In Part I of our Wizards draft preview we arrived at three conclusions:
1) The NBA Draft Lottery is an unnecessary, superficial, awkward event;
2) Gilbert Arenas is not what one would call a "classic" point guard;
3) Ernie Grunfeld better damn well draft one of them "classic" point guards.
In Part II we will evaluate potential Wizards draft picks, assuming three things:
1) The pick isn't traded;
2) Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio, and Hasheem Thabeet are unavailable by the 5th pick;
3) The Wizards will draft a Point Guard, Shooting Guard, or Power Forward.
Assumption 2 is based on most Big Boards and Mock Drafts, while assumption 3 is based on a combination of logic, a DCLS poll, and team needs. While we at DCLS believe a drafting a point guard would be in the team's best interests, Ernie may not. So we will account for that accordingly in our evaluation.
Below is a list of potential Wizards' picks along with their measurements and notable '08-'09 statistics. Each player's "Rank" is an average of five Big Boards, picked arbitrarily by yours truly: ESPN, nbadraft.net, Draft Express, CBS Sports, and RealGM. Players are ranked highest to lowest:
There are two ways a GM can approach a draft pick: take the best player available, or take the best player available in consideration of team needs.
According to the above rankings, only Harden and Hill would be "steals" at the fifth pick. With their college accomplishments, athleticism, and outstanding upside, I wouldn't grimace at the idea of either player joining the Wizards. Hill would immediately become former Wildcat Gilbert Arenas' best friend, and could provide valuable energy off the bench until Antawn Jamison transforms into "Antawn Jamison's Expiring Contract". Harden, while lacking ideal size for a two guard, is a great leader and has the ability to share ball-handling responsibilities with a fellow guard. Defensively, he is decent, although he has limited lock-down ability.
Were Ernie to venture down the path of "team needs" when making a final decision, there are several point guards he may consider. I'm going to eliminate Brandon Jennings from discussion because I lack the knowledge to evaluate him, and I (perhaps falsely) believe someone who forgoes a full-ride at Big-Time U to get limited playing time in Europe has character issues. My preference in regards to the point guards above?
Evans has ideal size and can play either guard position. Maynor hasn't consistently faced the same level of competition as the others, but he is a "money player". Curry's 3-point ability is desirable, but he is new to the point guard position. I honestly have no problem with Lawson, but there's a good chance he will around when Washington is called at pick 32.
As for the guy I ranked first: for anyone who watched the Big East tournament, specifically that UConn-Syracuse marathon, I implore you to go back in time and not fall in love with Jonny Flynn. It's impossible. It can't be done. And I know it's usually silly to evaluate a player based on his performance in one game. But when you are desperately seeking a way to improve your team, aside from talent you look for winners and you look for heart. And if there is anything that embodies those two characteristics more than someone's performance in a 6-overtime elimination game against the #1 ranked team in the country, please let me know.
He's small, and he reminds me of Chris Paul, both in size and playing style. Those who say he's too small for the NBA need look no farther than guys like Paul, Aaron Brooks, and Nate Robinson. Remember, it's not the size of the dog in the fight...it's the size of the fight in the dog.
In Chad Ford's profile of Flynn, the point guard had this to say about the prospect of playing in New York. Conveniently replacing New York with Washington, you get this:
"You have to have heart to succeed in [Washington]. I've got a big one."
We could use that on the Wizards, don't you think?
[Title Image via Syracuse.com]