The SportsTalk Shop: Wizards NBA Draft Predictions

Last week we took a look at the 76ers lottery “success”  and their outlook to the June 25th NBA Draft.  Today, we take a look at a Wizards team that finds itself looking to continue building on its already established core.

After a sweep over Toronto in the opening round of NBA Playoffs, the Wizards want to take the next step in going further than a six-game, round-two playoff loss to a Hawks team–that in turn was bounced in four-straight by Lebron James and the Cavaliers.  No matter what Washington does in the draft along, they still would not much up well–right now–in a seven game series against James, J.R. Smith and a steady and effective (but not spectacular) frontcourt.  However, I think they can still take a dramatic step “forward” (pardon the pun) by added a big man this off-season.

First of all, I don’t think Kris Humphries is, or will ever be, a starting power forward that can take you to the next level.  Nene did not look very impressive during the Atlanta series and will be entering the final year of his contract.  If  Paul Pierce returns, you’ll still need someone down the road that you can depend on to start at the four spot.  While a team should always select talent over need, the Wizards should have the benefit of doing both, with several quality power forwards available when their turn in the draft comes around.  Here’s a few of the players to consider:

BOBBY PORTIS, PF (Arkansas) — Nearly a double-double guy for his college career (18 ppg, 9 reb last year), who also shot well (just under 75%) from the free throw line this past season.

CHRISTIAN WOOD, PF (UNLV) — Wood is bouncing around the 20-ies in most national mock draft versions.  However, he could be the best available, and most polished, power forward on the board at #19.  I don’t think he’ll stay available for long if Washington doesn’t pick him.

KEVON LOONEY, F (UCLA) — He’s a little undersized right now (he’s only a freshman) if you need him to play the ‘four.’ I saw him play several times on TV and I liked the way he rebounded and seemed very athletic.  He would definitely need a year or two of development and would not make an immediate impact, which is a concern for a team that is looking to improve next year to get to the next level.  However, he might have the best upside of any forward still available at this point in the draft.

TREY LYLES, F, (Kentucky) — I’m not a big fan of the Kentucky program overall, but the Wizards could benefit from a big man who can shoot from the outside.  If the Wizards want to at a big man with range–and don’t want to pursue a player like this in free agency–then they might want to take Lyles with their pick.  He might have the lowest ceiling of the four guys mentioned here, but he might just be the most reliable pick who, at worst, would give you some nice depth in your frontcourt in the very near future.

While there are also several free agent options available that can occupy the four spot, I think it would make sense for the team to take a long look at these four guys.  I think you can count on the Wizards’ front office to do due diligence over the next few weeks in working out these and other potential draftee.  If they feel one can develop into a steady, starting player, they’ll take a run at a college player, and look to add some depth elsewhere via the free agent market.

As far as trading, I don’t think Washington is in a position of strength in terms of trying to move up—or down—in the draft and think their best bet will be to make a selection right where they are at the #19 slot.  They already have a solid foundation of players to build around.  Plus, I was impressed by the continued growth of John Wall this past season.  Speaking with people who covered the team this past year on our “SportsTalk” program, they all remarked at the maturation of the fourth-year player, and his overall goal to make those around him better—something that I think will continue for future seasons.

With a solid first round selection, and a free agent pick-up or two (especially a bigger player who could stretch opposing team’s defenses), the Wizards should be able to upgrade and keep their momentum going for the 2015-16 season.

What are your thoughts on the Wizards’ potential draft picks?  What do you think are the team’s most pressing needs going into next season?  Email us your sports comments and opinions at any time to RCNSportsTalk@rcn.com and catch our next live show, this Thursday, June 4th from 7-8pm on RCN-TV.

 

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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