We are a full year removed from the 2022 NBA Draft. Even though it is still very early to project the future careers of the 2022 draft class, we have enough samples and data points to make more educated predictions on these prospects, including for the Washington Wizards’ selection.
It’s important to note that player development is not linear. Some players who showed impressive promise in their rookie season may not end up where we hoped they would, while some prospects who didn’t do much in their first year may take major steps forward later.
The best we can do is make projections to the best of our abilities based on what we know so far of each individual player.
Wizards would likely consider a different selection with their pick in a re-draft
The Washington Wizards had the 10th overall pick in the draft where they ended up drafting Johny Davis out of Wisconsin. If this draft was redone now, it is highly unlikely that the Wizards would select Davis with their pick, considering how little Davis showed as a rookie.
The first nine picks before the Wizards’ selection were: Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr, Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, Ben Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Dyson Daniels, and Jeremy Sochan in that order.
We could expect a few changes in that order as well. Banchero, Holmgren, Smith Jr, and Murray are likely to go as the top four again. After that, Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder should be picked. Williams, who was at minimum the second-best rookie last season, has an argument to go as high as two in a re-draft. However, considering the positional needs and the situation of the teams in the top four, it makes more sense for Williams to go fifth.
Jaden Ivey with the no. 6 to the Indiana Pacers and Ben Mathurin to Portland with the no.7 pick are reasonable selections.
However, the Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler is likely to be selected in this range as well. The 7’1 center out of Auburn was drafted with the 22nd-overall pick in the original draft, but considering he was easily the best defender and best center in this class last year, he will presumably be drafted in the top 10. He is already a great rim protector and a good fit for the New Orleans Pelicans with the no. 8 pick.
At number 9, the San Antonio Spurs could draft their original selection Jeremy Sochan again as the 20-year-old power forward out of Baylor had a good rookie season. Yet, now that Shaedon Sharpe is available with this pick, San Antonio could elect to take a big swing on Sharpe’s through-the-roof upside.
Wizards would presumably prefer a younger, higher-upside prospect
The Washington Wizards have plenty of options with their 10th overall pick now. Dyson Daniels, Jeremy Sochan, AJ Griffin, Mark Williams, and Tari Eason are all decent candidates here. However, the best selection for the Wizards is probably Jalen Duren from the University of Memphis.
Duren, who is the youngest player in the class is still only 19 years old. Drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 13th overall pick last year, Duren showed impressive flashes as a young and raw rookie.
Duren averaged 9.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 0.7 steals in 25 minutes per game as a rookie. His physical tools are remarkable, with broad shoulders, long wingspan, and quick feet. He has the potential to be one of the elite defensive big men in the NBA thanks to his ability to protect the rim, rebound, and switch on smaller players.
If Duren continues his improvement, he can be an anchor to a very good NBA defense. His offensive game is a work in progress but he has a decent touch, the potential to hit mid-rangers, and a solid passing ability.
We will never know who the Wizards would have ended up selecting if the top of the draft shook out like this. It is safe to assume, however, that they would have made a different selection with their pick if there was a re-draft today.