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NBA Draft 2021: Players in the Wizards’ draft range based on recent mock draft exercises (Part 1)

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After participating in a series of “NBA Twitter” mock drafts, here are the players I selected for the Wizards in the first two drafts

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-UCLA at Gonzaga
Corey Kispert dunking against UCLA
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Stayman, one of the hosts of the Locked On NBA Draft podcast and founder of Mavsdraft.com, organized a series of mock drafts where each team has their own “general manager” making the picks. These GMs were all people who cover the draft and their respective teams. Theoretically, this made the drafters well-suited to draft players who are conceivable choices for their team.

I did my best Tommy Sheppard impression for each of these four mock drafts and thought it provided some interesting data points about the types of players who could be available for the Wizards at 15. Based on Sheppard’s postseason comments about focusing on the wing position this offseason, I decided to go that direction when possible (assuming someone highly touted hadn’t fallen to 15) and I wanted to pick a different prospect during each mock.

To cut down on potential confusion, trades were not allowed during this process. That meant I was not able to buy a second round pick, which I think is a very realistic possibility for the Wizards. To help somewhat mitigate that, each GM was able to select two undrafted free agents to be their primary target for two-way contracts and exhibit 10 deals.

To date, we’ve completed four of these mock drafts. In Part 1, I will cover the prospects I selected in the first two mock drafts and save the remaining prospects in Part 2. As the Wizards have made several comments about “winning now,” I decided to go with prospects who fit that bill for these first two drafts and then try a more “homerun swing” approach in the following two drafts.

In the first mock draft, several of the prime targets for the Wizards were already off the board. Jalen Johnson, Moses Moody, Corey Kispert, and Franz Wagner all went prior to the 15th pick. Based on who was available, I selected Chris Duarte, who recently worked out for the Wizards on Thursday. My undrafted targets were David Duke of Providence and Chris Smith of UCLA.

Chris Duarte, 6-6, Oregon, senior

Statistics: 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 42.4% 3P%

Case for: Flat out shoots it, defended well at the college level, puts it on the floor well enough to create for himself.

Case against: He’s basically ancient by NBA standards at 23 years old, probably won’t add much to his game.

Author’s note: for more analysis on Chris Duarte’s fit with the Wizards, check out the latest Bleav in Wizards podcast with draft analyst Rafael Barlowe.

Chris Smith, 6-9, UCLA, senior (but still only 21)

Statistics: In 8 games as a senior: 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1 steal, 50% 3P%, 79.4% FT%

Junior season: 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 34% 3P%, 84% FT%

Case for: really long for a 3-and-D player, shoots well for his size, smart and active help defender, switchable / multi-positional defender teams love, can stay in front of quicker guards due to length and good lateral quickness,

Case against: tore an ACL this past year so would likely miss a good portion of 2021-22 season, inconsistent, passive at times, needs to get strong to guard bigger opponents effectively

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Four - Dayton
Chris Smith of UCLA defends a shot attempt from Jaylen Adams of St. Bonaventure
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

David Duke, 6-5, Providence, junior

Statistics: 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 38.9% 3P%, 79.2% FT%

Case for: good size for a combo guard, can play on or off the ball, creative in the pick-and-roll, shot well from the perimeter, sturdy enough to defend bigger players, really high character kid by all accounts (worth listening to him talk about sharing his name with a white supremacist)

Case against: not an elite athlete, older prospect at almost 22, was an inefficient shooter overall (39% from the field), sloppy with the ball at times, not a consistent defender in college

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Providence
David Duke dunking against Marquette
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

In the second mock draft, I selected Corey Kispert to help address the Wizards’ perimeter shooting woes. For my undrafted targets, I once again selected Chris Smith and also added Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins.

Corey Kispert, 6-7, Gonzaga, senior

Statistics: 18.6 points, 5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 44% 3P%, 87.8% FT%

Case for: arguably the best shooter in the draft, more than just a shooter as he showed more scoring versatility this season, strong and sturdy which might allow him to guard some 4s, tested well athletically for a “shooting specialist”

Case against: an older prospect, not an elite athlete, limited upside

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-UCLA at Gonzaga
Corey Kispert shooting a 3 against UCLA
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Wiggins, 6-7, Maryland, junior

Statistics: 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 35.6% 3P%, 77.2% FT%

Case for: prototypical size and athleticism for an NBA wing, shooting seems likely to translate, good rebounder for his position

Case against: consistency is a concern as he disappeared for long stretches of games, not always the most assertive (although that improved considerably the second half of his junior season)

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Maryland at Alabama
Aaron Wiggins dunking against Alabama
IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Based on who was still on the board in each mock draft, who would you have taken? I switched up my approach in the third and fourth mock drafts so stay tuned for Part 2.

Are there any other potential undrafted options that appeal to you? Let us know in the comments!