We've spent the last two weeks deliberating over drafting for need in the second round. There's a gaping hole in the frontcourt and, more importantly a dearth of young talent on the bench. Washington's second unit got by on the backs of three players over the age of 30, and something tells me that's not going to cut it over the 82-game grind.
But thinking they have to come away from this draft with a front court player is short-sighted. They have two burgeoning All-Stars in the backcourt, but very little behind them. Backup point guards are a dime a dozen in this league and have proven to be useful commodities when placed in the right situation. Chicago signed D.J. Augustin midway through the season, after all.
But if you're able to get one on a non-guaranteed second-round contract, what's the harm? Furthermore, why not pursue one now with Andre Miller still there to show him the ropes?
The situation behind Beal is a little more fluid. They have two small forwards under contract that can slide down to play the two in this offense, but it's not exactly a smooth transition. A lot of Martell Webster's pitfalls stemmed from the fact that he simply couldn't slide his feet against quicker guards. Perhaps Otto Porter can ameliorate some of those shortcomings moving forward, but he too can't be counted on every night.
I have no idea what the Wizards will do with the No. 46 pick in the draft. It's possible they choose to sell the pick or spend it on a prospect they can stash overseas for a few years. Drafting and stashing wouldn't count against the cap, for example.
But the Wizards worked out a number of prospects and are in a good position to snag a useful role player in an extremely deep draft class if they so choose. Here are my preferences, based off a combination of team need and best player available.
1. Spencer Dinwiddie, SG, Colorado
Players that can create for themselves and others will always be at the top of my list. Washington will have to be patient with him as he recovers from an ACL injury, but it's something they can afford. It's a win-win for both sides, and Dinwiddie was never the most athletic or most explosive player on the floor as is. He was a matchup nightmare at the college ranks with his 6'6 frame and ability to play both guard positions. He has an array of advanced dribbles that gets him into the lane and make plays and he's improved his perimeter shooting each season.
2. Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde
He's a 7'3 shot blocker. I don't have to explain any further, but I will. From everything I've gathered, he has excellent mobility, which bodes well for him as a pick and roll defender and ability to help along the weak side. He's not particularly explosive, nor is he much of a threat with the ball in his hands, but he'd be an excellent coup for Washington if they manage to trade up a few slots for him. Obviously, he is verrrrrrryyyyyy raw.
3. Russ Smith, PG, Louisville
As you can tell, I'm firmly on the Russ Smith bandwagon. I loved Pierre Jackson's speed and explosive nature a year ago, and see a lot of the same in Smith.. What he does best -- getting into the lane and collapsing the defense -- can translate quickly to the NBA. He knows exactly when to make the dump-off pass and senses where the help is coming from. With some coaching and schooling from Professor Andre Miller, he can have a long career.
4. Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri
I think he's one of the most underrated prospects in the draft. He put himself on the map by transferring to an SEC school while maintaining his level of play from his junior season. He's more of a combo guard, but that's exactly the type of player I'm targeting if I'm Ernie Grunfeld. I wouldn't want him being the primary ball handler, but his athleticism and ability to attack the rim makes him a very intriguing pick.
5. Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State
Playing alongside Marcus Smart in the backcourt did two things for Brown: it made him comfortable as a secondary ball handler and it taught him how to play away from the ball. Brown has raised his shooting percentages in all four years at Stillwater and he's a significantly better passer and ball handler than he's given credit for being. A lot of shooting guards projected in the second round struggle to make it in the NBA because they're forced to adjust their playing style, but Brown has a leg up on them. He can thrive as a spot-up shooter than hounds guards the length of the floor on defense.
6. Patric Young, C, Florida
You know what you're going to get with Young. He'll switch onto guards, play rugged defense down low and carve out rebounding position against anyone. The question is whether he can do enough on offense to constitute playing time.
7. Cory Jefferson, PF, Baylor
Jefferson stayed on for four years at Baylor and not once was he ever the first option on offense. He was always stuck playing behind NBA talent and in Scott Drew's gimmicky zone defenses that left him defending on the perimeter. He has elite athleticism and is developing a reliable jumper off pick and pop situations, and in the right system can thrive as a defender.
8. C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
His ability to shoot from distance -- averaging close to 40 percent from three on seven (!!!) attempts -- makes him a commodity to a lot of NBA teams. He needs to get stronger and improve as a defender, but his ability to draw out his defender creates a lot of space on offense for his teammates. He may settle for perimeter looks instead of trying to get into the lane, but he is a very good playmaker for his position.
9. Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona
He'll have to spend some time in the D-League in order to hone his ball handling and spot-up shooting, but he brings a lot of intrigue due to his defense and athleticism. As mentioned before, I think he can supplant Garrett Temple as the back-up guard, but it hinges on whether Washington can find another ball handler to succeed Andre Miller.
10. Khem Birch, PF/C, UNLV
There's a reason why Birch's stock has dropped so much. He never reached the high expectations set out for him as the 11th ranked high school recruit in 2011. He averaged a double-double as a Junior, is a back-to-back defensive player of the year award winner in the Mountain West Conference, but he's never developed his offensive skill set.
What he is is someone who can step in and defend right away. He averaged nearly four blocks a game, and possesses the freakish athleticism, length, and quickness to be an excellent anchor for the back line of your defense. Teams will run into problems seeing as how he's an undersized center that will probably play power forward out of necessity. It'll be tough finding a role for him on offense without completely screwing with the floor spacing, but if a team can ever harness his aggression and physical gifts into an impactful defender, he'll be a steal.