It’s finally NBA Draft week, and the Wizards are officially under construction.
Washington owns the No. 10 and No. 54 picks in Thursday’s draft in Brooklyn. In his quest to build a better roster, he will value pure talent above all else for lottery selection.
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There’s a league-wide understanding that Washington’s pick could be available at the right price. But if Tommy Sheppard, the team’s president and general manager, uses the pick, he won’t worry too much about details like position or relative NBA readiness versus the board’s next teenager.
Sheppard was asked a familiar question during a Monday press conference: is it better to select a player still in development who could become a star in a few years or a player who may not reach supernova status but who could help the team win immediately?
When it comes to winning, Sheppard said, the Wizards aren’t picky.
“I don’t know if I would agree with ‘win now.’ I think we need to earn more. To say that our season is going to come down to who we draft at 10, we’d probably never want to do that to that poor kid who shows up at the door; that would be short-sighted,” he said.
“For us, there is no position in which we do not need depth. I don’t think we’re going to do anything other than take the best player available at 10 years old. »
With that in mind, here are four players who could be available when Washington’s pick comes around:
Dyson Daniels, winger, G League Ignite
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Daniels is such a competent player that it wouldn’t be surprising if he got caught before the Wizards’ turn came. But if available, the 19-year-old Australian would be an excellent choice for his versatility and defensive instincts.
Daniels spent much of his life playing point guard before moving to G League Ignite and has a soft grip and excellent passing skills. But what stands out the most is his overall basketball IQ; he received high marks from the scouts for his anticipation on defense and its reputation for fierce competition. Sheppard said Monday the Wizards need more defensive “dogs.”
For all his ability to play, Daniels needs to work on his shot and would likely be need time to adjust to the pace of the NBA. After working for the Wizards on June 11, Daniels said the speed of play was the hardest thing to get used to coming from a more structured and diligent Australian system. This experience shows it: Daniels is far from the fastest player in the draft class, but his accuracy counts for a lot.
Johnny Davis, garde, Wisconsin
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Las Vegas was good for Davis last season. The Badgers’ star sophomore exploded onto the NBA draft boards at a Thanksgiving tournament in Sin City in which he dropped 30 points and pushed Wisconsin to a narrow upset at then-No. 12Houston. This game gave a first glimpse of Davis’ calling card: his ability to score in multiple ways in the midrange and under the basket.
Davis offers a variety of attractive characteristics for a Wizards team full of forwards and wingers (for now). If they’re looking to shore up the backcourt, Davis is a shrewd passer in lane traffic, has a pull-up dagger and strong defensive instincts to boot, though his size may limit him. And at 20, Davis’ ceiling could still be sky high – he was Wisconsin’s top reserve as a rookie and took a huge leap forward to be the center of his offense his sophomore year, indicating he’s far from fully formed as a player.
As a bonus, the Wizards brass values the national team experience. They should appreciate that Davis helped USA Basketball win a gold medal in Latvia last summer at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.
Ranked 10th in the NBA draft, the Wizards have more options than usual
Jeremy Sochan, attaquant, Baylor
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Sochan missed his scheduled practice with the Wizards on Monday with what he called a “minor” hamstring strain, but met with team officials nonetheless. Based on what reporters experienced in a 10-minute media session after that, Wizards fans may find Sochan oddly familiar. When it comes to vibes, it’s as if Deni Avdija and Kelly Oubre have come together as one. But maybe it’s just bleached hair.
On the court, Sochan provides the Wizards with a confident forward willing to take risks and really “spoil things” on defense, to borrow a favorite phrase from coach Wes Unseld Jr. Here, that means the Baylor forward not afraid to change its size and disrupt games. He has a good enough basketball IQ to feel capable of – and he should, because mom and dad played Division II college basketball.
Sochan’s shot needs polishing, but he’s got a good grip, can play, score and keep all five positions. Consider him another global prospect, alongside Daniels: The 19-year-old was born to an American father and a Polish mother in Oklahoma and spent most of his young life in England. He led the Polish U16 national team to a gold medal at the FIBA European Championships in 2019.
There are two reasons Griffin’s selection could make the Wizards faithful nervous: a history of knee and ankle injuries and inexperience on the defensive end.
But in attack, the Blue Devil knows how to cook. He’s a great perimeter shooter and a sneaky move that can make contact well and, most importantly, move effectively off the ball. He has a wingspan of seven feet and is only 18, meaning there is outside hope that Unseld can teach him enough to make him usable defensively. A definite catch-and-shoot threat, Griffin shot 44.7 percent from three in his only season in college.