Washington Wizards fans knew heading into Thursday’s draft that the team had no draft picks for the second straight year. Yet, this year, it seemed likely that the team would attempt to trade into the second round to acquire another draft pick. Instead, fans were left frustrated after watching the five-hour festivities come and go.
Yes, just as with all teams, Washington originally had two draft picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. The first round pick was of course traded to get Bojan Bogdanovic in February, and rid the Wizards of the horrid Andrew Nicholson contract.
The second round pick brought interest, but in a positive move, the team traded the pick for guard Tim Frazier on Wednesday. While the deal was positively received, fans knew that this meant Washington would be on the outside looking in for the second straight year, on one of the most exciting nights in the NBA.
The Wizards were linked to plenty of trades this week, including Paul George, and trading for picks, but in the end, the Frazier deal would be the only move.
Without knowing who was on the Wizards’ draft board, it’s hard to say whether or not the team made a bad choice by not acquiring a pick. But, it certainly was frustrating watching second round picks get dealt all over the place, including the defending champion Warriors buying a pick in the second round to acquire Oregon power forward Jordan Bell, who at the time was widely regarded as the best prospect available, at a position of need for Washington.
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Of course, it’s hard to beat the Warriors in a spending contest. They did buy the pick for $3.5 million, the maximum amount allowed, and surely above the Wizards budget. Ernie Grunfeld spoke about the Tim Frazier trade and noted that the team could not get a player of Frazier’s abilities at 52. Thus, once we got into the 50s, it seemed like a certain that the team was content in finding gems in the rough among the undrafted free agents (UDFAs).
Reports came in early about the Wizards being amongst the first to start signing players to Summer League deals. The team’s rookies will have to consist entirely of this year’s and last year’s UDFAs, and with the team’s G-League team still a year away, it might be hard to make sure any signed players continue to develop while not contributing in the NBA.
We’ll know more about the Wizards’ summer league lineup over the next few days, but in the meantime, just know that the Wizards stayed pat in the draft, and the draft pick supply resets. As of now we have two picks in the upcoming draft, but we’ll see how that changes over the course of the season.
Considering the talent in the 50s could be pretty similar to the undrafted talent, it’s not terrible that the team didn’t trade or buy a pick, but for a franchise that is used to having few picks in recent years, and limiting spending, it was discouraging. Ernie Grunfeld mentioned on Wednesday in an interview that the team would be willing to go into the luxury tax for the right piece. Clearly they haven’t found the right piece. Hopefully they can in free agency, which kicks off July 1 at 12:01am.
Until then, relax, be happy the Celtics didn’t trade for Paul George, and have a good laugh at the Chicago Bulls.