The NBA Draft is right around the corner, and now that the Washington Wizards’ season is over, we’ll turn our focus to potential prospects the team could add this summer to bolster the roster. With that said, I haven’t focused much on college basketball this season since the Wizards were actually good enough to make some noise in the NBA Playoffs.
So, in order to get some more insight into all things NBA Draft and Wizards, I contacted Ed Isaacson of NBA Draft Blog, who has scouted and covered this year’s prospects just as much as anyone on the web. Ed was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding the Wizards and the draft. Enjoy.
The Wizards relinquished an early first round pick to the Phoenix Suns in a trade for Marcin Gortat. Like many other Wizards fans, I sort of panicked, since this seemed like a typical Ernie Grunfeld move that would result in nothing more than some short-term success for Washington and a bunch of “what if they didn’t trade that pick” scenarios. What sort of value will that 18th overall pick have in this year’s draft?
Overall, the value the Suns will get at 18 should be better than most years. All of the talk during the year was about the the players at the top of this draft, but it really is incredibly deep. The one area it is lacking though is big men, with not many having having value between the lottery and the 2nd round. So, if the Wizards want to or have a chance to re-sign Gortat, they are getting a better big man than they could have gotten in the draft, but if they kept the pick, they really could have added depth at any other position.
Washington currently has the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. As you probably already know, Washington has whiffed on countless second round picks in the past, but this year’s draft seems to be considered deep with talent. What are the chances they land a valuable player that late in the draft?
There is a very good chance they can end up with a strong player at 46, especially a senior player who will be able to step in right away ad make contributions for 12-15 minutes per night, possibly more as the season wears on. Other than big men, which I’ve addressed, this draft has a lot of talent, especially at the point guard and wings. There will also be options available if they want to find a power forward who can stretch the floor.
Andre Miller isn’t getting any younger and Washington could certainly add another backup big man. What should they aim for in the draft? Who might be available when it’s time for them to pick? (any chance Mitch McGary falls that low?)
To answer the last question first, I don’t see Mitch McGary falling that low unless there are continued issues with his back. Would you really want him in that case? There will be plenty of point guards available, especially seniors who could be ready to fill a back-up role right away. I expect guys like Shabazz Napier and Deonte Burton to likely be gone, but players like Russ Smith, Keith Appling, Kendall Williams, and Aaron Craft could all be available. Each bring something different to the table, but are all skilled enough to help immediately. If they want to target a big man, there won’t be a lot of options, but some guys to look for are Alex Kirk from New Mexico or Patric Young from Florida. Young may be smaller than most centers, but he is physical enough to handle the position. If I am the Wizards, I look for the most skilled player at any position who can help the bench immediately.
And finally, Otto Porter… He’s been waving towels on the bench ever since he put on a Wizards uniform, and honestly, it didn’t look too good for him at the beginning of the season. He got some momentum late in the year, showing some flashes of why Washington picked him 3rd overall in 2013, but his future with the team is still somewhat uncertain. Give us your take on Porter–prior to the draft and the little we’ve seen from him during the regular season.
I’m a big fan of Porter and I expect him to still be the player many thought he would be when he entered the league. It was a bad combination of injuries and the Wizards playing well that didn’t really get him the opportunity he needed this year. He still can be a strong defender and rebounder, and with a little more work on his jumper, he can be a good offensive threat, especially with guys like John Wall and Bradley Beal around him. I think Wizards’ fans should be patient with him and see how next year plays out.
I want to thank Ed Isaacson for taking the time to answer some of my questions about the draft. If you want to learn more about the prospects or are looking to read more about the NBA Draft, I’d suggest checking out Ed’s site– NBA Draft Blog.