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June mailbag: Could Johnny Davis be a top player in the 2022 Draft Class, and who is in the Wizards’ Big Three?

Here are your questions and my answers

Washington Wizards Introduce Johnny Davis
Could Johnny Davis be a top talent in the draft class when it’s all said and done?
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Thank you for your questions for this month’s mailbag. Our next one will come out after Summer League and a mid-month vacation!

Since this mailbag will be answered after the draft, can I just submit a blanket “WHY DID THEY DO THAT???” — ts35

I assume this is because of the Wizards’ decision to draft Johnny Davis and Yannick Nzosa. I can see the point of Washington wanting Davis, perhaps as Bradley Beal insurance if they move on from him in the next couple of years — or maybe sooner. Even if Beal stays for the foreseeable future, Davis has a knack for rebounding and could be a solid two-way player in his own right. Maybe he and Beal form up the Wizards’ starting backcourt with Beal at the point?

The front office was clear that Nzosa was a draft-and-stash. I’m quite disappointed that they drafted him to be brutally honest.

Because of the photo I thought this was a Mystics post and ignored it until now which is a day after the deadline. Good job Albert. — studentdriver

Well, the Mystics are doing better than the Wizards in the standings and would probably be a Top-3 team if Elena Delle Donne were consistently available.

And as for photo-trolling, if you think I was trolling, that isn’t always a bad thing, right?

Do you expect Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith to be the three best players from the 2022 NBA draft class when we look at it after the 2026-27 season, and after the 2031-32 season? Or who else would you rate as most likely to be a top-3 NBA player from the 2022-23 draft class? Could it include [Johnny Davis]? — CDKA

Predicting who would have the best longevity would be difficult, and I don’t think teams will be drafting someone in the hopes that they play 15+ years. There’s too much uncertainty in that. However, I think it’s reasonable to assume that players drafted in the Top 10 will be playing about 10 years, and the three players you listed should be among the Top 5 players in the 2022 class by then. If Davis can be a more consistent three-point shooter, maybe he also gets in that conversation in the Top-5. Top-3 is a stretch for me.

Who will be the [Wizards’ “Big Three?”] — JustOpinionated

For the start of the season, it will be Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. If you want to add Davis (Johnny Davis, not Davis Bertans obviously) as the fourth guy, go ahead.

Everything is up for grabs if Beal wants to leave in the offseason however.

Are the Wizards actively looking for a 3rd point guard reserve to replace Cassius Winston? — GreatWallofWizards

They have to be. But the Wizards at a minimum are also looking for a backup point guard to Beal, who I think will have that role once free agency ends barring a major trade.

Will the Mystics advance far in the playoffs given Elena Delle Donne’s inconsistent availability? — multiple

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not that optimistic that Washington can advance further than the semifinals given that Delle Donne has missed many games. Sure, the Mystics are “saving” her for the playoffs, but the lineup changes earlier in the season affect chemistry. For some context, the Mystics are sort of like the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving (and EDD is like Kyrie). To be clear, Irving’s unavailability was due to his refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine and Delle Donne’s is because of her past back injury. But the point is that lineup juggling generally catches up with teams as the season continues and the postseason get underway.

How can [the Wizards] “prevent” losing big leads and letting our opponents back in the game? Is it that we relax our defense? — Shirley Evans

Given the context of your question, I assume it’s the Wizards and not the Mystics for your original word, “we.” The Mystics are third in the WNBA for defensive rating, which is going to help them in the playoffs and keep them in games if Delle Donne misses contests. I’m not worried about the Mystics’ defense to be honest.

As the saying goes, defense is what wins championships. If the Wizards have some combination of better defensive coaches and like-minded players, they will prevent debacles like the 30 point lead they gave up to the Los Angeles Clippers last winter.

As for “relaxing” a defense, that often happens when teams have a big lead whether it’s a consistently defensive-deficient team like the Wizards or a defensive stalwart (at least this year’s team) like the Mystics. That said, I did have a conversation with an NBA source that the Wizards for whatever reason just have never been able to become a consistent defensive-minded team over the last two-plus decades, minus the Randy Wittman years. To me, it’s anecdotal, but still not a compliment to the franchise.