Yes, matching a full MLE would be a gamble, but a lot of people think Johnson would have been a top-five lottery pick this year had he gone to college two years ago instead of jumping straight to the NBA. And let's face it, it's not often a team has a chance to buy their way into the lottery, which is essentially what the Pistons would be doing.Now check Wizards Insider's take on offering Andray Blatche the MLE:
As one smart basketball man I spoke with put it yesterday: "That's a no brainer. You pay 6-11 every time and don't think twice." Good point. Consider this: if Blatche were coming out of college this summer, where would he go in the draft? Lottery baby.I can't decide how I feel about this concept. In a way, it makes sense: These players were drafted in the second round because they weren't ready. They haven't been ready until now, and the Wizards and Pistons are in a position to sign them. However, they'd be paying them more than what a rookie gets.
On the other hand, there still is some uncertainty surrounding Johnson and Blatche. In that sense, they are like lottery picks. So basically, Washington and Detroit have the privilege of paying too much for lottery-like prospects. When you put it like that, it doesn't sound so plush.
Oh, and there's also this version of picks-under-the-Draft-mas-tree, courtesy of Brian Windhorst:
The Cavs feel like their first-round pick this year is Shannon Brown. As I've written here before, Shannon worked just as hard at his game as Daniel Gibson this season and I expect him to get a chance to play next season.That seems like a rationalization. Brown was a first-rounder who had a disappointing rookie season. He can look to prove everyone wrong this time around, but that doesn't mean he's a virtual rookie. Johnson and Blatche weren't expected to contribute these past two seasons; Brown was, and actively took something away from the team by not doing so.