Wizards in good position to land impact talent
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, a 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, Glen Rice Jr., who played at Georgia Tech at under current George Mason coach Paul Hewitt and spent the past season in the NBA Developmental League. Check below for a running of list of all our draft profiles.
Glen Rice Jr., Rio Grande Valley (D-League)/Georgia Tech
Draft Express overall ranking: No. 34
Height/Weight: 6-5.75, 211 lbs (combine data)
Key stats: 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks in 2012-13
The player: There are many paths to the NBA, but Rice leaving college for a year in the D-League is certainly among the most unique this season. Fine, he didn't exactly leave school by choice (more on that below), but the athletically gifted swingman used the situation to play 48 games with professionals in preparation for the highest level. While it's not exactly a like-father-like-son situation, Rice shares daddy Glen's knack for racking up points especially from long range, sinking 37.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc last season. Uses his physical gifts to attack and rise at the rim (start around the 2 min mark in this DraftExpress video for the display). Beyond the point producing, he also generated necessary hustle plays fo Rio Grande, especially on the boards. Just over a week before the draft, Rice projects into the 26-40 draft pick range.
The fit: Stop me if you heard this one before, but the Wizards need more scoring off the bench, additional perimeter shooters and wing depth. Check, check, check with Rice, who averaged 13.0 points in his final campaign at Georgia Tech and made 1.8 three-pointers per game last season. While he's not ideally suited for heavy backcourt work, the Wizards can counter by swinging Trevor Ariza and occasionally Martell Webster to guard. Rice already has scorer's mentality so with a little smoothing off the other rough edges to his game, he could be nice fit as the reserve who steps up in situations when others are stepping back.
The issue: After playing his first two seasons under Hewitt, Rice's career at Georgia Tech ended abruptly after being linked to shooting incident while already serving his second suspension of the season. Brian Gregory, who replaced Hewitt, booted Rice from the team. While it appears the 22-year-old has matured after his dismissal, no doubt teams will take a closer look at his maturity and professionalism before investing guaranteed money (this could actually benefit a team like the Wizards should Rice slip into the second round.). As for the actual basketball, Rice's perimeter defense remains suspect and he's undersized to defend small forwards, though his build and 6-foot-9 wingspan helps (on the other hand, he'd have an advantage at guard). His overall skill set does not currently support him playing extensive minutes in the backcourt.
The analysis (as told to CSNwashington):
Paul Hewitt, George Mason head coach (Rice's freshman and sophomore coach at Georgia Tech): "Great IQ. Understands how to play the game, very skilled, very athletic. I would see him as a small forward. ...Just has to grow up. Was a little bit of an immature kid when I had him. He's really grown up a lot. Has a much more professional approach to his game and how he's playing. ...I don't think he's a bad kid, but an immature kid. Apparently, he has grown up quite a bit. I haven't talked with him in a little while...(On Rice and former Georgia Tech teammate/Knicks guard Iman Shumpert) "I know he talks to Iman. He told Iman, 'man, I figured it out. I just have to make better decisions.' It's good to see a young guy be hip to that point in his life when they realize they have to stop fooling around if they want to be successful in life."
Ed Isaacson, NBA Scout, NBADraftBlog.com, NBCSports: "The guy is a scorer. He's still developing into becoming a conventional scorer, still working on creating his own shot, but if you give him space, he'll go right at the rim. Inconsistent as a perimeter shooter, but when he's on, he'll hit 3-4 in a row. At the end of the first round, he may be worth it for a team that can afford to send him back to the D-League for a bit so he can finish up hid development. If the Wizards were able to grab him in the second round, he would be a great fit off the bench. He's the kind of player that when he's going can give play 15 minutes and give you 15 points."
The summation: ESPN's Chad Ford latest mock draft has Rice slotted into the final pick of the first round while DraftExpress.com projects him fourth in the second. That doesn't quite get Rice all the way to 38, but it's close. If the Wizards draft Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. or possibly UNLV's Anthony Bennett in the first round, don't expect them to take another player at a similar position in round two. If instead Washington goes big (or small) at 3, then finding a pure scorer for a team that tied for last in that category makes sense.
NBA Draft profiles:
Mike Muscala, F, Bucknell
Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico
Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown
Lorenzo Brown, PG, NC State
Alex Len, C, Maryland
Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF/SG