There was a universal buzz amongst the Wizards faithful going into the commercial break during last night’s NBA Draft Lottery, very soon after it was determined that the Wizards would own one of the top 3 picks. It was a slightly optimistic, “we’re ‘bout to do big things” kind of buzz -- typical of a fan base that is suffering through a patience-testing rebuilding process.
Unfortunately, Zach Leonsis’ lucky charm didn’t help fulfill our ultimate desire for an eyebrow invasion in Chinatown, although having to resort to the third overall pick in a talent heavy draft ain’t too shabby either.
Immediately following the announcement, there was a frenzy of suggesting tweets about who the lucky new Wiz Kid should be.
Like that other stud freshman from Kentucky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrest. A kid who can certainly excel in a run-hungry league by stretching the defense with his speed and versatility, especially in transition. With John Wall facilitating the fast break, and MKG maneuvering as well as he does without the ball, the Wizards will look like they’re playing in fast forward. Side note: he’s also tenaciously tough and hard nosed, which has given him a knack for proficient inside scoring.
But wait! The Wizards need another established scoring option besides Jordan Crawford, right? A “lights out shooter”. Go for Bradley Beal! He’ll make for one of the best backcourt tandems since Gilbert and Larry. With the offense possibly running through a strong frontcourt in Nene, Booker and Seraphin (assuming they’ll still be around), Beal could excel out in the perimeter, specifically developing his inconsistent jumper beyond the arc.
Will they bite on Thomas Robinson if the Bobcats don’t? Very likely. His dominance down low and on the glass is attributed to his bulky frame and 7-foot wingspan. His explosiveness and energy is a depiction of his extraordinary versatility. Oh and not to mention, he’s a homebred!
Robinson earned his way into the starting lineup at Kansas after playing limited minutes his freshman and sophomore seasons. Anticipated to have a breakout junior season, Robinson did just that, finishing as a front runner for National Player of the Year, while leading the Jayhawks to a number 2 ranking and a trip to the National Championship.
Yeah, he's definitely my pick.
Many of the early mock drafts have these three players staggered between the second, third and fourth picks. It’s essentially a win-win situation and a consolation prize for all the teams that didn’t win the Unibrow Sweepstakes.
My underlying concern is the idea of the Wizards trapping themselves in another situation where the nurturing, growth and unguaranteed development of a rookie sets them team back. In other words: a PROJECT.
Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.
The Wizards need to be over the concept of “projects”, aka players that trigger statements like: “Relax, he’s 25 and only in his fifth year. He’s got time. We’re good”.
They’ve failed on three of their previous projects, consequently shipping two of them to Denver and Los Angeles, while the third one is on the brink of removal. Not to mention the two projects the Wizards are currently enduring in Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely.
Sure, every newcomer to the NBA requires some level of development, and by no means am I suggesting that Robinson is immune to that concept or that Beal and MKG are risky picks, I’m simply suggesting that Robinson is more seasoned than some of his peers along with a lofty ceiling of talent.
Any of these three picks will not only accelerate the Wizards in terms of talent and depth, but it also paves the way for what is only the beginning of a very uplifting offseason for the Wizards and their fans.