A consensus is building that the heady move would be for the Wizards to trade the 18th pick in this year's draft, as making that next step doesn't likely involve getting younger. I'll go on record saying that I think Ernie Grunfeld should find a way to pull the trigger, even if it's just for a future first rounder. But just in case, here are some prospects who might suit the Wizards if they're on the clock.
D.J. Augustin (5-11, 175, 20 years)
Now, if the Wiz were were picking earlier, I wouldn't mind nabbing a point guard to groom. D.J. Augustin, out of Texas, is a smooth player. Many thought his stellar freshman year was simply a side-effect from playing with Kevin Durant. However, in Augustin's sophomore campaign his assists only went down 0.9 (also took 0.5 off his turnovers), and his points went up by 4.8. D.J. Augustin has a nice outside stroke and deceptive strength, but he got badly out-played by Memphis' Derrick Rose in the Elite Eight....a moot point as Augustin will probably go in the top 15. The Big Lead profiles D.J. Augustin.
Russell Westbrook (6-3, 187, 19 years)
This UCLA product could be available, but he is raw and not a true point guard. Nonetheless, his athleticism and handcuffing defense sticks in my mind. The fact that he seemingly came out of nowhere raises flags, but Westbrook sure did have a sick dunk on Cal this year. Nineteen years old tells me that he's not ready to immediately contribute, and the Wizards are living more in the now. ClipperBlog.com has a great profile on Westbrook.
Ty Lawson (5-11, 175, 20 years)
At UNC, I was mesmerized by Lawson's ability to push the ball in transition, creating for others with quickness. I'm not so sure that fits in with the Wizards style. As Prada has cited before, KnickerBlogger ranks the Wizards 26th in the league in pace, right in front of San Antonio, Portland, and Detroit. It would be nice to have a super quick guard (outside of a healthy Gilbert) to push the rock up the court, but not if the guy can't shoot....a perimeter game Lawson does not possess.
Chris Douglass-Roberts (6-7, 200, 21 years)
I gotta say I like this kid. His offensive game reminds me of Antawn Jamison's. Not so much AJ's hook shot / trick post-game, but more the ability to hit unconventional shots. CDR is fearless in going to the hoop and can be the Pad-Lock to Stevenson's Lock Smith. Jump shooting? Well, there's always Dave Hopla.
Brandon Rush (6-7, 211, 22 years)
Rush used Kansas' run in the NCAA tournament to prove that he was fully back from an ACL tear in May of 2007. The surgery has become so advanced and young kids bounce back....so no worries there. Rush brings a composed game and will hound the opposition on defense. He doesn't have a reputation of getting to the basket, and that reminds me of Caron Butler. 82games.com tells us that 73% of Caron Butler's attempts are jump shots, compared to say Richard Jefferson (62%) or Gerald Wallace (52%), or even Ron Artest (66%).
The DC Pro Sports Report NBA Mock Draft Database mentions many other possibilities for the Wizards....such as Robin Lopez , brother of Brook (the Lopez twins are a little too into Michael Jackson for comfort ). Or JaVale McGee out of Nevada. Or Darrell Arthur out of Kansas. Or Marreese Speights out of Florida. Or, etc.
I'm not as knowledgeable on these big men. The prospects above are just something to get the conversation started....as I'm sure there will be many future draft discussions. Drop your thoughts/suggestions in the comments.
I've heard the clamoring for Roy Hibbert. His defense sounds nice in theory (yea, yea...Princeton Offense too), but in practice, he is too lumbering and mechanical to be able to get between spots in Randy Ayers' match-up-hybrid-zone defense. Hibbert is supposed to be a hard worker and a willing to learn, and that's why I could be wrong about him. But in the end, I don't see him improving the quickness needed to be in Eddie Jordan's system. Does anyone else feel that Hibbert would be Peter John Ramos minus an inch?
I'll be curious to see Prada's upcoming profile on Roy Hibbert.....like me, he seems to think the guy's a stiff, but his analysis might change my mind, as well as his.
Right now, 20% of the NBA mock drafts in the DC Pro Sport Report database have the Wizards selecting Roy Hibbert.
Chase Budinger. This one should be obvious. He makes Gilbert Arenas look like Ron Artest on defense.
Marcus Haislip (Overseas Free Agent) 6-10, 230
Remember this guy? He blew up coming out of the University of Tennessee and was taken in the lottery by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 13th pick in 2002. The GM of the Bucks back then? Our Ernie Grunfeld. Of course, Marcus has since been considered a bust…I’m sure that Ernie can attest as to why Haislip’s initial NBA experience was a failure. But what matters now is what improvements he has made on and off the court. Haislip's last flirtation with the NBA was in the summer league with the Timberwolves in 2005. Since, he’s played two seasons in Turkey and this past season in Spain. His Euro resume includes: 2 time Turkish all-star, ’07 Euroleague all-import team, ’07 All-Euroleague honorable mention. However, in the end, Haislip might just be an older Andray Blatche who plays more on the perimeter.
- Plus: Freak athlete…runs the court, blocks shots, patrols the paint, the will to defend, versatility, ability to play outside…..and he can shoot better than 75% on FTs.
- Minus : Fundamentals, Shot Selection, Decision Making (ouch…these were his downsides from the beginning).
Ramunas Siskauskas (Overseas Free Agent) 6-6, 203, 29 years old
This guy ain’t your father’s Sarunas Jasikevicius or your mother’s Marco Belinelli. Rated the #1 Overseas Free Agent prospect by Draft Express, Ramunas is a Lithuanian bruiser who can play three positions. He various internet profiles recount tales of versatility, ball handling, smarts (experienced as he’s 29 years old), quickness, excellent defense….and he can shoot the hell out the ball, typically 40%+ from long distance. He is currently leading one of the best non-NBA teams out there, CSKA Moscow. The more I read about the guy, the more I fall in love with him….and thus, the more unattainable he becomes. Can D-Songaila recruit his fellow countryman?
Dimitris Diamantidis (Overseas Free Agent) 6-5, 215, 28 years old
This Greek is ranked the #3 overseas prospect by Draft Express. It seems like people have a hard time explaining his offense and he appears to do a lot of things "okay" – but as Draft Express puts it, he earns his paycheck with his defense. His nickname is the Octopus because of his long arms.
- Plus: Has been named one of the top Euroleague defenders, Willing to distribute, Active on D, Energy, Court Vision, Intelligence.
- Minus: Not much of an offensive player (mostly a spot up shooter, which actually might be good – averaged 8.5 ppg and 43.5% from beyond the arc), He might not be ready to give the NBA a shot (he’s signed to his team through 2010), Can be considered a risk as his game might not translate.
As the draft gets closer, after we've found out the lottery order and whether or not the Wizards have traded #18, we can begin to discuss late-draft sleepers. Feel free to drop any ideas on the next Arenas-esque 2nd rounder in the comments as well.