The Washington Wizards selection and my “Pants down in the office” theory

Lets say you go in to your boss’ office and he tells you, “The Board has you under consideration for a substantial raise”.

Your natural follow-up question would be “Really… what can I do to make that happen?”

Now generally you would be willing to do most anything to increase the odds of a substantial raise.  But there are limits.  For instance, if your boss answers you by saying, “You could increase your chances by running the length of the office with your pants down”, how willing would you be to abide?

Or, more to the point of my theory, how much would the increase in probability have to be in order to entice you to expose yourself to such public humiliation?  I’d say the increase would have to be such that the raise would be a near certainty.  Then, when you get hazed for doing it, you can at least reply “Yo, paycheck!”

What I’m getting at is this.  The Washington Wizards have the first choice in this month’s NBA draft.  They will draft PG John Wall.  Conventional wisdom is largely and loudly in favor of this move.  I think it will be a failure, or at least I don’t think Wall will convey anywhere near the win benefits to the Wizards that other better choices would convey.

So if Ted Leonisis called me right now, and lets say I didn’t screen the call on the grounds of number non-recognition, then if he asked me whom I thought he should select I would answer “Oh, DeMarcus Cousins” without hesitation.  Its easy though for me to make such an unconventional suggestion because I know I will not have to reap either the benefits if it succeeds, or more importantly, the flogging if it doesn’t.

But lets say I am the Wizards General Manager.  How willing would I be then to make the choice.  Lets weigh the outcomes.

If I choose John Wall, there is a large chance, based upon his college numbers, that he will be an average win producer in the NBA.   There’s also a chance he could be either a great or poor win producer.  But that’s all down the road.  For now, I will be applauded and backslapped for “Making a GREAT choice”.

Now lets say I select DeMarcus Cousins.  There is a pretty good chance he will be an excellent or at least above average win producer, though not a conventional “big time” scorer.  Thus there’s a big chance that win impact will go unnoticed by even the staunchest Wizards fan (See for example Love, Kevin).  But again, that’s down the road.

What choosing Cousins GUARANTEES me of is public humiliation. It guarantees I will be lauded as “an idiot” who “doesn’t know basketball.”  It guarantees polls will be run on every two bit website that will ask “Should Ty be immediately fired?”  yes or no?

Do you see my point?  About the only way I would be willing to endure the humiliation that is CERTAIN to come is if you categorically guarantee me that either (1) John Wall will be a flop on the level of Adam Morrison; or, (2) the Wizards will make the playoffs next season and will win a championship in the next three seasons.

In order to make an unconventional decision in sports, or anywhere else, either you have to be in a position to have nothing to lose, or you have to almost be guaranteed the move will succeed.

That’s my “Pants down in the office” theory.  Its all well and good for me to say what the “smarter” move was, its something else for someone in the industry to execute that move knowing his or her sanity and competence at their craft will be certainly questioned.

Footnote:  I came up with this theory after Bill Belichick’s decision to “Go for it” on 4th down against the Indy Colts.  Brian Burke of AdvancedNFLstats argued the next morning that it was the correct move, or at least it wasn’t a wrong move, because it either slightly increased the Patriots chances of winning, or it did not harm those chances.  I’m thinking to myself, “There’s no way in hell I risk going through what Belichick is going through for a ‘slightly better’ chance of winning”.

3 Responses to “The Washington Wizards selection and my “Pants down in the office” theory”

  1. Blake Says:

    What I am confused on with this whole ‘John Wall projects to be an average win producer’ thing is that when I look at his RAW stats (ppg, rpg, apg, spg) they all look great, his turnover numbers might be scary but so was Derrick Rose’s who has been solid and will probably develop into a top PG in his 3rd year the way Deron Williams did.

    But my question is, what the hell makes John Wall so bad!? Is it his defense? Number of turnovers along with his shot attempts? I mean, his efficiency isn’t really that bad at all, so I’m confused what exactly makes him project to just be average or above average?


  2. palamida Says:

    Blake, Nothing makes him “bad”. Considering his past production coupled with his size and age he will probably be a good win producer, say… a career 0.150 PG with a couple of seasons of 0.200 in his prime. That’s good!

    The only problem is, he’s heralded as a future hall of famer. He’s said to be the best PG in the league in a couple of years and for years to come – there’s simply no evidence to support that in fact, there’s evidence to the contrary.
    The problem is that with Cousins (and not just Cousins, btw) still on the board it’d be foolish to select Wall.
    Cousins is projected to be great. Wall pales in comparison.

    to sum it up – it’s not that Wall is “bad”. It’s that all the “experts” claim he’ll become the best PG in the league in a few years where in truth – it’ll be surprising if he even cracks top 5, and that’s in his prime. That’s a very good prospect – just not a great one. Selecting a player who will be in the top 5-10 at his position is certainly not “bad” but considering the alternatives…. you get the point.
    Ty, I’ve said all I had to say on the Wall pick both here and mostly over at the WoW forum so I won’t go into that again I just wanna say one thing:

    You argue that Cousins won’t be a “conventional big time scorer”.
    Not that it matters, (it’s not like one has to be a scorer to be great :p) but Cousins was actually a scoring machine. He WILL be a big time scorer.
    With that said. and considering the immediate impact Cousins should have, I don’t think anyone would be fired over such a pick :p

  3. tywill33 Says:


    What Palamida said 🙂


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