With the lottery over, the many 2012 NBA Mock Draft projections that we see all across the web actually have some meaning. Now that the picks are locked in, we can really start to incorporate team needs into the picks and get a better idea of where the franchises may lean.
Early on, when it comes to the Washington Wizards and the No. 3 pick, there's a wide variety of possibilities. Here's a look at some early mock drafts.
- SB Nation, Tom Ziller: Thomas Robinson. In my opinion, here's the keystone pick, the choice that puts everything else in order. The players available to Cleveland, Sacramento, Portland and the rest obviously depend on what the Wizards decide, but it also moves the specific positional markets. There are a lot of big men in the 3-10 range; if the Wizards dip their toe in, those could begin to dry up more quickly than expected. If they go with the best wing or guard available, everyone else is sort of forced to take a big man. It's quite a predicament!
- Draft Express, Jonathan Givony: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. With the Wizards sporting the worst small forward rotation in the NBA this season, Kidd-Gilchrist could fill an immediate hole, bringing a degree of intensity and toughness that will immediately improve their perimeter defense. He's arguably the most competitive player in this draft. Still very much a work in progress offensively, he would form a lethal transition duo with speedster John Wall, as well as the hyper athletic Jan Vesely.
- CBS Sports, Matt Moore: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They have Chris Singleton, they have Jan Vesely, and they still need to take MKG. MKG gives Wall a devastating fast-break partner to run with and someone with an edge. He'll help with the team's porous defense as well.
- Sean Deveney, Sporting News: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist has the innate ability to be a top-tier perimeter defender, even as a rookie. Combine that with solid offensive skills and the kind of leadership intangibles coaches love, and he’ll help Washington immediately.
- USA Today: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Extremely athletic. Solid defender. Can guard multiple positions. Excellent in transition. Active rebounder.
ESPN, Chad Ford: Bradley Beal. The Wizards are obviously disappointed they didn't crack the No. 1 pick, but they should still get a great player. I think it will come down to Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal. In this mock, MKG is off the board, so the choice is much easier. Beal would be a great get for the Wizards. The team could really use a dominant 2-guard to pair with John Wall. Beal is a very good fit who should be able to step in and contribute right away.
- Real GM: Bradley Beal. Beal has the potential to be a top-3 shooting guard and form the most dynamic backcourt duo in the NBA with Wall. Passing on a shooter of Beal’s caliber for a highly questionable perimeter shooter in Kidd-Gilchrist is what this pick will be decided upon.
- CBS Sports, Jeff Goodman: Andre Drummond. It's difficult to pass up on someone as big, strong and talented as Drummond. He can be a monster -- if Randy Wittman can find a way to motivate him to play hard all the time.
- NBADraft.net: Andre Drummond. Drummond is the one prospect from this year's draft who has a chance to be even better than Anthony Davis. An absolute physical specimen, there isn't a prospect on the high school/college level even close to matching his physical attributes (strength/athleticism). The risk potential is high, as he could turn into a bust, as his passion for the game has been questioned and he didn't put up monster stats as a freshman. A John Wall and Drummond duo would be a fast and exciting one.