Note: This piece was written before reports came out regarding the NBA season continuing with a 22-team field, including the Washington Wizards. The Wizards’ chances of making a 16-team playoff field are still very slim, so this post should still be intriguing nevertheless. — Albert
Former ESPN draft expert Chad Ford and The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo did their own 2020 Mock Draft on Ford’s new podcast, Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board this past Monday. They only did the lottery and because the draft order isn’t already set in stone, they used Tankathon to simulate the lottery results.
The Wizards ended up rising to the third pick in their simulation. James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball went with the first two picks, respectively. Russillo drafted third and selected Tyrese Haliburton, a point guard out of Iowa State, on the Wizards’ behalf.
“When I looked at Tyrese Haliburton at first, I was like ‘okay, wait a minute, this guy could go two? That seems kind of ridiculous,’” said Russillo during his opening remarks on Haliburton.
Not exactly the ringing endorsement you’d want about a player your team could take. Especially, if it were lucky enough to jump up several spots in the lottery.
“I’m going to go Haliburton here because it’s better than Anthony Edwards’ bad shot selection,” continued Russillo. “I think Tyrese is somebody that fits in better where he adapts to the players around him better than an Anthony Edwards would.”
They proceeded to spend the next several minutes breaking down Haliburton and his game. The highlights of that conversation are included here.
What about the fit?
Russillo: “He is a playmaking guard who I think could play with other guards where he doesn’t have to shoot it a million times to be productive. And there’s still part of me that’s like are you picking a 6-5, 175-pound guy third but yes, I am.”
Ford: “I like the pick actually and actually I like this for the Wizards as well…I think he’s a great fit on this roster, especially, while there’s so many questions about what John Wall is ever going to be coming back from everything.”
What’s to like?
Russillo: “When you watch off of a defensive rebound how locked in he is, where it’s give me the outlet and let’s push and let me try to find us some sort of advantage in transition before the defense sets up, that is one of my favorite things with guards. Are you always looking to attack but attack with like precision as opposed to I’m out of control and I’m just getting the ball and going as fast as I can without ever thinking about anybody else.”
Ford: “There’s so much to like about his game. Also one of these guys, zero questions off the court. Leadership. Just rave reviews from all of the intel about Haliburton and what he’s gonna be as a team player and the maturity level that’s there. And I think in the draft, that buys you something as well in addition to everything you said about him.”
What’s not to like?
Russillo: “I’d like to see some of the pick-and-roll ball-handling numbers be better. Make it show in this league that hey, this is a weapon and he’s not just run of the mill. Because of some of the numbers will tell ya, at least last year, that there’s nothing special about it. Even though your eyes will tell you that the play-making is there.”
Ford: “I might put their biggest need at having like an active, multi-positional defender. Which is probably not how I would describe what Haliburton is going to bring to the table. I think he is gonna be physically, at times, be overwhelmed in the NBA on the defensive end.”
What do you think of the pick and fit for the Wizards? Let us know in the comments!