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Wizards New Post Option: Drew Gooden

February 26, 2014
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The Wizards have signed Drew Gooden to a 10-day contract to add to the team's front court depth.  Along with Seraphin, Booker and Singleton, he will try to make up some of Nene's minutes and production while the Brazilian big man misses approximately six weeks due to an MCL sprain.  For what it's worth (and that's not very much), he's about the same size as Nene at 6'10, 250.  Gooden is a 32-year-old, 11-year vet in the league, who was last seen in Milwaukee in 2012-13 before being amnestied by them after the season.  He only saw limited minutes in 2012-13 before the amnesty, as the Bucks went with a youth movement which Gooden did not fit into.  As of 2011-12 though, the last time Gooden saw major minutes, he was a very productive player.  He started 46 games in the lockout shortened season and averaged 13.7 points, 6.5 boards and 2.6 assists per game as the Bucks just missed out on a playoff spot, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference.  Gooden's career numbers are about in line with those (11.8 points, 7.6 boards per game), as he's been a solid post presence his entire career.  He's bounced around the league, being a part of ten NBA franchises now, including the Wizards actually for four days in 2010 but he never played a game with the team.  He has plenty of playoff experience, including going to the finals with the Cavs in 2007.

From 08-09 to 11-12, Gooden was an above average player in terms of PER, including being well above average at 18.88 in 2011-12.  Gooden has always provided good scoring acumen in the paint, and outside of it for that matter.  As his career has gone on, he’s been more inclined to step away from the basket on offense and has had a lot of success with that as opposing bigs can be reluctant to step out from under the hoop to guard him.  His range doesn't really extend to the three point line but he's excelled in the 10 foot to 18 foot range.  He shot at least 42% from shots beyond ten feet in each season from 2008-09 to 2011-12.  That's not to say he can't bang inside, but it's been something that as his career has gone on he's been less inclined to do.  Gooden has also become a high post distributor later in his career, which Nene is so adept at and the Wizards will be sorely missing without Nene in the lineup.  After getting a rap as a guy who refused to look for teammates early in his career, his passing has improved drastically over the years.  He's always been quick on the boards and posted a rebounding rate of 14% in 2011-12, which was above league average for a four.

This is just a 10-day deal, so the risk is minimal for the Wizards and there's no doubt that Gooden has a lot of upside, especially on the offensive end.  Gooden should have fresh legs, having only played 16 games between last season and this one.  The question will be what kind of game shape he is in, as he will probably be asked to step in and try to contribute just about immediately.  If Gooden steps in and contributes, the likelihood is that he would be picked up for the rest of the year, but if he doesn't, the Wizards can easily wipe their hands clean of him and walk away.  If his form is anywhere close to where it was during his last significant stint with the Bucks in 2011-12, it will be a very easy choice for the Wizards.  Here's hoping he finds that form and the Wizards have found themselves an option in the post going forward.