kirk Hinrich in D.C. in 2010. Jan Vesely has been nothing to write home about, but we'll wait to see if he improves with a full off-season and a fellow Czech as a teammate.
In 2009, the Wizards wasted an opportunity to get DeJuan Blair, who has had three good seasons as a San Antonio Spur. This year, Doron Lamb or Tyshawn Taylor could have challenged Shelvin Mack; Draymond Green or Darius Miller could have challenged Chris Singleton. Obviously, the Wizards don't have a lot of available minutes, but even if those players didn't make the team, at a minimum, the Wizards would have clarity.
A month ago, we didn't know much about Satoransky. Today, we still don't. And Grunfeld's history doesn't warrant us feeling confident that Satoransky will ever make a significant contribution to the team.