Now that the Wizards’ season is over, we will be ramping up our NBA Draft coverage here and on Bleav in Wizards. In our latest episode of the podcast, I was joined by Cooper Klein, a draft analyst from the Upside Swings podcast. We focused specifically on the wings likely to be taken in, or at least near, the first round.
Early in his tenure as general manager, Tommy Sheppard declared he wanted to draft more athletic wings. He never really lived up to that promise and now he won’t get the chance after being dismissed from the job. Fortunately, there are several very athletic wings in this draft for the new GM to evaluate, whenever that person is selected.
For a detailed discussion of all the prospects, check out the full episode. For a high-level look at each of the wings currently projected to go around the lottery, here you go! I’ve also included where they are currently ranked on Rookie Scale’s consensus big board.
Brandon Miller, 6’9, Alabama, consensus ranking: 3
Stats: 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, .9 blocks, .9 steals, 38.4% 3PT, 85.9% FT
Case for: positional versatility on defense, shown flashes of high-level passing/ creation skills, who couldn’t use a 6’9 sharpshooter?
Case against: maybe not the best athlete, slightly built, did the Alabama system artificially inflate some of his production?
Amen Thompson, 6’7 Overtime Elite, consensus ranking: 4
Stats: 16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.4 steals, .8 blocks, 23.3% 3PT, 64.6% FT
Case for: insane athlete, great defensive instincts and potential, high-level playmaking potential, could potentially be a lead facilitator
Case against: cannot shoot currently, slightly built, did playing for OTE make him look better than he actually is?
Ausar Thompson, 6’7, Overtime Elite, consensus ranking: 5
Stats: 16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.3 blocks, 2.7 steals, 30% 3PT, 67.1% FT
Case for: insane athlete, great defensive instincts and potential, shown some flashes of good playmaking potential, slightly better shooter than his brother
Case against: cannot shoot currently, demonstrated less playmaking chops than his brother, slightly built, did playing for OTE make him look better than he actually is?
Cam Whitmore, 6’6, Villanova, consensus ranking: 7
Stats: 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 34.3% 3PT, 70.3% FT
Case for: powerful athlete, great finisher, great cutter, high-end defensive potential
Case against: jumpshot is still questionable, bad passer, loose handle at times
Gradey Dick, 6’7, Kansas, consensus ranking: 10
Stats: 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 40.3% 3PT, 85.4% FT
Case for: really really shoots it, good positional size, was actually a better college defender than he gets credit for
Case against: needs to get stronger, will the defense hold up against NBA athletes, what else does he bring to the table besides the shooting?
Jordan Hawkins, 6’5, Connecticut, consensus ranking: 14
Stats: 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, .5 blocks, .7 steals, 38.8% 3PT, 88.7% FT
Case for: elite movement shooter, not going to be fun for defenses to chase him around
Case against: will the defense hold up against NBA athletes? What else does he bring to the table besides the shooting?
Jett Howard, 6’8, Michigan, consensus ranking: 15
Stats: 14.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2 assists, .7 blocks, .4 steals, 36.8% 3PT, 80% FT
Case for: good size, good shooting, good handle for his size, the Wizards could market drafting the son of a player who used to play for them (sorry, couldn’t resist)
Case against: not a great athlete, he has a good frame and is pretty skilled so why doesn’t he do anything else besides score?
Brice Sensabaugh, 6’6, Ohio State, consensus ranking: 17
Stats: 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 40.5% 3PT, 83% FT
Case for: both a good shooter and good scorer, strong from mid-range, good footwork
Case against: was a bad defender this year, not a great athlete or passer, doesn’t get to the free-throw line much, does he do anything else besides put the ball in the basket? Will NBA teams let him operate from mid-range as much?
Rayan Rupert, 6’7, New Zealand Breakers, consensus ranking: 19
Stats: 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, .8 assists, .2 blocks, .7 steals, 31.2% 3PT, 73.8% FT
Case for: good athlete, crazy wingspan, high-end defensive potential
Case against: not sure he provides anything offensively besides transition finishing, really raw overall, likely will be on his second contract by the time he develops into any kind of offensive threat in the half-court