The NBA Draft is tonight and coverage begins at 8 p.m. EST. For the first time in a very long time, the Wizards find themselves with a plethora of picks, holding 8, 35, 42, and 59 (or 57 because the two picks before them have been forfeited).
Yesterday, we gave you the names to know with the 8th pick. Here we’ll run through some interesting names likely to go in the second round. Given the rebuild approach that seems underway, I would take the highest possible upside players at each pick. A win-now type of guy does nothing for this franchise at the moment.
Options at 35 or 42
Dariq Whitehead, 6’6.75, Duke
Whitehead was an elite high school prospect who underwhelmed at Duke due to injury and late integration into their roster. I have some real concerns about whether he was just an early bloomer and just became overhyped because of that or if he’s actually still an elite prospect who was unlucky this season. But totally worth the risk to find out if he’s still around at 35.
Brice Sensabaugh, 6’6, Ohio State
Sensabaugh is a tough shot taker but also a tough shot maker so far. It’s concerning to me that he couldn’t get easier looks against college competition but maybe with time he can scale back up to being a volume scorer in the NBA. Once again, it’s low risk, high reward at this point in the draft.
Julian Phillips, 6’7.75, Tennessee
Similar to Whitehead, Phillips was a high-end recruit coming out of high school who underwhelmed in his one season at Tennessee. Rumors are, he grew frustrated and impatient with Rick Barnes’s unwillingness to play him over veteran players who were clearly less talented. He only made 24% of his threes (46 total attempts) but he made 82% of his free throws and came in with a reputation of being a good shooter. Similarly, from everything I’ve heard he’s shot the ball very well in workouts. He’s another good buy-low (or draft low) option.
Gregory “GG” Jackson II, 6’9.25, South Carolina
GG Jackson reclassified to enter college basketball a year early and will be the youngest (or at least one of) prospect taken in this draft. He had some absolutely monster games for a really bad South Carolina team but was extremely inefficient and inconsistent throughout. But there’s clearly some talent there so if you believe he can learn to scale up with some time and patience, he’s a no-brainer flier to take this low in the draft.
Sidy Cissoko, 6’6.5, G League Ignite
Cissoko is an athletic wing with some playmaking chops who competed well against grown men in the G League this year. If the shooting ever comes around, he could be a legit NBA wing for a long time. But that’s the big concern. He made 31.4% of this threes and hit 64.3% of his free throws. Once again, given the rebuild, the Wizards will have time to dedicate to helping him work through that issue.
Options at 59
Chris Livingston, 6’7, Kentucky
Livingston was another high profile recruit who underwhelmed at Kentucky, only averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds. But he’s very athletic and has the high school pedigree. I can’t see any harm in drafting him here and letting him develop in the G League on a two-way contract.
Emoni Bates, 6’9.25, Eastern Michigan
I think most people know the Bates story. He had some off-court issues and he really struggled (especially from an efficiency standpoint) in two college seasons. But he’s still a former elite recruit. Like Sensabaugh but to an even more extreme degree, it’s really concern that he has to settle for such tough shots. But maybe with time, strength, and coaching he can find a way to clean things up. Worst case scenario, maybe he helps draw some eyes to the Capital City Go-Go next season.
Vincent Valerio-Bodon, 6’10, Sopron KC (Hungary - A Division)
This is probably the first guy on the list you haven’t heard of, but trust me, he’s a name worth paying attention to at the end of the draft. At 6’10, he handles the ball fairly well and made 41.2% of his 3.4 three-point attempts per game. He’s pretty mobile with good lateral quickness and length so he’s going to catch the eye of some general managers and I think he fits the profile of what our new front office typically looks for. He’s already 22 years old and still needs to add strength, which may ultimately result in him going undrafted. Whether he’s a draft and stash or a two-way player, he could appeal to a team at this point in the draft.
If you’re looking for Wizards-specific coverage on draft night, myself, Kevin Broom, and Domo from the Wizards of Gallery Place podcast will be hosting a live draft show running in parallel with the actual broadcast.
On 6/22, #NBADraft night, we will be hosting a livestream of #Wizards specific coverage feat. @Domo8186 & @so_wizards. Anyone that would like to advertise or promote something during can do so in return for a donation to @MissingKids or donate just because https://t.co/ZYcOdtX4mk— Matt Modderno (@MattModderno) June 12, 2023
We’ll be providing real-time analysis as it relates to the Wizards, as an alternative to the more general draft coverage you can get elsewhere. We will be starting at 8 p.m. EST and the show can be livestreamed from my twitter (@MattModderno), the Bleav in Wizards Twitter account (@BleavinWizards), and Bleav in Wizards YouTube page. We will also retweet it out from the Bullets Forever Twitter as well.
We’re doing this as a way to raise money for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. If you’d like to contribute to a great cause, you can do so here.