Uncertainty at the top of the NBA Draft could benefit Washington Wizards.
The Washington Wizards have the ninth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. No, you’re not having deja vu. It’s the same spot in which the Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura during the 2019 Draft. So not bad.
But it could be better. Despite failing to move up yet again during this year’s lottery selection – the Wizards had the ninth-best odds and left with the ninth pick – the Wizards will still have a great chance to add an impactful player in this year’s draft. There’s never certainty when it comes to the NBA Draft, but this year, the order in which guys will come off the board feels like anyone’s guess. And that could help the Wizards.
While there’s some consensus around the top three players in this draft – Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, and James Wiseman – it’s unclear who will go where. With the Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the first overall pick, sending out new smokescreens each day, who knows what will happen at the top of the draft.
Mock drafts across the internet agree on little outside of the top three picks.
But all that uncertainty may end up helping the Wizards. No matter how things unfold, there seems to be a few options that could help the Wizards out.
What do the Wizards Need?
It’s no secret. The Washington Wizards were a terrible defensive team last season. They finished the season with a 115.5 defensive rating. God awful. Simply embarrassing.
Their top priority in the NBA Draft should be adding someone who can help on the defensive end. While rim protection would be nice, they don’t necessarily need to go with a big man to address their defensive deficiencies. A competent wing who can stop the ball at the point of attack would be nice. That would certainly help take some defensive responsibility away from John Wall and Bradley Beal and allow them to focus on the offensive end.
But the Wizards aren’t a finished product on offense, either. Although Beal and Davis Bertans are trustworthy from beyond the arc, we saw just how mightily the rest of the team struggles from three during the bubble games. An extra ball-handler who could lighten Wall’s load as he returns wouldn’t be bad, either.
Someone for Everything
James Wiseman would be the ideal draft pick for the Washington Wizards. But it’s highly unlikely that he is available when the Wizards are on the clock. Hell, it’s highly unlikely he’s there when the Chicago Bulls are on the clock with the fourth pick. So, unfortunately, we probably won’t see him in a Wizards hat on draft night.
But there’s a chance the Wizards can still get an impactful big man if Onyeka Okongwu is available. Okongwu would provide much-needed rim protection and has the invaluable ability to guard multiple positions. He would help the defense from day one and is a more realistic draft target at nine.
But if he’s taken before that, the Wizards could still get instant defensive upgrades with wings like Saddiq Bey, Isaac Okoro, or Devin Vassell. Bey and Vassell both shot over 40 percent from three during their college careers, too.
Or maybe the Wizards forget defense entirely. They didn’t seem concerned with at all last season, why start now?! Obi Toppin would make for a fun frontcourt with Rui Hachimura. If they would rather improve the backcourt, Kilian Hayes or Troy Haliburton may be available and able to help with that. Neither will be ready to take the torch from John Wall during their rookie years, but maybe in a few years? Besides, Ish Smith only has one more year on his deal as the resident backup point guard.
There’s a chance that all the names listed above have been selected by the time the Wizards make the ninth overall selection. However, fter the lottery, GM Tommy Sheppard mentioned that the Wizards had seen ten guys with “ninth pick potential.” At least two of those ten HAVE to be available when the Wizards pick.
The Wizards managed to walk away from the 2019 Draft with a pretty good player after drafting ninth overall. There’s reason to believe Sheppard can go 2/2 given they players that could and should be available. But don’t count out the possibility of the Wizards moving up, either.
Whether guards, big men, or wings are popular at the top of the draft, the Wizards should be able to find a guy that addresses at least one of their many needs when they make the ninth selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.
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