Projecting which players will land with lottery teams offers enough challenges, let alone pinpointing what happens when the Wizards pick in the middle of round two. However, we've studied the draft board and the players; we've talked to front office personnel and college basketball insiders. Therefore here are some final thoughts and best educated guesses on the prospects that are both the best fits and most likely to be selected in the range of Washington's 46th pick.
Need - Stretch four
- Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford - If every player reached the potential ceiling on a consistent basis, this legitimate 6-foot-11 forward lands in round one. As a junior, Powell averaged nearly 15 points, grabbed over eight rebounds, blocked 1.1 shots and sank 45.5 percent of his (limited) 3-point attempts. As a senior, he reached none of those levels. Not major dips [except in the shooting], but dips all the same. However, Powell did lead Stanford in assists (3.1) last season - and to the NCAA Tournament. He's a face-up four with range and a good looking shooting stroke. That's a role Al Harrington filled at times last season, but counting on the 16-year veteran to play a full season - or at all - is unwise. In time, Powell could provide John Wall with another spread-the-court shooter, not to mention a big man capable of pulling opposing forwards and centers away from the basket.
Need - Athletic upgrade
- Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona - As I wrote last week on this topic, the Wizards didn't have lots of dynamic runners, jumpers and leapers off the bench last season, especially in the backcourt. Perhaps that problem clears up should Glen Rice. Jr. stay up with the main club and on the active roster more often. Then again, Rice's game shines on the offensive end while the uber-athletic Johnson makes noise defensively. Like Wall, Johnson has a knack for chase down blocks thanks to a 41-inch vertical leap. The Pac-12 Player of the Year is a combo guard who needs work offensively, but he made over 38 percent of his 3's as a junior while averaging 16.3 points. I didn't meet or speak with every prospect that visited the Verizon Center over the last two weeks, but of those I did, Johnson impressed me the most with his poise and confidence. The Wizards have expressed interest in the nephew of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson. If they actually select Johnson, it brings into question about the future in Washington for backup guard and Randy Wittman fave Garrett Temple.
Need - backup point guard of the future
- Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier - Within the last week I spoke with an NBA scout about the Wizards and generically asked what need they should try and fill. "I think they probably need a young backup point guard. Andre Miller might be back, but he's 38 so not obviously a long-term solution. They need to get somebody behind Wall." As for specific targets, Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado) and Deonte Burton (Nevada) were the first names mentioned. However, both rank as potential early second-round selections according to some draft sites. The third player discussed was Christon. The 6-foot-3 guard with good length showed he could defend during his two seasons at Xavier, is a plus ball handler and passer with the ability to "get to the rim." Even though he's not considered a strong shooter, Christon banged down 38 percent of his 3's last season. By the way, the scout's one caveat about Washington's "need" involved whether Tomas Satoransky comes stateside. If not, there is long-term value in letting a young option learn behind Wall and Miller
Need - Big men
- Johnny O'Bryant, PF, LSU - Generally speaking, this need trumps all others for the locals. At this moment, Washington's interior rotation consists of the brittle Nene and...everything else is TBD. Even if Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden return, the Wizards need young legs to help all those 30-somethings. That might mean retaining restricted free agents Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, but that might be for only one more season, if at all. The 6-foot-8, 257-pound O'Bryant entered college with loads of hype and began playing in that range over his final two seasons with the Tigers. The rugged forward averaged 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior. Washington gave Gooden and Harrington quality minutes during the second half of last season in part because some of the younger bigs simply did not produce enough. This selection provides an opportunity to fix that. There was an indication O'Bryant would join one of the Wizards' publicized workouts, but he never did.