The general consensus around here, and elsewhere, is that BPA is the way to draft, especially in the lottery. Obviously, no one wants to miss out on LaMelo Ball because your team needs a big man like James Wiseman. Or miss out on Tyrese Haliburton because you have the unmovable John Wall in front of him. But I wanted to take a look at what BPA really means, and what that strategy would look like for the Wizards.
First I want to break down the very concept of BPA. Yes drafting BPA sounds great, but really we don’t care if we draft the best player available when we make our selection on June 23rd, what really matters is that we draft the prospect available at #10 who will be the best of the remaining players 5 years from now. (Have we ever done this btw? Drafted a player superior to all players taken behind him? Not Wall, that would be PG13. Not Beal, Dame has him beat. Blatche only had 13 people picked after him, but Gortat was better.)
Anyway, that may seem like a distinction without a difference, but I mention this to highlight the role development plays in turning good prospects into good players. We may have drafted the right player in Beal, but we also gave him tons of minutes (31mpg) as a 19 yo. His 3rd and 4th years we gave him lots of on ball reps, running PnR and creating, despite him not really showing that proficiency up until that point. And the result is we took a good prospect and turned him a supermax franchise cornerstone.
Back to the Wizards in 2022, what do we do to make sure we get the guy who will become the best player in 2030? Part of the equation has to be that we have a development plan for him, and this is where the idea of BPA starts to unravel a bit for me. We already know that the team wants to compete next year, so that’s going to be one obstacle our rookie will face. But if it's Duren for example and he also needs to beat out Daniel Gafford for backup C minutes? That doesn’t seem like we’re setting him up for success.
Now of course we could trade guys, and in the case of our PF logjam I assume we will trade guys. You could also put your BPA in the G League, but that's less than ideal. But I just think as we look at this board and think about the Wizards, a more raw prospect not ready to contribute to playoff chasing basketball, and/or who plays PF or C, is going to face a much more challenging route to becoming the Best Player in 2027.
So while BPA may be preferred, I do not really believe the Wizards are positioned to execute it. Getting and developing that best player requires opportunity, and I don’t think the Wizards are going to sacrifice team goals to give those opportunities. That’s why my BPA plays 1-3 and is ready to step on the floor in 2022-23 and not be a total liability.