Grunfeld: Injured prospects make draft intriguing
The Wizards have made up their mind.
They’re done evaluating players, meaning they didn't go to visit Victor Oladipo (Indiana) or work out an arrangement to see Ben McLemore (Kansas) in this final week leading up to Thursday’s draft.
And they won’t use all three draft picks.
President Ernie Grunfeld held a news conference Tuesday and sounded all but assured the Wizards will be drafting a rookie with the third overall pick but he was non-committal about keeping Nos. 38 and 54 in the second round.
“We have a lot of phone calls, a lot of speculation, a lot of rumors flying around. It’s very typical. It happens every single year. I've had a lot of conversations as have most of the other teams in the league,” Grunfeld said about entertaining trade offers for his lottery spot. “That’s what you do in this time of year. We've had some interesting conversations. … We feel also feel good about the player that will be available to us at three.”
Count on one of these players being that pick: Otto Porter (Georgetown), Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Alex Len (Maryland) or Nerlens Noel (Kentucky).
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who need a center, pick first. The only two players on their roster who can play that position are Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. The Orlando Magic choose second.
After missing the playoffs every season since 2008 and averaging just 23 wins in that span, anything less than a postseason appearance for the Wizards in 2013-14 will be considered a failure.
“It’s a deep draft. You can get players all the way into the 20s that can come in and possibly help out at some point. I don’t think this draft has a clear-cut No. 1,” Grunfeld said. “There’s some very solid talents.”
Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman, who are entering the final year of their contracts, have tried to not put too much emphasis on a rookie having an immediate impact. It took Bradley Beal, who was the No. 3 pick in 2012, a few months to acclimate to the NBA before he showed signs of being worthy.
The same could hold true here, though Grunfeld didn't budge from his earlier held position that even though the Wizards have three picks that they don’t have room for three rookies.
“In all likelihood … if you look at the players we have coming back ... it’s not going to allow roster spots for so many players who are inexperienced,” he said.
And packaging those second-round picks to trade back late into the first round doesn't appear likely, either.
“It’s possible but it’s unlikely that the 38 and 54 can (help you) move up to the first round,” Grunfeld said. “You just can’t tell how far up you can move.”