Hype or Gripe: the Washington Wizards could draft the next Jason Kidd

Anthony Black of the Arkansas Razorbacks drives against KJ Adams Jr of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Anthony Black of the Arkansas Razorbacks drives against KJ Adams Jr of the Kansas Jayhawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The highly anticipated 2023 NBA Draft is finally upon us. This is looking like it could be one of the greatest draft classes of all time, and the Washington Wizards are looking like they could be one of the most intriguing teams in the league. What a time to be alive Wizards fans!

In the past week, we have seen the entirety of last year’s roster be thrown in the shredder. Bradley Beal was traded to the Phoenix Suns, Kyle Kuzma officially declined his player option, and Kristaps Porzingis has been traded to the Boston Celtics.

None of the returns have seemed great right off the bat, but the pieces are still moving, making them still interesting to pay attention to until the become official. Either way, many fans are going to be left disappointed. To add insult to injury, Jordan Goodwin and Isaiah Todd were also involved in the Beal trade.

This makes the draft all the more important. The Wizards have great positioning in the first-round and three second-round picks this year and will likely be looking to make a splash. With general manager Will Dawkins’ draft history, the odds are in the team’s favor.

Anthony Black could be the second coming of Jason Kidd for the Washington Wizards

A point guard who is an iffy shooter, but makes up for it with elite finishing ability, playmaking, and defense who is also oversized for his position. This described both a young Jason Kidd and Anthony Black during his time with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Not only do their playstyles compare incredibly well to each other, Black is also taller, more athletic, and a better defender coming out of college than Kidd was. He also spent two less years playing in the NCAA.

Right away when watching him, his feel for the game and passing vision jump out. He is an elite playmaker who makes the right play time and time again. His passing highlights are impressive and watching him play a full game is even more so.

While he may not be the fastest player in the draft, Black has an elite first step, allowing him to blow by defenders with ease. Once past the initial defense, he has the ability to ram into the defense with aggression or get shifty on the drive.

He has the scoring gravity on drives to not only force all five defenders to focus on him, but also make tough shots at the rim. This opens up his passing game as it gets defenders eyes away from their assignment.

He is also one of the drafts elite defenders. He has not only the lateral quickness to stop opposing guards from gaining an advantage, but also the height and strength to bother forwards and centers when need be.

If the Washington Wizards decide to keep Chris Paul who they recently acquired in the Bradley Beal trader, Black’s development will only quicken. Paul is the perfect mentor for a player like Black and is one of the greatest basketball minds ever.

Despite the strengths, Anthony Black is not the perfect prospect

While he may have scoring gravity on the drive, he is the exact opposite at the perimeter. He barely scraped together a 30% performance from beyond the arc this season and his form is not perfect.

His three-point shooting woes are only magnified by his equally poor performance from the free throw line where he shot a measly 70.5% with heavy volume. While he did shoot incredibly well as an off-ball shooter, and poor shooting form is far from the end of the world, this is a huge red flag for a modernized offense. There are very few point guards in the league anymore who are both highly effective and also a poor shooter.

However, Black is still only 19 years old and has a few years to improve his jumper before it becomes a real issue. This will need to be the very first thing that the Wizards address if they draft the former Razorback.

Verdict: the hype is justified

Black is clearly one of the best players in the draft this year. He ran the Razorback offense when the team was healthy and carried the team when numerous players expected to be drafted went down with injury.

His ceiling is a modernized Jason Kidd, and his floor is Lonzo Ball in his first season with the Pelicans. He is both a player with a high ceiling and a decently high floor, not a common sight outside of the top five in the draft.

If the Washington Wizards manage to draft Anthony Black with their eighth pick, they will not only pick up a player with Hall of Fame potential, but also a player with a high floor as well. This seems to be the overwhelmingly right decision if he is available.

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