On June 27, the Wizards will take part in the 2013 NBA draft. Currently the owner of picks 3, 38 and 54, the franchise could go in almost any direction with those selections - including trading them - as Washington attempts a sincere playoff push.
Washington's primary needs, some of which can be addressed during free agency, include adding overall scoring punch, finding a power forward with perimeter touch, long-term answer at small forward, plus backups for John Wall and Bradley Beal. Between now and the draft, we’re going to identify some of the players the Wizards might target whether the team stays pat or moves around in the first round with analysis from coaches, scouts, beat writers and national analysts.
Up next, Maryland center Alex Len. Check below for a running of list of all our draft profiles
Lorenzo Brown, NC State
Draft Express overall ranking: No. 50
Height/Weight: 6-5, 189 lbs
Key stats: 12.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.0 steals in 2012-13
The player: Projected as an early second-round selection, Brown is a pure point guard with vision and tremendous size for the position. Nine times last season as a junior, he racked up at least 10 assists including a season-high 13 in a win over then No. 1 Duke. Turnovers come with the point guard territory, but Brown's 3.5 per game tied for the most among any of DraftExpress.com's top-100 prospects. That's not a reflection on his ball handling skills, which are considered strong, but perhaps on NC State's schizophrenic squad. While some rate his athleticism as a plus, others define it as ordinary, and he certainly must add strength. Brown's perimeter shot (26.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc) might not even receive the ordinary tag. Can rack up points when needed, but more efficient as a passer than scorer . Suffered a mid-season ankle injury which cost him two full games and limited the Georgia native in others. Will turn 23 as a rookie.
The fit: The Wizards roster currently consists of two guards. Even if the team decides to re-sign A.J. Price, many would argue Washington still needs a backup point guard upgrade. Hopefully Wall's injury concerns are in the past, but last season the offense cratered without him. Not that Brown is a Wall facsimile, but his ability to find open players and maintain flow would upgrade the second-unit. Ranked among the nation's leaders in assist rate (percentage of teammates baskets with the player on the court) last season per KenPom. Paired with either Wall or Beal, both 6-foot-4, would give the Wizards a sizable defensive backcourt.
The issue: Even though the idea of adding scoring this offseason remains a priority, at this position Washington can take a player specifically to set up the point-producers. What's harder to overlook is Brown's dismal shooting percentage from beyond the 3-point arc last season, which was down from his 35 percent clip as a sophomore. Basically the downturn in those numbers reflect the difference of having made seven fewer long shots last year, but he "certainly must improve his perimeter touch to make an impact in the NBA," according to one college basketball source.
The analysis (all told exclusively to CSNwashington)
Mark Turgeon, Maryland head coach: "I think he's terrific...I think he's going to be a great NBA point guard. Reminds me a little bit of [Indiana Pacers point guard] George Hill. Good size, good speed, good vision. Really improved his shot... [Pass-first mentality] I think with his team this year he was especially that way. He had four scorers around him and he ran that team. He hurt his ankle, which probably hurt his team this year and took him a while to get back. He can run a team and can score."
James Johnson, Virginia Tech head coach: "I think he's got an NBA ready body. He's a big physical guard. In terms of the point guards in this draft, I think his size helps him out a lot. He can get the ball up and down the floor. More of a facilitator, he likes to get the other guys involved, but can score when needed. He's a little better than a 26 percent [3-point] shooter, but 35, I'm not sure."
Ed Isaacson, NBA Scout, NBADraftBlog.com, NBCSports: "Brown would be an interesting pick in the second round. With his size and the way he plays the game, it would be a nice change up pace from John Wall. It could allow the Wizards to try a few different things, maybe even play the two of them together."
The summation: Since Wall and Beal are still very, very young, the Wizards might opt for a veteran backup rather than target a rookie. If not and assuming the team keeps it's early second-round selection, there are several point guards in the same draft range; high-scoring threats (Erick Green), pint sized point-producers (Isaiah Cannan) and shooters with size (Nate Wolters). If Washington opts for a tall table-setter at 38, one they can use when Wall rests or is in foul trouble, then the Wizards could very well decide to see what Brown can do for them.
NBA Draft profiles
Alex Len, C, Maryland
Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF/SG