The Washington Wizards had one of the most successful years in the franchises recent history on the back of young studs John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Indiana Pacers. Even though it was a solid year for the Wizards and one of the best in their last ten years they still need to take that next step if they wish to grow as an organization. The way the Wizards can take the next step will not be through trades or free agency it will be through the draft.
The Wizards already have a young nucleus in place with the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal however with their salary cap tied up in Nene and John Wall the Wizards won’t be making a splash but needs to make smart decision if the team wishes to continue to succeed down the line. With key contributors Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat contracts over and will be unrestricted free agents this summer the Wizards will need to draft smartly in tonight’s draft if they wish to grow as a team.
The Wizards haven’t drafted well in recent years beside obvious picks like John Wall and Bradley Beal falling in their lap. With choices like Jan Vesely and Otto Porter in the top six of recent drafts the Wizards do not have a good track record with picking quality players that impact the team. While Otto Porter still can pan out to be a good player he will need to improve his game as he definitely had a very disappointing year with the Wizards averaging just 2.1 PPG while shooting .363% from the field as well as .190 % from the 3 point line in just 37 games.
The Wizards this year do not have a first round draft pick as it was part of the deal that brought Marcin Gortat to D.C. from the Phoenix Suns. However they do have a second round pick which will be the 46th overall selection tonight and for the first time in a long time the Wizards will need to find a player who can make an impact on the team right away unlike recent years.
With names such as Tomas Satoransky, Shelvin Mack, Nemanja Bjelica and Jemaine Taylor being drafted in the second round by the Wizards since the team rebuilt in 2010 the team clearly has shown a lack for finding talent in the second round as three of those four players aren’t even in the NBA anymore and none are on the Wizards.
The Wizards will need to turn around their terrible drafting in the second round if they wish to evolve as a franchise and they can do so tonight. The Wizards unlike most teams were able to really magnify the players they could take in the second round and see how they could fit in their organization.
One player that the Wizards really have taken a close look at is Ohio State swingman LaQuinton Ross. Ross worked out twice for the Wizards prior to tonight’s draft and the Wizards seem to like what they see in the 6-foot-8 swingman. Ross was a junior at Ohio State this season and averaged a very impressive 15.2 PPG along with 5.2 RPG. He also brings a solid jump shot from beyond the three point line as he shot .353% from beyond the arc last season and .389% the year before. The Wizards have been known to like their small forwards to shoot well behind the arc with such players like Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza on their squad last season.
Another player the Wizards worked out twice was Baylor forward Cory Jefferson who stands at 6-foot-9. Jefferson has shown the potential to stretch the defense with a solid midrange jumper like current Wizards Nene. In Jefferson’s junior season with the Bears he average 13.5 PPG and 8.4 RPG to be one of their more solid contributors.
In recent years the Wizards have drafted very poorly in the second round as they have centered most of their picks around foreign born players however this year it appears the Wizard have shifted their focus to college basketball players for their 46th overall pick.
If the Wizards wish to continue to compete and move further along in the playoffs in the coming years they will need to draft well in the second round and hopefully they can find players who can make an immediate impact like the NBA champion San Antonio’s sharp shooter Danny Green who was also a 46th overall selection.