Len, Oladipo, Porter waiting to hear their names called
Every mock draft and every bit of guesswork -- some educated, some definitely not -- already has been done since the draft lottery a month ago.
It’s usually a wasted exercise. Draft day, which is Thursday in New York, is a fluid event. The Wizards may go in with every intention of making their draft pick, but a trade opportunity may come in the 11th hour that causes everyone to reshuffle the deck.
So regardless of what the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic do with their Nos. 1 and 2 picks, or if president Ernie Grunfeld follows through on his promise to not use all three picks on rookies (Nos. 3, 38 and 54), this is what fictional president/GM J. Michael would do:
No. 3: Ben McLemore (Kansas). It defies everything that’s been written or said about the 6-4 guard, whose representatives blew off the Wizards’ repeated requests to arrange an individual workout and interview. But the Wizards are tied for the worst in the NBA in scoring at 93.2 points per game. He’s such an elite scorer -- the best pure one in this draft class -– and can stretch the floor for a team that already is a top 10 defense despite being undersized. All of the talk about McLemore’s demeanor is just that. Talk. He’s young. His talent is too good to pass up.
The rationale: Size can be acquired via free agency or later in the draft. Going for a guard this early makes the other moves a must to fill that void. The Golden State Warriors went 47-35 in a deeper conference and advanced to the semifinal round in the playoffs, pushing the eventual West champion San Antonio Spurs to six games. The meat of their lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack, Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry. The first three are guards. Not one of these players is taller than 6-9. Of course, the Wizards likely will lose Trevor Ariza, their best one-on-one defender, and center Emeka Okafor after the play out the final season of their deals.
If off the board: Take Otto Porter (Georgetown) or Anthony Bennett (UNLV). The former is a small forward. The latter a power forward, where the Wizards are overloaded with limited scorers, who can present options in the pick-and-roll.
No. 38: Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State). He averaged 17.4 points as a senior and has a 7-2 wingspan at 6-8. Undersized as he played center, Carmichael averaged almost 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. Those two parts of his game almost always translates to the pros -- think Denver Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried from Morehead State -- and there’s a chance he’ll be available. Carmichael, who'll play power forward as a pro, also can hit the mid-range jumper and be a threat in the pick-and-pop.
The rationale: By going with a guard with the top pick, a post player here is imperative. It’s unlikely a quality center will be available here though 6-11 center Mike Muscala (Bucknell) could be an intriguing option here. Carmichael has an NBA body to bang in the paint and would adapt quicker.
If off the board: Romero Osby (Oklahoma). He averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds. He’s projected as a PF like Carmichael, but plays more of a finesse game. A good alternative to Bennett. Wouldn't take Osby if Bennett is chosen in first round.
No. 54: Oleksandr Lypovvy (Ukraine). Can't believe I'm suggesting an overseas player, given the Wizards' lack of success in this area, but this is a 6-8 ball-handler who can defend his position if nothing else. His jump shot isn't too bad either, but Lypovvy is a solid player who can show some a flair. Excellent vision and looks physically sturdy. What's difficult in judging foreign players is when trying to gauge their competition and how that translates. Lypovvy understands English well but speaking it is difficult for him.
The rationale: Guards who can play both perimeter positions are valuable. These picks are crap shoots,and just look at recent NBA history, which is part of the reason why the Wizards aren't optimistic there is room for this pick on their roster. With Lypovvy, they can get a quality ball-handler, size and leave him to develop in Europe until there's room on the roster.
If off the board: It's not likely, but if Peyton Siva (Louisville) hasn't been taken though he's undersized at 5-11 he could be worth the risk. Siva impressed at last month's combine to improve his position. He's a game manager who doesn't need to score to be effective and can play solid position defense in relief of Wall. If the Wizards aren't able to retain A.J. Price in free agency because they might not be able to afford him, landing a guard at some point is necessary. Lack of ball-handlers is a problem with the offense when Wall and Bradley Beal aren't on the floor. Another route they can go is with Khalif Wyatt, a scorer who stands 6-3 and is instant offense. His handicap, however, is his inability to defend his spot. He'd have to be hidden in coverages but he's a shot-maker supreme even if the's not the greatest athlete.