This is part three of a twelve-part installment of a Beard and Stache special where we'll be breaking down the top things that each lottery team needs to accomplish this offseason in order to improve heading into the 2012-13 campaign.
We'll update the series daily with a new team in advance of our soon-to-be released Beard and Stache NBA Mock Draft.
We covered the Charlotte Bobcats in yesterday's edition, which can be found here.
Now we move on to the second most popular professional sports team in our nation's capital -- the Washington Wizards.
1. Draft Harrison Barnes
Well, the dream of turning Washington into Kentucky Wildcats Central will have to wait another year after the Wiz' lost out on Anthony Davis to the Hornets, and then will likely lose out on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the Bobcats.
That being said, there are still plenty of serviceable players to be had at the No. 3 slot, and I'm strongly in favor of Washington adding a Tar Heel to its ranks -- Harrison Barnes.
Is he freakishly athletic? No. Is he a dead-eye shooter and extremely versatile scorer? You better believe it. He would be a perfect kick-out target on all of those John Wall dribble penetrations and has the length to potentially develop into a solid defender. Barnes would be a great get for Washington.
Why? Let me answer that question with another question. Can you tell me who the Wizards' starting small forward was last season?
I didn't think so.
2. Don't Let John Wall Come Into the Season Without a Reliable Mid-Range Jump Shot, Please!
Wall finished the season averaging around 16 points and eight assists per game. They're solid numbers and it's nice to see him steadily improving, but if he doesn't improve his mid-range jumper, (preferably to at least the level of Tony Parker or Russell Westbrook) Wall is going to start receiving the Rondo treatment from opposing defenses.
Keep 'em honest, John. Spend the summer working on your shot and you and your team will be all the better for it.
After all, I severely doubt you can continue to succeed throughout the remainder of your career shooting 42 percent from the field and barely seven percent from beyond the arc. Ouch.
3. Find Ways to Cut Ties With Rashard Lewis and Andre Blatche
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past two years, you know that Lewis has become a shell of his former self since coming to Washington via Orlando in the Gilbert Arenas trade. Despite that, he's still on his original contract extension he received from the Magic.
The guy is making Kobe Bryant money ($20+ mil per year) for doing virtually nothing in a Wizards uniform. Talk about a nice gig. Most agents get paid on commission. Rashard should get his agent a house.
Thankfully for Washington, Lewis is off the books next summer and to be honest, that's the best they can hope for since absolutely no one in their right mind would take him at this juncture with that outrageous price tag.
As for Blatche, he missed a good portion of last season due to injury, and a change of scenery could do him well. Not to mention the Wizards seem to be moving forward at the position with the emergence of Kevin Seraphin and a hopefully healthy Trevor Booker. But again, like Lewis, not sure what teams would be interested in Blatche's services.
4. Find Out What You Have in Jan Vesely
There was a lot of hype surrounding the 6'11" athletic Euro forward around draft time last year (no doubt due in large part to that young blonde sitting at his table).
But jokes aside, Vesely essentially disappeared after that, averaging just over four points and four boards per game in 18 minutes off the pine. I'll be honest, I have high hopes for this guy. Anyone with his size who can run the floor as well as he does clearly has ridiculous athleticism. Now he just needs time to work on his shooting touch and the other areas of his game.
Whether or not he's a bust is still up in the air as I don't feel like we've seen enough of him yet. Hopefully that will change barring he gets more minutes from head coach Randy Wittman.
5. Name Jordan Crawford the Team's No. 2 Option on Offense Behind John Wall
This kid from Xavier has some talent. In case any of you've forgotten, Crawford is the young man famous on Youtube for posterizing LBJ at one his basketball camps in 2009.
Clearly, the guy is wearing rocket boots.
On a more serious note, Crawford is coming off his third NBA season in which he averaged a shade under 15 points, three helpers and 2.6 rebounds per game. Translation -- the guy can ball.
Get this man some more shots, Washington -- you won't regret it.