The Wizards have been an NBA lottery bound team for quite some time, but John Wall and company aren’t expressing too much interest in drafting yet another rookie. When asked about this upcoming draft John Wall quickly dismissed the scenario, stating;
I really don’t want to worry about the draft. We’re going the right way with winning, so we need to keep going with veterans and not keep going to the draft and get younger; But that’s how I feel. It’s not my decision. It’s upstairs and I think they’ll do a great job.
In his exit interview, Wall also spoke about adding a power forward who could stretch the floor or a guard who could score off the bench. Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, have accommodated Wall through several acquisitions in the past. When Wall wanted to add veterans, Washington’s management added Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza through multiple trades. They also added Bradley Beal and Martell Webster in order to surrounded John Wall with some shooters. Needless to say, the management has tried to build the roster around Wall, and they will continue to do so. In doing so, they have took his recommendations seriously.
As of right now, the Wizards don’t have many pieces to build around outside of Wall and Beal. Adding another player such as Cody Zeller, or perhaps a scorer such as Shabazz Muhammed, is essential to complete a successful rebuild. Washington can’t depend solely on Wall and Beal for their future success. Their young back court has shown great promise when on the floor together, but Washington needs more going forward. Adding that final piece could potentially be done in this upcoming draft. Nene and Okafor don’t have much time left, and Washington has failed to develop Jan Vesely into a competent basketball player. With Wall and Beal together, adding Cody Zeller, Anthony Bennett, or virtually any other rookie coming out of this upcoming draft class could potentially give the Wizards three formidable players for the future to build around.
Washington has traded their lottery picks in the past in exchange for veteran players. In this case, the Wizards would probably try to acquire an established stretch forward, to accommodate Wall, in exchange for their lottery pick. Trading for Milwaukee Bucks forward, Ersan Ilyasova would probably be the best case scenario if a trade were to occur. Ilyasova is only 25 years old, but he fits a clear need. Ilyasova is set to make $8 million dollars next season and is locked for the next couple years. If the Milwaukee Bucks were to entertain that trade scenario, they would likely acquire Trevor Ariza along side the lottery pick to make the deal work from a financial standpoint. Adding another rookie to pair up with Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders would probably set the Bucks up for more future success. Jennings, who is set to become a restricted free agent, would probably be tempted to come back to Milwaukee if the franchise were to add a solid player such as Zeller or Muhammed.
Nevertheless, the Wizards management certainly has work to do. If I was in charge, I would seek a trade, but I wouldn’t make a deal just for the sake of making a deal. Washington has flubbed trades in the past, so they don’t have any more room for mistakes in that aspect. As I mentioned, adding another young piece is essential. I’m hoping the management isn’t feeling pressured by John Wall’s comments. Washington’s management has to figure out this crucial part of the season and not make any irrational decisions based off certain comments or concerns.
The NBA Draft lottery will be taking place May 21st and will determine which pick the Wizards will receive in the upcoming draft.