The Wizards sent the number 3 overall pick from last year’s draft, Bradley Beal, as their good luck charm to the Draft Lottery last night, and instead he turned out to be a gem for them as the Wizards in return got more than anyone thought they would earn: the opportunity to pick third overall again in this year’s draft.
Defying plenty lottery odds — 70.2% chance of picking 8th, and 12.4% chance of picking in the top 3 — the Wizards got a jump start to what will be an eventful offseason for them as they seek to accrue more surrounding talent for John Wall and Bradley Beal. With the addition of the right pick next month, the Wizards should finally have their building blocks for playoff contention cemented. Finally.
Pleasantly blindsided by Adam Silver’s announcement, Wizards fans will now enter a whole new realm of draft speculation. For a few weeks now, names like Alex Len and Shabazz Muhammad had been most mentioned as prospective additions to the Wiz Kids, but now with the opportunity to draft higher, fans have immediately started to scout the more prominent players in this year’s class.
While the ACL injury to Nerlens Noel will most likely keep the speculation for top pick swirling up until draft night, his tremendous upside will keep most people confident that he will still go first to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That said, it’s pretty apparent that hometown favorite and Georgetown standout Otto Porter is the obvious guy atop the Wizards’ wish list, with Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, and Anthony Bennett rounding it up.
The possible void in the Wizards’ front court with Nene’s health and Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract will keep a big man prospect on the draft radar, so I expect the chatter about guys like Len, Cody Zeller, or even Gorgui Dieng to still continue.
What’s key here is that we can finally..err..HOPEFULLY botch all the rhetoric about drafting another Euro. Dario Saric and Rudy Gober – I’m sure your upside and potential is as prevalent as the other Grunfeld draftees from overseas, but I’ll be happy to say you’re just going to have to be part of another GM’s “plan” this time around.
And then of course there’s always the option to trade the pick. Fans and media across the District have been split on that idea, with some praising the option to trade the pick for a proven veteran who could make an immediate impact. But then there’s the shuddering thought of a trade. You know, the one that triggers unwanted memories of Randy Foye and Mike Miller donning their new Wizards uniforms in the press room after Ernie Grunfeld traded the 5th overall pick for them in 2009. And the last thing us fans want is Grunfeld picking up any old habits. Since 2010, the Wizards have struck gold twice in the draft with the selections of Wall and Beal, but completely struck out in the 2011 Draft with the selections of Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton.
Either way, the Wizards have 36 days before there are officially on the clock, and the options are once again flourishing in front of them. We’ll have more lottery coverage from Harrison Weinhold coming up in a bit..