Washington Wizards: 15 best draft picks of all-time

Juwan Howard, Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport
Juwan Howard, Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport /
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Juwan Howard, Washington Wizards
Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport /

No matter if they’re named the Washington Bullets or the Washington Wizards, the franchise has acquired its fair share of talent through the NBA Draft.

The Washington Wizards have had their fair share of luck in the NBA Draft. Although they haven’t had a first-round pick since the 2015 draft, they’re back in it this summer.

Since being established back in 1961-62 as the Chicago Packers, they’ve been the Chicago Zephyrs (1962-63), the Baltimore Bullets (1964-73), the Capital Bullets (1973-74) and the Washington Bullets (1974-97) before settling with the “Wizards” moniker to start the 1997-98 campaign.

The franchise began in the city of Chicago in 1961 before relocating to the city of Baltimore in 1963. They took on the Bullets nickname upon relocation and it remained that way up until 1997. They did change cities from Baltimore to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., but it was until the 1997-98 season that they changed the name to the Wizards.

So far, the Wizards have made four appearances in the NBA Finals and won the NBA title in 1978. They have 29 playoff appearances in their 57-year history as an organization.

As the years have progressed, so has the level of talent the Wizards have acquired in the draft. They haven’t had a first-round draft pick in the past few years, but this year, there’s an opportunity to add another big name to the mantlepiece. Here’s a look at the top-15 draft picks in franchise history.

Gus Johnson Jr. could be considered of the first one-and-done players in college basketball. He pulled off the feat back in the 1962-63 NCAA season at the University of Idaho. Johnson averaged 19.0 points and 20.3 rebounds per game in his lone season with the Vandals before making the leap to the NBA.

He was drafted in the second round of the 1963 NBA Draft, 10th overall, by the Baltimore Bullets. During that year, the league had just nine teams around. The 6-foot-6 forward made his presence known right away, averaging 17.3 points and 16.6 rebounds per game as a rookie.

He finished as a member of the All-Rookie team, while also coming in second place to Jerry Lucas (Cincinnati Royals) for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

In year two, Johnson was selected to the first of five All-Star Game appearances. After his first All-Star appearance, he appeared in four consecutive games from 1968-1971. Along with his All-Star accolades, Johnson also made five postseasons including an NBA Finals appearance in 1971 while a member of the Bullets.

He averaged a double-double in his career (17.5 points and 12.9 rebounds per game) in nine seasons with Baltimore. In the playoffs, he averaged 14.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest through 34 games. During the 1972 offseason, Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round draft pick.

For his performance and contributions to the Bullets, Gus Johnson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. His No. 25 jersey is one of only four numbers to be retired in franchise history as well.