Who will the Wizards select in the upcoming draft?

The top 6 slots in the upcoming draft are pretty much set. With Cleveland having the best chance of landing the number 1 pick and then the Timberwolves and so on down the line.

There may be some minor shuffling between now and the end of the season. I think Cleveland has the worst record locked down. It's possible that Washington could end up anywhere from 2nd to 6th on the list...

Here are the current standings and that clubs chances to land the #1 pick

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  • Cleveland 10-47 (25% chance)   (The Cavaliers also have the 8th pick, courtesy of the Clippers)
  • Minnesota 13-45 (19.9% chance)
  • Sacramento 14-41 (15.6% chance)
  • Washington 15-41 (11.9% chance)
  • Toronto 16-42 (8.8% chance)
  • Utah from NJ 17-40 (6.3% chance)  (The Jazz also have the 14th pick, from the Deron Williams Trade)



The top 8 or 9 players are pretty much known as well. There can always be someone that jumps into the Lottery after a great NCAA Tournament run... but for the most part, the top players have been the top players all year... and should be the top players when the draft rolls around.


Washington will get a pick anywhere from #1 to #6. Below the jump, I'll explain why it doesn't matter, because they'll be drafting Jared Sullinger no matter where they are picking from.

So how do the Wizards end up drafting Jared Sullinger? In order to understand my reasoning, we need to look at the other team's needs, and their probable draft boards. Every team goes into the draft with a graded list of players; from the best player in the draft to next best, and on down the line. Also, most teams use a "tiered" system... ranking sets of players in tiers based on talent, team needs, upside and other measurements. For more on the tiered system, read this.

Here is my tiered list for the Wizards. This is based on my own personal evaluation of these players. I believe that both Irving and Perry Jones belong in the top tier. Their skills, physical attributes, upside and intangibles put them ahead of the other players. I've include 6 players in tier two... There is a tier 3, and a tier 4 etc... Players are ranked in each tier based on team need... So although the players for each tier may be the same for each team, the team needs would order the players differently within the tiers.

Washington Draft Board:
Tier 1
Perry Jones
Kyrie Irving


Tier 2
Jarred Sullinger
Enes Kanter
Derrick Williams
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Jonas Valanciunas

So with that said, let's look at the other teams drafting early in the 2011 NBA draft.

Cleveland needs the best player available, but if I were the Cavaliers organization I'd be hoping for Kyrie Irving. You always are better off selecting a great Point Guard over a great wing player - because contrary to what you might think, Point Guards are harder to find. I know that seems wrong since there's been an influx of great Point Guards over the last few years; starting with Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2005 and on through Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russel Westbrook and now John Wall... but when you have the chance to get a great quarterback for your team, you take it. So how would Cleveland's draft board look? Well they have a pretty good defensive center in Varejao and an emerging young big man in PF J.J. Hickson. Obviously, if Kyrie Irving is gone they would take Perry Jones... but what if Jones is gone by the time Cleveland picks? Here's how I see them picking:

Cleveland Draft Board:
Tier 1
Kyrie Irving
Perry Jones

Tier 2
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Jarred Sullinger
Derrick Williams
Enes Kanter
Jonas Valanciunas

Minnesota drafted three point Guards in the first round in last year's draft (Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson). They got rid of Ty Lawson, but then picked up Luke Ridnour and Sebastian Telfair. Telfair has played OK, but Ridnour has been better. My guess is that they'll trade Jonny Flynn, dump Telfair and keep Ridnour when Rubio comes over next year (snicker, snicker....). That's a long winded way of saying that the Timberwolves won't draft Kyrie Irving. Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic are not getting it done at Center... and they can use wing help, especially at Shooting Guard. Unfortunately, there are no Shooting Guards in the top two tiers, so they will most likely just take the best available player, or Center... If Perry Jones is available, they'd have to pick him... Otherwise they could look at Jonas Valanciunas. He is a 6'11" center with incredibly long arms - and while Enes Kanter sits in Kentucky fading from General Manager's memories, Valanciunas is playing in the toughest league outside the NBA (EuroLeague) and putting up outstanding numbers. They could also go with Harrison Barnes here, hoping to turn him into a 6'8" shooting guard (he has the skills).

Minnesota Draft Board:
Tier 1
Perry Jones
Kyrie Irving


Tier 2
Jonas Valanciunas
Enes Kanter
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Jarred Sullinger
Derrick Williams


Sacramento drafted their Point Guard of the future two years ago when they took Tyreke Evans. Last year, they selected their Power Forward in Demarcus Cousins. Unless they have confidence in Omri Caspi or Donte Green, they need a Small Forward. They still seem to have confidence in Jason Thompson as their Center, even though, after 3 years he has shown little improvement. I think Sacramento will take Perry Jones if he's available.... and if not they could go with Harrison Barnes or if they prefer a Center,  Valanciunas.


