Here to break down the draft is KSK cofounder and Mr. Irrelevant Wiz correspondent Jack Kogod (@Unsilent).
Trying to predict how the NBA draft will play out is a useless endeavor, so everybody just sit down and shut up while we evaluate all of the potential scenarios floating around.
Potential Draft Targets
Forget about all the trade talk for the moment, because most of it is crap. We’ll get to all of those rumors later, but first we need to look at the players the team could conceivably select with the fifth pick assuming they keep it. For the sake of argument let’s consider everybody except for Blake Griffin as a possibility. The prospects are listed in order based on how I’d draft them for the Wizards.
1. Tyreke Evans — This is where things get interesting. The more that I think about this draft and the current Wizards roster the more I think Evans is the ideal pick. Evans can play on or off the ball, and he has a more complete all-around game than DeShawn Stevenson or Nick Young at this point in their careers.
2. Jordan Hill — Ever since the night of the lottery I picked Hill out as the most likely candidate for the Wizards to draft. The team’s biggest need is a true rebounding power forward (read: not Andray Blatche) who can play a significant role off the bench until Antawn Jamison’s time in DC is up. Hill could provide the strength and athleticism that the Wizards desperately need, although concerns about his seemingly limited offensive repertoire are warranted.
3. Brandon Jennings — Excuse me while I attempt to hide my boner. I’ve been in the tank for Young Money for quite some time now, and nothing about his European excursion did anything to change that. He’s a great distributor at the point guard spot and he’d keep everyone on the floor happy. Yet as much as I’d love Jennings to come to Washington it would mean playing Gil off the ball a whole lot more, and nobody really knows how/if that would work out. New coach Flip Saunders would likely bring him off the bench in support of their superstar, but at some point in his development Jennings would need to break out of the backup roll. While a backcourt of Jennings and Arenas would be fun to watch, it’s not exactly practical.
4. Stephen Curry — If it were up to Caron Butler the decision would already be made. Curry would immediately improve the team’s outside shooting, filling the void left by Roger Mason Jr. I’m still not convinced that drafting a guy top five simply because he’s a lights out shooter is a good idea.
5. Ricky “Pistola” Rubio — The Spanish teen sensation probably won’t make it out of the top four, and even if he does, it’s clearly not the best fit for either party. Rubio could be every bit as good as his highlight reel would seem to indicate, but his weaknesses mirror those of the Wizards. He is not a particularly adept shooter, he will be a defensive liability, and he’s probably not ready to come in and contribute meaningful minutes immediately. So yeah, probably not happening.
6. Hasheem Thabeet — Again, he’s unlikely to slip to the fifth spot. Even if he did the team is much better off at the center position than most draft prognosticators would have you believe. Yes, Brendan Haywood is a perfectly good center. I just said that. Let it marinate awhile. While Thabeet would make an excellent protege, the team is already quite high on JaVale McGee. Kill Mode Cheese (AKA Epic Vale) would languish on the bench behind Thabeet, and none of us want to see that, right? Right.
7. James Harden — Everyone outside of Washington seems eager to pencil in Harden to the Wizards and I still don’t see it. His all around game is pretty solid, especially offensively, yet I don’t see why the team would value him over Evans.
8. Other Point Guards — I doubt the Wiz will give serious consideration to the other point guards (Lawson, Holliday and Flynn), so let’s not even bother. I personally have a lot of faith in Javaris Crittendon (lack of a jump shot and all) as a backup PG, so I’m not high on drafting another one.
9. DeJuan Blair — Okay fine, so there’s no chance that they actually take Blair with the fifth pick in the draft, but man, having him would kick ass. Now if only there was somebody at the back end of the lottery looking to make a trade …
Next: Deciphering the Rumors
UPDATE: The Wiz strike a deal with Minnesota, packaging the fifth pick, Etan, Songalia and Pecherov for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Seems in line with Washington’s win-now approach, and here’s to hoping Foye is another Caron-esque steal for Ernie Grunfeld.