The Washington Wizards finally took the steps their fans have been waiting for this offseason. By choosing to rebuild, the Wizards are now a forward-looking team, focused more on the future than the present. One of the most important aspects of building a winning organization is drafting. The Wizards may have failed in the recent drafts, but they will have a prime opportunity to land the next franchise cornerstone since they are projected to have a premium pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.
Mock drafts already started dropping for the 2024 Draft. Tankathon, one of the leading websites for draft simulation and mock drafts, recently updated its player rankings. In their draft simulation, the Washington Wizards have the No. 1 overall pick. This is certainly within the realm of possibility since sportsbooks expect the Wizards to have the worst record in the league next season.
With that first overall pick, this mock draft has the Wizards select Matas Buzelis of G-League Ignite.
The 18-year-old forward Lithuanian-American forward has very intriguing physical tools and skillset. He is a 6’10 forward with excellent ball-handling, passing, and shooting abilities. He is certainly skinny and needs to add muscle, but he certainly has the characteristics of a modern, prototypical wing.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic calls Buzelis “the highest-upside player in the 2024 NBA Draft class”, adding that “his mix of tools is ridiculous for a teenager.” He describes Buzelis’ game in detail in his 2024 NBA Mock Draft piece:
“He’s a 6-foot-10 athlete who can run the floor like a guard, attack off the bounce and finish above the rim with ease. He blends that with a real creativity that most other big wing creator prospects lack. In the open floor, he’ll lead the break and go. On top of it, I believe he will be an excellent NBA perimeter shooter.”
It sounds like the ideal type of player the Washington Wizards need. During the rebuild, the Wizards need to prioritize upside over all else. It sounds like Buzelis would be the high-upside choice. The combination of size, playmaking, and shooting in a combo forward is very rare to find. If Buzelis develops the way scouts are hoping for, he has a chance to be a special player.
Regardless of where the Wizards end up in the lottery next year, Buzelis will certainly be one of the most discussed names. He is worth keeping an eye out for all season as a member of the G-League Ignite.