Unlike the best players in the draft who will be lottery picks, Isaiah Canaan waited four years to give the NBA a shot.
He’s not expected to go until late in the first round or until the second round. The Wizards, who’ll be in need of a backup point guard for John Wall especially if A.J. Price doesn't re-sign or only inks a short-term deal, interviewed Canaan at the pre-draft combine in Chicago a week ago.
“I’m a veteran guard in college. I won all four years at Murray State. I can shoot the ball,” said Canaan, who averaged 22.4 points and 4.3 assists per game as a senior for a 21-10 team. “I’m a lot stronger and physical. Those are some of the qualities that separates me from a lot of guards.”
Canaan had to score more last season. Although he’s short, he has an NBA body. But Canaan isn't regarded as fast enough to guard most point guards on the next level and not long enough (6-4.5 wingspan) to defend most shooting guards.
The Wizards appear to be set with a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Both have had their health issues, however, which could thrust a role player such as Canaan into immediate duty.
Wall missed the first 33 games last season with a stress injury to his left knee. Beal’s season ended April 3 after a stress injury to his lower right leg was revealed. He missed 26 games for various injuries.
Be it Price or a backup such as Canaan, there’s a strong chance they’ll have to log minutes at some point. Beal, 19, only played one season in college and had difficulty acclimating to the 82-game season.
“I’m only 21 years old,” Canaan said. “I have a lot of years left to play. I’m going to play until I can’t play no more. … I’d just go in and push them to the best of my ability. If they can play three guards we’d be one tremendous backcourt.
‘I just get out there and get after John Wall, get after Brad Beal and they’ll be able to push me also. You can move guys off the ball. You can move John Wall off the ball. You’d just have a lot of good guards that can create and score at the same time. “