If the 2022-2023 NBA season ended today, the Wizards would have the 6th best odds at winning the NBA Draft Lottery. As Troy Haliburton reported on the Bleav in Wizards podcast with me this week, the Wizards are looking to move several key players at the deadline. This could lead to them bottoming out even further and improving their draft odds.
With that in mind, here’s a look at who some recent mock drafts are projecting to the Wizards.
Tankathon & No Ceilings NBA: Nick Smith Jr., 6-4 combo guard, freshman, Arkansas
Smith Jr. has only played 5 games for Arkansas this season due to a nagging injury. The Klutch client has returned to Los Angeles to rehab independently. There’s some speculation he may not return unless he’s fully healthy and sure it won’t hurt his draft stock. When he’s at full strength, the combo guard is one of the most exciting players in the country. Some players get labeled as a combo guard because they aren’t really good enough at either the 1 or the 2 but I actually think Smith Jr. has the skills to play both ably at the NBA level. He’s also a former member of the Bradley Beal Elite AAU program, for what it’s worth.
The Athletic: Cason Wallace, 6-4 combo guard, freshman, Kentucky
Wallace isn’t really a pure point guard but Kentucky has been at its best when he’s the only guard running the offense. He’s shot a lot better from three (41.8%) than high school evaluators would have predicted but only 47% from the field and 57% from the free-throw line. I’m not totally sure I buy the shooting but I definitely buy the defense. He’s an absolute pit bull defender. Typically, most prospects are considerably better either on-ball or off-ball but Wallace seems good at both. Picture a turbo version of Delon Wright.
Bleacher Report: Cam Whitmore, 6-7 wing, freshman, Villanova
I covered Whitmore, a Maryland native, in more detail a few weeks back but to summarize, he’s a powerfully built wing with good athleticism who needs to continue to refine his overall skill set.
NBC Sports Washington: Anthony Black, 6-7 point guard, freshman, Arkansas
Chase Hughes selected Black in their recent mock draft for his versatility and vision. This is a bit higher than the consensus on Black, but I agree with Hughes about his upside and like him more than most. Arkansas has no spacing with injuries to Smith Jr. and Trevon Brazile and I think that’s really hurt Black who is essentially a big point guard. This isn’t a point forward situation where a 6’7 guy can dribble a little bit so they call him a point forward. Black could be a primary creator in the NBA. There will be questions about how he scores points as he’s not a great shooter at this point in his career (46% from the field, 32% from three) but big creators tend to rise as the draft approaches. The fit with this current Wizards roster would make a lot of sense as well.