With a record of 9-30 the Wizards have twenty-seven games remaining, and for many fans each loss will represent more potential ping-pong balls in May’s draft lottery. I’ve never believed in tanking on purpose, but it doesn’t appear the Wizards need to try to lose. They just do. Right now the Wizards have the second worst record in the NBA to the Charlotte Bobcats — who the Wizards beat twice — and the only good news with that is that the Wizards will have yet another high pick in what is projected to be a very deep draft class.
With that being said, I gathered up the writers here at Wiz of Awes for a round table discussion to ask them who they believe would be the ideal draft pick for the Wizards in June’s draft.
The Wizards’ roster has holes everywhere and taking any player other than a point guard in the first round would make sense from a needs perspective.
But for me it’s quite simple who I want in June’s draft for the Wizards. I’ve had a huge man-crush on Thomas Robinson of Kansas for quite a while now. Anthony Davis, the long-armed shot-blocking machine from Kentucky, gets most of the publicity — and rightfully so — but he’s a virtual lock to go first overall, and I’m just guessing the Wizards won’t win the lottery this time around like they did in 2010. I’m expecting the Wizards to pick second, third, or fourth.
To me Thomas Robinson is clearly the second best player that’s likely to be available; not Harrison Harrison, Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, or Jeremy Lamb. Robinson would give the Wizards a talented scoring threat out of the post and at 6’10” and 240 lbs. he’s physical, a great athlete, has a high motor, and plays with a lot of passion. Of course the only thing Ernie Grunfeld probably read there was that Robinson is athletic. Also, Thomas Robinson is from Washington, D.C.
Here’s to hoping for a Thomas Robinson homecoming in late June.
Looking ahead to the draft, it all depends on how the ping-pong balls fall obviously. Assuming that the Wizards get a top three selection in this June’s draft, I’d select none other than Thomas Robinson out of Kansas. I’ve gone on record saying that Robinson is the “anti-Andray Blatche”. Robinson brings a presence the Wizards desperately need on and off the court. Robinson is extremely talented, mature, and plays with a lot of heart. He’s also second in college basketball in rebounding; averaging slightly under twelve rebounds per game. Quite simply, Robinson is a man-child. I just don’t see any way the Wizards pass up on him assuming they receive a top three pick.
Who I wouldn’t take is Ohio State power forward, Jared Sullinger. Sullinger will be selected pretty high in June’s draft, but hopefully that team that selects him won’t be the Washington Wizards. Sullinger’s questionable height (6’9″) for his position is just too big of a question mark for me right now. I just don’t see a possibility of how Sullinger can play power forward in the NBA. He lacks lateral quickness and struggles to finish around the basket over taller players. I prefer selecting players that have talent that can easily transition to the NBA — who doesn’t though? And Sullinger just doesn’t have that right now.
Year two of the three year rebuilding plan is going just as Ted Leonsis expected. With that being said, no matter how the season progressed it would be going just the way Ted Leonsis expected. 9-30 won’t keep many fans interested in the remainder of this season even with buffoons like JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche providing constant comic relief. But that record will provide the Wizards organization with a likely top-5 pick in June’s draft. The general consensus is that this draft class is one of the best there’s been in quite some time, so even if the Wizards get screwed in the lottery, there will still be ample talent to select. The guy I am hoping will be donning the red, white and blues next year hails from North Carolina and is “known as the Black Falcon“.
I might be biased because I’ve seen more of Harrison Barnes than any other highly regarded draft prospect, but what I love about him is his smoothness on the court and his ability to score in a variety of fashions. Also I am choosing Barnes without factoring in the upcoming trade deadline — which could see the departure of JaVale McGee — and without this factoring in this summer’s free agency when the Wizards could plan on targeting the likes of Nicolas Batum or Ryan Anderson.
Harrison Barnes is my best player available for this Wizards team. While it is unclear whether or not JaVale McGee will be a Wizard next season, it seems almost certain that the Wizards will be without Nick Young. Without Young, the Wizards will need somebody to score the basketball, and I think Barnes is the best guy to do that. Chad Ford of ESPN highlights three traits when talking about Barnes; shooting, defending, and his high basketball IQ. Does that not bring a tear to your eye?
With that being said, I would have absolutely no problem watching Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, or Jared Sullinger play in Washington next season. I love Andre Drummond’s game, but his character concerns are an issue, and the Wizards recent history with questionable characters makes me afraid of drafting Drummond. It will be tough for Ernie — if he is still the GM in June — to screw this draft up, but hey I just might have jinxed him. So get ready to cheer on Oleksiy Pecherov 2.0.
From the outset, this team has been designed with the future in mind. Almost every young player on the team oozes potential and athleticism but lacks fundamental basketball skills or a high basketball IQ. This roster was put together with those issues in mind; with the assumption being that by the time John Wall is ready to be a dominant player these athletic players will have developed some sort of valuable skill. How much longer do Wizard fans have to wait until that point is here? John has been great but he doesn’t have a single efficient scorer around him — as evidenced by the Wizards’ fourth worst points per 100 possessions. John Wall needs a running mate who will score it on one end and play some decent perimeter defense to provide a little protection my favorite person in the world, JaVale McGee. If the Wizards can’t get the franchise-changing Anthony Davis with the first pick, I pray to G-Wiz that they are blessed with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who as far as I can tell, has no gaping holes in his game. It would be nice if he could shoot the three at a slightly more impressive percentage, but at least he’ll drive and finish, unlike any player currently on the team not named John Wall.
The Wizards need someone who can score. Kidd-Gilchrist can be that someone better than anyone else in this draft.
It’s no secret that the Wizards struggle to score the ball out of their half-court sets. At the end of games when the Wizards need a high percentage shot to stretch a lead or cut into one, their options are pretty limited. For me it’s a no-brainer that the Wizards need a true power forward. The Wizards have Chris Singleton, Rashard Lewis, and Jan Vesely who are all probably better suited to play small forward and Trevor Booker and Andray Blatche are the only true power forwards right now. The ideal scenario for most Wizards fans is that Blatche will not be back next season, and it’s almost a guarantee that he won’t return. That leaves Trevor Booker as the best option at power forward going forward. Booker has a made a lot of progress scoring the basketball this season, but at just 6-foot-7 he gives up a lot of height to many of the top power forwards in the league. The good news is that the Wizards will have a high draft pick again this year and there will be several good power forwards available. In a perfect world where the Wizards could take their pick of any of the top players available, but my favorite of the bunch is Andre Drummond out of UConn.
The Wizards would likely need one of the top two picks to get Drummond, but at 6-foot-10 and 270 lbs., he’s worth it. His low post game might not be as polished as guys like Jared Sullinger, but he finishes strong around the basket and he’s an incredible athlete. He has also shown ferocious shot-blocking ability. If the lottery doesn’t go their way and the Wizards aren’t able to snag Drummond, there are still other good options available. District native Thomas Robinson would be another good fit for the Wizards. If the Wizards decided they needed to get a small forward in the draft instead, I think Harrison Barnes would be the best way to go.