The NBA Draft Lottery. It’s an exciting time for floundering NBA franchises — the Wizards included.
On Wednesday night we’ll watch NBA deputy commissioner, Adam Silver, announce next month’s draft order. While we don’t know where the Wizards will pick, we do know that the Wizards are guaranteed a top 5 pick and that they have the second best chance at getting the first overall pick with their 19.9% odds.
If the Wizards are somehow lucky enough to win the lottery for the second time in three years, Anthony Davis will be the pick — this year’s lottery is looked at as the “Anthony Davis sweepstakes” after all. But what about the far more likely scenario? The one where the Wizards pick second, third, fourth, or fifth? Which players should Ernie Grunfeld be interested in? And where will they likely be picking on June 28?
As far as where the Wizards will be picking . . . I’m a conspiracy theorist when it comes to the NBA draft lottery. So I’m not expecting the Wizards to be picking in the top three. The Nets are moving to Brooklyn and have a top 3 protected pick that will go to Portland if their first round pick is fourth overall or later. The New Orleans Hornets have a new owner. And the Bobcats will be taken care of coming off of a historically bad season, and they have that Michael Jordan guy as their owner. But if those three teams end up with the first three picks, it won’t be all that bad for the Wizards if they’re picking fourth.
You’ll see numerous analysts, bloggers, and fans have differing opinions, but for me, the Wizards need to come away with Bradley Beal in the first round if they don’t get the first pick. And if New Orleans, Charlotte, and Brooklyn end up picking in the top 3, I think Beal has a good chance of being available at the fourth pick.
Regardless of who is picking first, Anthony Davis will go first overall; and in my mock lottery, the Hornets will be picking first. I have Charlotte picking second and I think they’d take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. And then third overall I have the Nets selecting Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. That scenario works out pretty well for the Wizards with Bradley Beal being available. However, what if the Wizards’ worst case scenario happens on Wednesday night and they end up picking fifth? Regardless of who picks fourth in that scenario, I imagine their selection would be Bradley Beal. It’s hard for me to see a team taking Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones III, or Jeremy Lamb over Bradley Beal with the fourth pick.
So here we are. Doomsday has hit and Ernie Grunfeld is the one calling out orders. With the fifth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft who would he take with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, and Bradley Beal already gone?
The player he should select is North Carolina small forward, Harrison Barnes. Drafting Harrison Barnes would fill a huge need at small forward and Barnes is a steady and polished player at this early stage in his career. Make no mistake about it, I’m not a big Harrison Barnes fan, but Ernie Grunfeld should draft him over Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters, or whatever other player you want to throw into that mix.
While I think Barnes would get heavy consideration in that scenario, I don’t necessarily think he’d be the favorite. I think the more likely pick would be Perry Jones III from Baylor.
Over the past few months we’ve joked on Twitter about how Grunfeld will love Perry Jones’ length, upside, and athleticism. It’s funny because it’s true. Jones is 6-foot-11, but he’s not a true power forward — he’s a small forward at heart. When it comes to upside, he oozes it. Unfortunately he’s just not very refined or consistent, but I doubt that would stop Ernie Grunfeld from taking him fifth overall. Remember last year when he took a 6-foot-11 combo forward that could run the floor but couldn’t shoot with the sixth pick in the draft?
We won’t find out who the Wizards will be drafting on Wednesday night, but the picture will become much clearer. Then we can finally begin to eliminate some of these posed scenarios.