While more of our franchise's future rides on a pick on the other side of the first round, the second first-round pick that we acquired from Cleveland in the Antawn Jamison trade provides a good opportunity to fill a need that we are unable to address with our earlier pick. So what prospects look to be available in the late first round, and what positions should be our areas of need?
With a fortuitous draw at the Draft Lottery, we might have a chance to draft a certain freshman point guard out of Kentucky, but most of the high lottery prospects that the Wizards would be interested in drafting are small forwards (Evan Turner [which would be great], Wesley Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu) or centers (DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Cole Aldrich [ugh]). The Wizards should be looking to pick up a center at some point in the draft, and most of the non-lottery prospects seem to be falling in the mid-first and mid-second rounds, so the Wiz would probably be better served to pick up a center with their second-round pick to get one closer to its value if Cousins, Favors of Aldrich isn't a Wizard next season. That leaves the position of shooting guard as the best position to be looking for, and there are a number of prospects that seem to be falling near the bottom of the first round and the beginning of the second that the Wizards might be interested in.
While some mock drafts have him going considerably higher, Avery Bradley from Texas might be a good player to take a flier on if he's available when the Wizards are on the clock. While his red flags (not a good passer, not an efficient offensive player) justifiably give the weary Wizards fan pause, he has proven to be a very capable perimeter defensive player in addition to a good shot creator and a good jump-shooter. Draft Express writes that Bradley's value might be greater to certain teams that already have pieces in place that complement his game:
"Playing alongside a big shot creator (such as Tyreke Evans or Dwayne Wade) who can defend 2’s, or coming off the bench to play off the ball and defend opposing point guards or combo guards are situations he could find himself excelling in."
While Gilbert Arenas isn't the slasher that Dwyane Wade is, Gilbert's driving ability nevertheless demands attention on defense that can leave the other perimeter player open for kick-out threes. This feeds well into Bradley's ability as a catch-and-shoot scorer outside the arc, and on defense Bradley could switch onto opposing point guards and let the larger Gilbert cover the other team's twos. If Bradley could fill a role like DeShawn Stevenson's in 2006-07, yet with a better fundamental jump shot, Bradley could be a valuable piece for the Wizards going forward.
If Bradley is off the board, the Wizards could turn to slasher Dominique Jones of South Florida, who would bring an aggressive attitude to the shooting guard position, and who has the potential and size to be a solid NBA defender to boot. While Draft Express writes that his shooting accuracy isn't great in tight quarters, he has three point range and a solid shot in space, and also has some passing ability, playing a hybrid guard position in college.
Bradley and Jones project to be solid prospects that might be available to the Wizards in the late first round. However, since I am in the "draft for need" camp, I am looking mainly at prospects who can provide a perimeter threat and solid defense at the 2 guard position, perhaps in exclusion to more talented players who play positions that are deeper on the Wizards roster (if the Wizards are deep at any position, that is). What does the Bullets Forever community think is a good way to spend our second first-round pick?
By the way, I didn't include Greivis Vasquez on this list because chances are very high that he'd be available when we picked in the second round, and even then the Wizards might be reaching a bit in picking him.