The second round of the NBA Draft hasn’t been kind to the Washington Wizards in recent years. Former General Manager Tommy Sheppard had several chances to add talent towards the end of the draft, and failed every time.
For reference on just how bad our second-round picks have been:
Although we don’t own our own second-rounder this year, we do have the rights to both Boston and Chicago’s picks. The Boston pick was traded to Charlotte in the Gordon Hayward sign & trade, which then was sent over to Washington via the Montrezl Harrell trade last year.
The Chicago second rounder was acquired in the Rui Hachimura-Kendrick Nunn deal from the Lakers. It is top-36 protected, but those protections have been lifted since Chicago finished outside the bottom six this season.
Washington has two late-round selections in a very deep draft. Making these picks count is paramount, especially considering the likelihood that this regime keeps both Porzingis and Kuzma on lucrative deals. When you have $110+ million invested into three players, finding talented players on rookie contracts is needed to make the roster work.
Here are a couple of prospects Washington should target at pick No. 41:
SG Marcus Sasser (Houston) - 16.8 ppg / 3.1 apg / 43.8% FG / 38.4% 3pt
Player comp: Terry Rozier
Out of all the guards that could be available in this range, Sasser’s shooting ranks near the top. At nearly 39% from deep, he has a shooting stroke that can translate to the NBA level. My favorite part about his game, however, is his ability to create off the dribble. We had issues with Johnny Davis last year in his inability to move past defenders. With Sasser, that shouldn’t be a concern. His quickness, coupled with a scorer’s mentality, is something the Wizards could use off the bench. Many project Sasser to go earlier than pick 41, but if he’s still there, the Wizards would be wise to take him.
SF Jordan Walsh (Arkansas) - 7.1 ppg / 3.9 rpg / 43.3% FG / 1.1 spg
Player comp: P.J. Tucker
I get it. The stats don’t jump off the page. But numbers don’t tell the full story when it comes to Walsh. He was the glue that held Arkansas together last season, diving on loose balls and doing the dirty work necessary to win games. Even better, he can guard 1 through 5. His defensive versatility allows him to stick with whatever assignment is given, whether that be a 7-foot center or a smaller guard. Walsh takes charges, sets strong screens, and is always in the right place defensively. Washington has lacked this type of defensive versatility for years, and Walsh could provide it. He’ll give maximum effort every time he steps on the floor, something i both admire and want on this Wizards roster.
Matt Modderno recently did a profile on Walsh. You can check it out here.
SG Terquavion Smith (NC State) - 17.9 ppg / 4.1 apg / 38% FG / 33% 3pt
Player Comp: Bones Hyland
At 6’4” and 165 lbs., Smith is a slender guard. He’s shown the ability to get to the rim, but his skinny frame is a concern when finishing through contact. His efficiency took a dip last season, with his 3pt% dropping from 37% to just 33%. However, his upside is through the roof. His long wingspan allows him to get into passing lanes and affect shots. Smith is projected to go as high as No. 29 on some boards, but if he’s still available come pick 41, I’d be content taking a flyer on him.
SG/SF Seth Lundy (Penn State) - 14.2 ppg / 6.3 rpg / 45% FG / 40% 3pt (!)
Player comp: Gary Trent Jr.
Lundy came on towards the end of the season at PSU, averaging 17 ppg in the BIG TEN tournament. He’s got a smooth shooting stroke, and his 6’6” frame allows him to rise over defenders with ease. His 40% clip from three ranked 37th in all of division I last season, an impressive feat. Furthermore, Lundy shot the lights out at the draft combine, going 8/11 from deep during scrimmage play. Spacing was an issue last season for the Wizards. Teams doubled KP and Brad, and the players they kicked the ball to were incapable of knocking down the open jumper. Lundy would change that, which is why I like him at pick 41.
PF/C Noah Clowney (Alabama) - 9.8 ppg / 7.9 rpg / 48% FG / 0.9 bpg
Player comp: Chris Boucher
Clowney is more of an upside pick than anything. At just 18 years old, he’s one of the youngest prospects in the draft. His thin frame allows him to move well defensively but is a concern when matched up against stronger bigs. Clowney a willing rebounder, salvaging tons of offensive possessions. His long wingspan allows him to protect the rim and affect shots. With the Wizards lacking front-court depth, Clowney would be a nice fit at a position of need. Some draft boards have Clowney as high as 24, and some project him to go in our range. If he falls to us at 41. it would be a steal.
There’s a bunch more prospects I would consider taking at this pick. The board can fall any which way, so some of these guys could be long gone before we even get the chance to take them. Feel free to let me know which prospects you agree with taking, as well as the ones you disagree with.