Follow the bread crumbs...
The Wizards have only brought in four projected 1st round players to DC to workout or meet since the lottery:
- Otto Porter
- Anthony Bennett
- Mason Plumlee
- Nerlens Noel
Now which one doesn't fit with the rest? Obviously that's Plumlee, but why did they bring him in? Clearly he's not a top 3 pick.
On June 8th the rumors surfaced about a potential Ilyasova deal to DC for the 3rd pick, with the 15th pick coming to DC, ergo Plumlee's workout. Now the Wizards met with over a dozen prospects at the combine including all of the names discussed in the middle to end of the lottery, however only Plumlee got the call back. So either trade discussions with the Bucks broke off or they absolutely love Plumlee and made up their mind.
The day after Plumlee came to DC Anthony Bennett arrived, followed by Otto Porter the next day, which makes perfect sense since the Bennett/Porter debate has well be chronicled since May's lottery results were revealed.
The Cavaliers obviously push over the first domino, but while it was once a forgone conclusion that Noel would go #1, there was a lot of negativity coming from Cleveland regarding Noel in the last couple of weeks, with Alex Len being the most recent hot "sleeper pick" to go first overall.
Perhaps there is some merit to Noel not going #1, because he wouldn't meet with the Wizards at the combine based on their low odds to win the top pick, however as the draft got closer Noel did come to DC to meet with the Wizards and was the last projected 1st rd pick they've met with.
Now what does this mean? Nothing? Something? Everything?
Clearly the Wizards could very well in fact draft a player they didn't bring in for a workout or meeting, but that wouldn't make sense based on them having such a high pick. Typically a team might select a player that "fell" to them in the draft, somebody they weren't expecting to be there, but had a higher grade on, but that's not the case here.
Basically it's down to Noel, Porter, and Bennett.
So here it is. If Noel slips to #3 and the Wizards were impressed by his interview, he may be their guy. However if he's gone it comes down to Porter vs. Bennett (again) and with everything that's been said about how the Wizards want to build their team, Porter is definitely more in the mold of players that they're looking for.
As far as their two 2nd round picks are concerned. Don't expect them to package them together to move up into the back of the 1st rd or make a trade to move up into the 20's, since they didn't workout a single player projected to be taken in that range. Based on the workouts, the Wizards will look to grab a "stretch 4" type with the 38th pick (James Southerland, Jackie Carmichael, Michael Muscala, and DeShaun Thomas all worked out for them). While Ernie will no doubt be using the 54th pick on a Euro, probably from Partizan, (so just look on their roster and throw a dart and you may be right).
There you have it. If I'm following the bread crumbs from Grunfeld I'm seeing the Wizards drafting Noel or Porter 3rd overall, a "stretch 4" 38th, and a player from team Partizan 54th.
Maybe Ernie's got some tricks up his sleeve? However "coy" is not an adjective I've ever heard used to describe him. I see his intentions clearly from here, maybe I'll be wrong on Thursday, maybe Ernie will surprise me?