There’s been quite a bit of discussion about who the Wizards should pick. There are plenty of great players in the draft and plenty of great articles on this board about who the Wizards should pick. I’d, however, like to talk about some interesting options the Wizards have based on finishing in the top 4 in the NBA Draft. With this assumption and assuming most of the players who are projected to get drafted in the lottery stay in the lottery, the Wizards have some opportunities to “win” significantly with trades with either the Pistons and Trailblazers (who conditionally own the Nets pick). These trading scenarios become significantly more likely if the Nets win and the Pistons lose a bit.
Why you should be cheering the Nets.
In the Gerald Wallace trade, the Nets traded away their 1st round pick to the Trailblazers. The pick, however, is top 3 protected. The Nets need to lose to keep the pick. This trade should turn out spectacularly for the Blazers, since by gaining Wallace, the Nets have enough talent to move to the early middle to middle lottery range (5-8). Assuming the Blazers don’t win the lottery themselves, their pick should fall in the 11-13th pick.
Here’s what a potential trade between the Wizards and Blazers would look like based upon ESPN draft lottery/Draft Express: Wizards pick 2, Blazers pick 5th and 13th: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for Bradley Beal and Jared Sullinger. How fantastic would that be? Fixing our two biggest holes in one draft! The key is making sure the Nets win, so the pick is high enough, the Blazers have an incentive to trade up with their pick.
Why you should be cheering for the Pistons to lose a bit.
The Pistons are currently tied with 3 teams for the 7th worse record. If they don’t win the draft lottery and their position stays the same, they could pick anywhere from 7th-12th . I have previously argued for the following trade with the Pistons: “If the Piston’s pick falls between 6-10, the Wizards should offer Rashard Lewis and his expiring contract and a 2nd round pick for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villeneavu/Tayshaun Prince and the Piston’s midlottery pick.” http://www.bulletsforever.com/2012/2/2/2765885/donning-the-grunfeld-moustache. I still think that’s true.
The Pistons are already projected to be over the salary cap next year. If the pick falls into the 6-10 range, it would make sense for both sides to make the previous deal. Here's a list of players projected to fall in the 6-10 range who make sense for the Wizards: Harrison Barnes, Cody Zeller, James Michael McAdoo, and Perry Jones.
If the Wizards can make both these deals, here’s what a potential Wizard team could look like next year:
SF- Harison Barnes, Jan Vesselly, Chris Singleton
C- Nene, Kevin Seraphin
They would also still be under the salary cap. If they amnestied Blatche, the Wizard would still have room to make a significant free agent acquisition.
So Cheer the Nets and Boo the Pistons a little bit. It makes sense for the draft.