Who Should the Wizards Pick in the Mid To Late 1st Round?

Already knowing who the Wizards are going to pick with our #1 is taking a little bit of the fun out of the draft ........ until I remember that we get John Wall! One more time: John Wall!  I strongly encourage all Wiz fans to revel in the draft day glory by doing the John Wall dance, drinking a John Wall shot, taping "Wall" over "Arenas" on your Wizards or anything else you can to 'pinch' yourself.

 

But seriously, given that the draft is increasingly difficult to figure out by the time you get to the Wizards final two picks, I have decided to focus my attention on who the Wizards might select with the pick we are likely to acquire in the late-teens or 20s (which apparently won't come cheap). The Wiz have given little indication to this point of where they are leaning at any pick other than Wall, but as you know, I have my opinions.  I used Chad Ford's 5th mock draft to compile the list of the top 35 prospects by position (but he is up 6 now).  I think the mock draft is better than his actual ranking because it takes account who is available at what spot.  My guidelines/assumptions are:

  • We will not draft another PG with Wall for playing time reasons. A combo guard, however, is very possible.

  • Ted Leonsis understands this is a rebuilding effort that will take more than a season or two, so we will not be pushed to take someone who can contribute immediately.

  • We are in a position where we can take the best talent available. Although we have our lineup for this season pretty set with Wall, Gilbert Arenas, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee taking four of the five spots, we do not have any players on our roster who are 100% guaranteed to be here more than one season except for Wall. As much as it makes sense to take a guy who fits a hole, such as a good shooter/defender SF, the best course of action seems to be stockpiling talent.

  • Please note that these are my opinions, and not based on any rumors of who the Wiz brass actually like.

  • As a stat nerd, I put a bit of stock in John Hollinger's draft rater. His metrics are not perfect, but the track record has been decent enough that it is worth taking into account. Just because I have put them as the only stat next to each player's name overstates the weight I give the metrics though

Without further adieu, here are the potential first round picks by position, with names crossed-out that I have arbitrarily eliminated from consideration. John Hollinger's PER and the player's PER ranking amongst the entire draft class are in parentheses:

PG

Eric Bledsoe (11.66, #21)

Armon Johnson (10.98, #31)

Dominique Jones (NR)

Willie Warren (10.71, #40)

 

Bledsoe, Johnson, Warren are close-ish to pure PGs and thus not fits positionally, but Jones I think could work. I am a bit biased on him, as I was a witness to the game when he absolutely decimated Georgetown and showed that when he is on, he is a remarkable scorer. He actually reminds me a bit of Johnny Flynn, in that there are stretches where he gets in the zone and is phenomenal, but does not get into zone enough. I believe the NR from Hollinger is a really bad sign though, although I'm surprised he didn't show up, as he posted some decent numbers last year. He might be better saved for our #30 pick, but if you like the guy enough, you have to take him.

 

SG

Avery Bradley (10.42, #45)

Xavier Henry (13.52, #6)

James Anderson (11.98, #15)

Lance Stephenson (NR)

Jordan Crawford (11.32, #24)

 

It'll be tough to find minutes behind Gil this year, but there could be room when Wall sits and Gil runs PG, as well as (hopefully) in two years when we don't have a SG under contract. 

 

I put a lot of stock in high school talent and performance in the high school All-American games, and still remember Stephenson being the go-to guy in crunch time at the McDonalds All-American game 2 years ago. He didn't flash the kind of talent I saw in Brandon Jennings at the same point, but "Born Ready" has the ability despite character issues. Anderson does not have much room for growth, so I am not a huge fan even though he'd be a nice fit as a shooter. I think Bradley and Henry are stretches, but either could slip and have the talent.  Crawford I have seen going anywhere from mid-first to early-second, but I like him and know it only takes one team to like a player.  Crawford should also already be a favorite of Wiz fans thanks to dunking on Lebron James about a year ago.

 

SF

Gordon Hayward (111.87, #17)

Paul George (11.87, #16)

Damion James (12.44, #13)

Quincy Pondexter (11.08, #29)

Stanley Robinson (NR)

 

This is the one position where someone could come in and play big minutes right away.  The first two guys on the list are possible lottery picks, but I am big fan if either falls. More realistically, Damion James is a classic substance guy who teams overlook, although his value has been pretty high.  I think Robinson can be a tremendous energy and defense guy, although a pick in the 20s might be too high for him; although I hate UConn, he would be a great 2nd round pick.  Pondexter I would be okay with, but just don't see the upside I do with some of the SGs.

 

PF

Ekpe Udoh (10.03, #50)

Patrick Patterson (10.79, #37)

Kevin Seraphin (NA)

Larry Sanders (11.07, #30)

Craig Brackins (9.56, #65)

Keith "Tiny" Gallon (11.13, #28)

 

I don't like this group at all.   I hate Udoh as a prospect, and Hollinger's numbers agree.  Patterson has too little room for growth.  Larry Sanders, on the other hand, is a little too much upside and not enough production for me.  Brackins is a guy I like, but think he is not the Wizards style and that Hollinger rating scares me.  Given what could be a large haul of picks, I think taking Seraphin and stashing him overseas for at least a year would be a great and reasonable idea, although I know very little about him.  Seraphin's 'NA' is from Hollinger not including foreign players in his metrics. Tiny Gallon has a ton of potential but will likely be better for our 2nd round pick.

 

C

Hassan Whiteside (9.65, #62)

Solomon Alabi (9.52, #68)

Daniel Orton (12.15, #14)

 

Not a lot of options here. I left Aldrich off because I just think there is no way he slips particularly far.  Outside of him though, I am not too excited about this group.  Whiteside, Alabi, and Orton are classic big guys with upside and no production.  In Hollinger's draft rater, Aldrich, Whiteside, and Alabi ranked 36, 62, and 68, while Orton ranked No. 14.  Orton also has an excuse for lack of production because of limited PT behind Patterson and Cousins.

 

After all of that, here are the 10 guys I like who could be available at a pick the Wiz could reasonably obtain (in order from article):

  1. Dominique Jones
  2. Avery Bradley

  3. Xavier Henry

  4. Lance Stephenson

  5. Jordan Crawford

  6. Paul George

  7. Gordon Hayward
  8. Damion James

  9. Kevin Seraphin

  10. Daniel Orton

Barring a major slide, Bradley, Henry, Hayward, and George will all go too high, so we are realistically left with  (in order from article):

  1. Dominique Jones
  2. Lance Stephenson

  3. Jordan Crawford

  4. Damion James

  5. Kevin Seraphin

  6. Daniel Orton

I think some kind of a dream scenario would be James with the extra pick, and then Crawford #30, and Stanley Robinson #35.  That would give us three guys I think will stick in the NBA, and two of them getting decent minutes at SF this year.  Maybe someone slips, or maybe the Wiz package picks to make a trade, so the possibilities are almost endless, but I think we are staying put and going for quantity.

I know this is opening up a whole can of everyone giving who they like in the draft  I think I have a pretty good track record, but lets hear what everyone else thinks.

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