Washington Wizards players will be welcoming their newest teammate Thursday night. With the 52nd pick, there will still be plenty of players available, although their ability to contribute immediately will be limited. So who do the latest mock drafts have the Wizards taking?
The 2017 NBA Draft is two days away. All the national excitement is around the top 3 picks, the trade between the Celtics and the Sixers, and the possibility of the Lakers trading the number two pick for Paul George. Although Washington doesn’t have a first round pick (again), the team will still be looking to add a contributor to its weak bench.
This week, three prominent mock drafts were updated. Let’s see who they have Washington selecting.
Wizards select Kyle Kuzma, Utah, Jr., Power Forward
2016-17 Stats: 16.4 Points, 9.3 Rebounds, 2.4 Assists
Kuzma is a 6’9″ forward from the University of Utah, and originally Flint, Michigan. He led the Utes in scoring and rebounding this past season. Utah ended the season 20-12, losing in the NIT first round.
According to Chad Ford, Kuzma is well regarded for his rebounding, passing and vision, and high basketball IQ. Meanwhile, his weaknesses include his shooting and athleticism.
The Wizards have needs at every position on the bench, but it seems that bench scoring and playmaking are of more need than rebounding.
He had his best game of the season on January 7th against Arizona State, with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 three-pointers.
Wizards select L.J. Peak, Georgetown, Jr., Shooting Guard
2016-17 Stats: 16.3 Points, 3.8 Rebounds, 3.5 Assists
Peak is a player Washington knows well. Of course he played college ball in the same arena as the Wizards, ala Otto Porter. Additionally, he was part of the final workout the team held before the draft.
Ford has Peak going undrafted, but Jeremy Woo at SI, sees him just slipping onto the draft board.
Peak’s athleticism on the wing could blend nicely on a Wizards team that could look to bolster its depth with this lone selection. He’s an NBA-caliber athlete who needs to develop as a scorer and ballhandler.
Peak has shown versatility on offense, using his 6’5″ frame to muscle to the rim. He’s already expressed his desire to guard the best player on the floor defensively, and the Wizards’ defense could certainly use some help on that side of the ball.
He scored over 20 points 14 times in 32 games this season. Additionally, he shot just under 33% on three-pointers after shooting over 40% from three the season before.
Wizards select Cameron Oliver, Nevada, So., Power Forward
2016-17 Stats: 16.0 Points, 8.7 Rebounds, 1.8 Assists, 38% 3P%
Fun fact: 6’8″ Oliver went to the same high school as Gilbert Arenas. Ink it up! But actually, Oliver would cover some holes for the Wizards.
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According to Chad Ford, his strengths include his athleticism, rebounding, shot blocking, post game, and three point range. Those all sound pretty great to me. His only weaknesses mentioned are his lack of ball-handling a being a tweener.
Oliver could come in right away, and fill a role as a backup power forward. He has a high motor, and should be able to overcome his seemingly undersized stature. Having a bench power forward who can score and stretch the floor would open up more room for the team to explore trading one of its big men this offseason.
On the season, Oliver scored over 20 points in 10 of his 35 games, and had a few key games. He had 27 points, 7 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks against Fresno State in the conference tournament, including 5 of 7 shooting on three-pointers.
Two games before that he scored 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, with four three-pointers, and two blocks. Considering he only played two years in college, he still has plenty of upside.
Chad Ford has Oliver going 58th to the Knicks, despite having him 48th on his overall list, so it seems the Wizards could definitely have a chance at the sophomore talent.
With the draft still two days away, there will be many changing parts. Who knows, maybe the Wizards will actually buy a second pick this year!