The 2019 NBA Draft is over. The Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura ninth overall and made a reported trade with the 76ers for the rights to Admiral Schofield and wing player Jonathon Simmons. Let’s now talk about where Washington is likely headed when free agency starts, as well as next season.
Tommy Sheppard wants to change the culture with maturity
Ernie Grunfeld, the previous President of Basketball Operations made many draft picks to bring in players who had a lot of athletic potential. Players like Jan Vesely, JaVale McGee and Kelly Oubre Jr. are examples of the many great athletes who came to Washington over the years. But they weren’t mature enough to maximize their potential in the nation’s capital. In McGee’s case in particular, he was viewed more as a “Shaqtin a Fool” gimmick than as a player.
Sheppard drafted a college junior in Hachimura and a senior in Schofield. Both come to the NBA as players in their early 20s where they have become team leaders on the court and in the locker room.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks noted Hachimura’s maturity and life experience as positive attributes. And in regard to Schofield, the Tennessee Volunteer mentioned that he believes that maturity will help him in the NBA after working out for the Portland Trail Blazers.
"They need guys who can do the little things. I'm that guy." @Vol_Hoops Admiral Schofield (@admiralelite15) leaning on discipline, maturity as a four-year college athlete in preparation for next level. #ripcity pic.twitter.com/pwldLKvZiq— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) June 16, 2019
In today’s NBA, the top picks are often 19-year old freshmen who are just a year removed from high school. While some of those top players do turn into All-Stars, they are often very raw prospects early on in the NBA.
Older players in their early 20s may not necessarily have as high of a ceiling, but they are also more likely to have a higher floor and a more disciplined mentality. Fortunately for Washington, they drafted two players who fit that mold.
The Wizards are committed to building around Bradley Beal
And by extension, the Wizards aren’t going to just “blow it up” and “start all over.” I’m not sure if Sheppard is doing this because he truly believes the Wizards can compete or because team owner Ted Leonsis is telling him to make moves in line with competing sooner, even if it hurts the team’s ceiling.
I think there were some players with higher ceilings in this draft like Nassir Little of North Carolina or Sekou Doumbouya of Limoges CSP. However, neither Little or Doumbouya are as productive as Hachimura or Schofield at the moment.
Getting players with higher floors but high work ethics can still work out with someone like Beal. If everything works out, the Wizards could get back into the playoff hunt sooner than they otherwise could expect.
They appear to be more confident in Tomas Satoransky as their starting point guard next year — for now.
Perhaps this point is a bit premature. But the Wizards did not fully address the point guard situation in the draft, even with John Wall likely to miss most or all of the 2019-20 season and Tomas Satoransky entering free agency. Yes, Justin Robinson is a point guard and the Wizards signed him, but he’s probably playing more for the Go-Go than with the NBA team.
I’m not sure which free agent point guards Washington has lined up, but if things go awry with Satoransky and other free agents, they could have no suitable point guards for 2019-20, unless they plan on moving Beal to the position. That’s not the worst idea out there, but point guard also isn’t his natural role.
At any rate, it appears that the Wizards are confident that they can re-sign Satoransky to a reasonable deal. Satoransky has adjusted quite well to Washington and knows he probably can’t be a starting point guard on most other teams, so perhaps they could keep the Czech national for a little while longer.