Sacramento Draft Board:
Tier 1
Perry Jones
Kyrie Irving


Tier 2
Harrison Barnes
Enes Kanter
Jonas Valanciunas
Derrick Williams
Terrence Jones
Jarred Sullinger


Now we come to the Wizards. They drafted their star Point Guard John Wall in last year's draft. They've got some intriguiging young players in Nick Young, who can score with the best of them; Trevor Booker who has gotten better as the year has gone on; Kevin Seraphin who seems to relish contact and has rolled out a sweet baby hook shot in the last several games ; and JaVale McGee, who despite his aggravating propensity for making defensive mistakes, still has a tremendous upside. The Wizards need a back-up Point Guard, but that need can be filled either later in the draft or by picking up a veteran (minimum contract) free agent. They also need an inside scoring threat and a Small Forward. The Wizards DESPERATELY need rebounding.  If they are lucky enough to get a top 2 pick, and Perry Jones is available, they will have to take him. There's just too much upside there to pass on. Otherwise, Jared Sullinger and Enes Kanter should be sitting right there for Ernie to choose between. Here is where Kanters inelligibility really hurts - because Sullinger is putting up tremendous productivity - whereas Kanter showed up for one good game in 2010. With so much more information to go on with Sullinger, and the lack of anything for Kanter, the Wizards have to select Jared Sullinger. They simply cannot take the chance on an unproven commodity.

Washington Draft Board:
Tier 1
Perry Jones
Kyrie Irving


Tier 2
Jarred Sullinger
Enes Kanter
Derrick Williams
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Jonas Valanciunas



As you will see below, even if the Wizards drop to the 5th or 6th selection, Sullinger will most likely still be available.


Toronto needs help. Bad. Their Center (Bargnani) is alergic to rebounding and inside play in general. Their so-so Point Guard (Calderon) has a poisonous contract. They do have some young players (Jarryd Bayless, DeMarr Derozan and Ed Davis) that could form the core of a rebuild, but they will have to jettison Calderon and probably Andrea Bargnani before they have enough cap flexibility to really matter. As for need? Start with a solid wing player and the need for a defensive minded, rebounding Center. Obviously if they're lucky, and get a top 2 pick, Perry Jones is the selection. Otherwise in the 5th or 6th slot, they should take Harrison Barnes.

Toronto Draft Board:
Tier 1
Kyrie Irving
Perry Jones


Tier 2
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Derrick Williams
Jarred Sullinger
Enes Kanter
Jonas Valanciunas


Utah has New Jersey's selection by way of the Deron Williams trade. Obviously if they get the #1 or #2 pick, and he's available, they should take Kyrie Irving. That way, Irving can learn from and eventually take over the Point Guard duties from Devin Harris.   Utah is pretty well set for interior scoring, both now, and in the future with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and newly acquired Derrick Favors. What they lack is wing players. They will be losing     Andrei Kirilenko and Raja Bell will be 35. Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, in that order.

Tier 1
Perry Jones
Kyrie Irving


Tier 2
Harrison Barnes
Terrence Jones
Derrick Williams
Jarred Sullinger
Enes Kanter
Jonas Valanciunas

As you can see, the teams picking after Washington really don't need Jarred Sullinger because he either duplicates something they already have (Utah), or because there are more important needs (Toronto). So, if somehow they leap frog Washington in the Lottery, the Wizards should still see Jared Sullinger available when their turn comes.

The interesting fact about this draft is that there are TWO teams with 2 picks in the Lottery. As it stands now, Cleveland has #1 and #8 - and Utah has #6 and #14.. Now obviously, the Draft Lottery will determine the actual draft order. But let's speculate here... How could the Wizards end up getting two picks, and STILL end up with Jared Sullinger as one of those picks?

How about if the Wizards, by some miracle of the ping pong balls, were to get the #1 pick for the second year in a row. Well, they don't really need Kyrie Irving....... and Perry Jones (with all his upside and physical skills) has yet to show much productivity at the College level. I think he has a very high ceiling, but he is primarily a perimeter player - and the Wizards already have several perimeter oriented big men.

 

Both Irving and Perry Jones play positions of need for Utah and Cleveland. Both Irving OR Perry could be enough to entice either Cleveland or Utah to consider a swap of first round picks. For instance  - Wizard's #1 pick and #22 (from Atlanta) for the Utah Jazz #6 and #14 seems like a pretty fair swap to me; and at #6, Sullinger should still be there.

Ok everyone - fire away. Do you see the draft flowing differently? How about the Wizards needs? Do we want Kanter, even though he's a relatively unknown commodity? Does Harrison Barnes fit the Wizards needs better? Did I forget anything?

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