The Washington Wizards’ wings lack versatility. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the closest thing they have to a 3-and-D player and he’s a bit undersized at 6-5. Corey Kispert projects mostly as a shooting specialist. Rui Hachimura has the “3” but not the “D” and vice versa for Deni Avdija.
I know it’s splitting hairs in today’s era of position-less basketball but I would consider both Avdija and Hachimura to be more in the forward mold than the prototypical wing. Considering the more successful teams in the NBA seem to stockpile wings, it would be advisable for the Wizards to consider using this year’s draft to address that need.
As I’ve referenced in previous draft posts, there’s a really good consensus mock draft on Rookie Scale that provides a good idea where reputable outlets project a player may go. I will include their consensus position as-of May 24th to give an idea of their likely range. Some of the guys I’ve listed show up in the 60’s and beyond but the difference between someone in the 50’s to 80’s is usually pretty minimal.
On this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, we did a mock draft and mentioned some sleepers we like after the first round. A few of the names below got mentioned but Vince Williams Jr. is the one I’m highest on personally. I think he could come in right away and add a defensive presence and be able to hit corner threes.
Vince Williams Jr., 6-5.5, VCU, 21.8 years (age as of draft night)
Consensus position: 75
Statistics: 14.1 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.6 steals, 38.7% 3P, 81.4% FT
Case for: 7-0 wingspan, solidly built, prototypical 3-and-D prospect, seems to relish taking the toughest defensive assignment, got to see him play in person this year at the A10 tournament this year and really liked his intensity (pretty sure he slapped the floor during), finished the season strong (averaged 22p 8r 41.9% 3P over his last 4 games)
Case against: age, offers some passing but doesn’t really do much else beyond 3-and-D
Aminu Mohammed, 6-5, Georgetown, 20.6 years
Consensus position: 74
Statistics: 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 31% 3P, 39.2% FG, 72.2% FT
Case for: a human pinball who plays hard (like really, really hard), teams have had success just unleashing young and energetic players even if their skills haven’t caught up yet, stuffs the stat sheet, reminds me of Lu Dort (raw but just so productive it’s hard to ignore), watching him play in-person I just kept wondering what he actually does well and then when I checked the box score he had 23p 13r 5a 2st 2bl
Case against: still raw, more of an undersized power forward at this point
Kevin McCullar, 6-7, Texas Tech, 21.3 years
Consensus position: 100
Statistics: 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 2 turnovers, 31.1% 3P, 72.5% FT
Case for: you could make the case that he’s the best defender in the draft, would provide instant perimeter defense, played point guard for Texas Tech so offers some versatility
Case against: shooting has a ways to go, limited offensive production overall, did he make Texas Tech’s defense that good or was their defensive system so good it made him look even better?
Tevin Brown, 6-4.75, Murray State, 23.7 years
Consensus position: 87
Statistics: 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 38.4% 3P on 8.1 attempts, 74.8% FT
Case for: shot above 37% from three on large volume all four seasons (42% as a sophomore), could fill that Garrison Mathews role as a movement shooter (plus more playmaking), quick release, good vision, creative passer, made the most transition threes of anyone in this draft, scored most points using off-ball screens of anyone in Division, one of three players on record in men’s college basketball history ever to record 350 3-pointers, 400 assists, 600 rebounds, and 150 steals during their collegiate careers
Case against: old by draft standards, needs to add strength (he’s got that Will Barton body type), more of a combo guard, only a 6-6.25 wingspan, not a great athlete
Author’s note: I’m a big fan of his (although maybe that’s a case against him?) and really like his fit as a cheap, back-up shooting guard behind Bradley Beal. I debated putting him on the previous installment featuring point guards because I think he can provide enough playmaking to justify minutes there as well
Ron Harper Jr., 6-5.5, Rutgers, 23.2 years
Consensus position: 65
Statistics: 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1 steal, 39.8% 3P (31% previous season), 79.5% FT
Case for: 7-1.25 wingspan, “they” said he couldn’t shoot so he consistently improved his three-point shot (28% as a freshman), seems like a projectable catch-and-shoot option from Day 1, burly defender who could guard bigger wings, has quick hands that resulted in a lot of deflections, pedigree (I hear his dad was a pretty good player)
Case against: older, foot speed guarding on the perimeter is questionable, not a big time athlete, doesn’t get to the free-throw line much for someone who often had a physical advantage in college, sort of gives me Admiral Schofield vibes (and not just because of the football body type)
Johnny Juzang, 6-6.5, UCLA, 21.3 years
Consensus position: 66
Statistics: 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 36% 3P, 83.5% FT
Case for: 6’11 wingspan, still only 21 despite having played 3 years of high-level college basketball, mid-range bucket-getter, good free-throw shooting suggests he will develop into a good NBA three-point shooter
Case against: average athlete, doesn’t appear to be the quickest laterally, development appeared to stagnate this year, doesn’t get to the free-throw line much