Alright, lottery day is almost here! Unfortunately this is some of the last remaining Wizards related news we'll probably get in the next few months, with the CBA issues a few months away from taking center stage and a lockout seeming likely. We are guaranteed the next six weeks of "fun" as Wizards fans, so lets the make the most out of them!
With that said, here's my "Pre-Lottery Wizards Big Board". These are my current rankings of players for the organization taking the following into consideration: how they appear to fit, best player available, and future projection of talent.
1. Kyrie Irving- Nothing like starting it off with a little...huh? Irving seems to be the consensus top overall pick due to their being more teams in the lottery in need of a PG, then that of a SF and Derrick Williams. Ideally, Irving could be swapped for a high pick this year (top 5) and a pick next year or a top 7 or 8 rotation player.
2. Derrick Williams- The Wizards are one of those teams that don't really care if Williams is a SF or PF, because neither of those positions are currently solidified. The best case is for Williams to be that wing player they currently lack in the mold of a Paul Pierce or Danny Granger, but if he turns out to be more a David West or Michael Beasley player, than that's fine too, as long as he becomes that 2nd or potentially 3rd star down the road for them.
3. Enes Kanter- It's hard to imagine we call this a weak draft, yet for the Wizards the 3rd prospect on the list is the unanimous choice of "best fit" for the franchise, coupled with the fact that he's got incredible upside to boot! Winning the 3rd spot in the draft lottery could be just as big for the franchise as getting the top overall spot was last year, I know I'll be just as happy! An 18 year old 6'10+", 250+ lbs that wants to play inside is exactly what this team is missing.
4. Kawhi Leonard- Call me late to the party or jumping on the bandwagon, but I'm starting to become a real believer in Leonard's abilities at the next level. What separates Leonard from the players ranked below him is that while all of these prospects have high ceilings, Leonard starts his career on a pretty high floor to begin with. At worst Leonard appears to be an excellent defensive player at the NBA level and one that can still scrap out 12 ppg due to his intangibles and hustle. I don't see Kawhi as necessarily the "2nd star" on the team, due to his limited abilities to create his own shot, but he's a good fit on any NBA team and a piece to the Wizards long term puzzle.
5. Bismack Biyombo- It doesn't bother me that BB lacks any sort of post game or that the team already invested a 1st rd pick last year in a raw big man project. What I see in Biyombo is a potential game changer on defense and just because he lacks offensive skills, his ability to bring a scary presence to the paint makes him worth the gamble. If the Thunder or the Bulls are the "models" for a rebuilding team to emulate, then you can see how both of those teams rely more on their perimeter players to score and their bigs to rebound and play defense. Biyombo would add to the "beef" the Wizards have recently acquired in Booker and Seraphin, I get excited to think about a Wizards front court that dishes out the pain, not receives it.
6. Alec Burks- For me Burks is clearly not only the best player available at this point, but also the player most likely to reach his potential in the NBA. Burks has a lot going for him right now. He's only 19 years old, but has already played two collegiate seasons. He's 6'6" and thin at 195 lbs, but that's only because he's recently grown 3 inches and possibly has room to grow taller. His athleticism is off the charts, while his perimeter game needs some work, yet having Chauncey "Big Shot" Billups as his mentor is an incredible fit. Burks is a do it all SG that will go down as a top 5 player from this class when all is said and done, so why not take him there?
7. Jan Vesely- So intriguing, so much physical ability, but not enough "game" to crack my top 5. In some ways Vesely is a dream come true for the Wizards. He's an extremely tall, long, and athletic SF that plays the game with incredible passion. However as much as his height, his length, his athleticism, and fire draw you towards Vesely, it's what his game lacks when you look closer that makes him need to be re-analyzed after passing the eye test. Vesely's biggest issue is his hands. He lacks both NBA level handles and catching skills needed to play on the perimeter. Vesely is the type of player that most coaches would dream of having in their front court to use in isolation situations.... if he had those one on one play making abilities. He'd be a mismatch anyway you look at it, he'd be to tall for most SF's to guard, yet to quick for most PF's to stay in front of, unfortunately at 21 years of age, Vesely compares age wise to a college junior leaving a year early, which is a little later in the developmental process to be working on increasing his ball skills. If Vesely were 18 or 19, he's a top 3 pick guaranteed, at 21 he slips down to mid lottery.