With the 2021 NBA Draft overlapping with the Tokyo Olympics, I can’t help but think about medals and podium standings even in the midst of a draft. And if we were giving out medals to teams that made the best first-round pick(s), the Washington Wizards would be in the running for the podium, if not the gold medal.
With the 15th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected Corey Kispert out of Gonzaga. Now, I’m not saying Kispert will have the best career or even rookie year from the 2021 draft class. But in terms of a team getting great value and addressing exactly what they needed to in the first round, the Wizards did as good as anybody.
The Washington Wizards got just what they needed by drafting Corey Kispert.
By drafting Kispert, the Wizards addressed two of their biggest needs with one pick. By all measures the Wizards were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA last season. With the 15th pick, they added one of the NCAA’s best long-range snipers from the past two seasons. Kispert shot 43.8 percent from three on 5.4 attempts per game as a junior. As a senior he was even better; 44.0 percent on 6.5 attempts per game.
Kispert isn’t just a shooter, though. That’s definitely his strength but he can hold his own on the defensive end and showed some strong finishing ability around the rim while at Gonzaga. His first career basket at Gonzaga was a putback dunk.
By joining the Wizards, Kispert is reunited with former Gonzaga teammate Rui Hachimura. And the two seem to be thrilled about it.
It likely won’t be long before we see the two on the floor together. Kispert was a starter for three of his four seasons at Gonzaga, and consistently played at a high level. That experience and maturity should help him hit the ground running as a rookie with the Wizards, which is huge for a team that’s trying to win now, while they still have Bradley Beal.
Nothing is certain but on paper, it looks like the Wizards struck gold at #15 with Corey Kispert.