clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Roundtable: How are we feeling about the Wizards’ draft picks?

Overall, we don’t think drafting Davis was a bad idea. But Yannick Nzosa in the second round? Really?

2022 NBA Draft
We chatted after the Wizards made their draft picks last week.
Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images

Albert: The NBA Draft is over and the Wizards are bringing in Johnny Davis as the No. 10.

How are we feeling? Feel free to be happy, upset or somewhere in between.

Yanir Rubinstein: I think the best thing about picking Johnny Davis is this video of Stephen A Smith:

Albert: For me, I’m thinking that Johnny Davis could be a fit in the longer term, but the Wizards just HAVE to move Deni or Corey somewhere.

And as for Yannick, the second round pick .... ummmm .... at best he’s another Sato-esque draft-and-stash, which Tommy Sheppard recently acknowledged.

Marcus Atkinson: The pick for Johnny Davis makes me wonder more about how the team feels about Beal’s status long term. While they certainly may view him as the best player that was available, I also wonder if they factored in that Davis could actually replace Beal should he decide to leave. I think there is a lot that could be cleared up about this pick between now and the beginning of the season. Overall, I like Davis’ pedigree. I think he can become a quality player in the league. I was somewhat hopeful that the team would move up to get Ivey or even Daniels, but I also didn’t want them to overpay so I think his pick was fine.

I do, however, have an issue with Nzosa, the second round pick. I have nothing against draft and stash type players, but Sheppard has yet to make a meaningful 2nd round pick in his tenure as the General Manager (although there is still hope for Isaiah Todd, not much though). I do understand 2nd round picks are often long shots, but hitting on 2nd round picks is sometimes the difference between having to overpay for veteran help to plug in on your roster when looking for depth. If you want to build a good team, you will more likely than not need to hit on one or a few at some point.

Matt Modderno: I wrote for this very website in December that Johnny Davis was a prospect I was super excited about but he would probably end up going way before the Wizards could draft him. Turns out, I was wrong about that! His stock, and my opinion of his potential, dropped as his shooting cooled off. To be fair, he was burdened with an enormous workload, defenses were designed to slow him down, and he struggled with injuries. If he’s more of the player that we saw in the first half of the college season then fans should be pretty excited.

Ultimately, Davis ended up outside the lottery on my board. But that was with the expectation that he would be more of a wing like he was in college. If he can transition to being a full-time lead guard like Tommy Sheppard envisions then all of a sudden what he brings to the table becomes a lot more valuable. Worst case scenario, he’s going to be another nice rotation piece that can bring bench scoring and perimeter defense, two things that always come in handy.

As for Yannick Nzosa, this was not my favorite pick. I’m a bit of an Isaiah Todd homer and think most people that are writing him off probably have never actually seen a Capital City Go-Go game. The point being, I’m not afraid of them taking on a long-term project. But Nzosa makes Todd look like Joel Embiid in terms of readiness to contribute. I had a draft evaluator on Bleav in Wizards this weekend who is heavy into watching international film and he did not paint an encouraging picture about Nzosa’s chances of helping the Wizards in the semi-near future. He’s years away from being years, as the saying goes.

Renzo Salao: It’s really tough to project Johnny Davis given that his usage rate for Wisconsin was astronomically high. With less pressure to produce, he could pick his spots more on offense and up his efficiency numbers considerably. Remains to be seen how high his offensive ceiling will be, but I feel like we won’t truly know what he’s capable of on that end based just on his two years in college. That’s simply not what he’s going to be at the next level.

But mainly excited to see what he could bring on defense. He could be the tone-setting backcourt defender that the Wiz haven’t seen since ... Deshawn Stevenson over a decade ago? Larry Hughes maybe? Gary Payton II’s cup of coffee with the Wizards? It’s been a while.

As for Nzosa, I’m actually pretty happy with the pick. There was some first-round chatter around him and even a bit of lottery buzz early last year. Then he got injured right when he was about to go to the US for offseason training, which for a then 17-year-old likely would have helped immensely. He’s still just 18 right now playing in a grown man’s league. There are much worse ways to spend the 54th pick than taking a flier on an international prospect like that.

Kevin Broom: The narrative on Davis is that his efficiency was poor because his teammates were bad, and he hurt his ankle. And maybe those are good explanations — while Davis’ efficiency was bad in raw terms, he was slightly more efficient than his team’s average last season on sky-high usage. His size, athleticism and defensive effort all look good. His shooting doesn’t look broken — he connected on 79% from the free throw line, and the difference between his 30.6% from three last season and 40% is about one made shot every third game (11 makes over the course of the season).

All that said, there are reasons he was available at 10. He was inefficient. He did shoot 31% from three. He did have more turnovers than assists.

Will his efficiency improve in a different role with reduced usage, or will those shifts be offset by the step up in level of competition?

As for Nzosa, he ended up with the lowest score in YODA this season. He looks better if I use his previous season’s numbers, but still comes up with a borderline grade. For a big man, his rebounding and blocks aren’t impressive, and he fouled a ton. They’re going to stash him overseas for a few years. I’d be somewhat surprised if he ever cracks an NBA rotation.

Osman Baig: I love the pick. Johnny averaged 24ppg vs Top 25 competition and competes his ass off defensively. Draft twitter has taken a strange turn where a just turned 20 YO who went from 7/4 as a freshman to Big10 POY has limited upside. When you add in the context of the team he carried to the conference title and the absurd role he had to take on, it makes me like the pick even more. This wasn’t stat chasing on a losing team, this was absorbing an enormous load and still pulling out Ws because that’s the role that was demanded of him.

That said, I’m not excited overall because the direction of the franchise still stinks. Its the one foot in/one foot out approach and it’s tiring. I was intrigued by them looking to trade up because it for once would have showed conviction to be bold, something we haven’t seen since the Webber trade?

Kevin: I think the trade up rumors were mostly BS. The Wizards don’t seem to do “aggressive” when it comes to talent acquisition. Consider the contrast with Memphis — the Grizzlies came into draft night loaded with young talent and maneuvered to emerge with four promising prospects they wanted.

As I texted a friend after the draft, I’ve never seen a team operate like the Wizards — a bad team that behaves as if it’s frightened to add talented players.