September 24, 2020

Washington Wizards 2015 NBA Draft Preview with Predictions

The Washington Wizards hold the 19th and 49th overall pick in next Thursday’s NBA draft, positions determined by their 46-36 regular season record. The Wizards have had some success in drafting recently with selections of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and most recently Otto Porter, but are also known for missing out on the NBA Champion Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. After trading away last year’s first round draft pick to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, the Wizards will once again have a first round selection in a fairly talented class.

Although there is nothing that the Wizards desperately need, there is no position where they should feel overly confident in either, whether it is in a starting or backup role. Earlier I discussed some of the potential Wizards that may be leaving the club, which could influence how the team will stand going into next year. It is likely that Kevin Seraphin is gone this summer, but that could be the extent of departures as the Wizards would probably not have to spend too much to retain some of the other role players. Assuming current free agents (italicized) and those with player options (underlined) return, a potential depth chart without free agents or draft picks could look like:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Will Bynum
SG: Bradley Beal, Rasual Butler, Garrett Temple*
SF: Otto Porter, Paul Pierce, Martell Webster
PF: Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

*As reported by CSN Washington’s J. Michael, Garrett Temple has opted into his player option, deciding against free agency, for the 2015-2016 season with the Wizards, as expected.

If the Wizards draft any guard that they think deserves a shot on the team, Bynum is likely to lose his roster spot. However, if Paul Pierce does end up retiring or going to the Clippers — less likely with Los Angeles’s recent  acquisition of Lance Stephenson — Bynum’s spot may be secure unless an undrafted free agent is brought in. Gooden’s spot is likely secure because of the need for an immediate known as a stretch-4. Temple will likely return due to mutual desire from both his side and Wizards management. Butler could be let go if room was necessary after having a dismal second half of the season.

Potential First Round Targets (UPDATED):

  • G Jerian Grant (6-5/202): As a local product from DeMatha High School, Grant would be the ideal fit for the Wizards as a combo guard. Grant has the scoring capabilities, 16.5 points a game, to play alongside John Wall or Ramon Sessions as well as the passing skills, 6.7 assists a game, to run with Bradley Beal. It might be a question of if the Notre Dame product is still available when the Wizards are on the clock.
  • G Tyus Jones (6-1/190): At times overshadowed at Duke by likely lottery picks Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow, Jones has the potential to be a great backup point guard. With great vision allowing him over five assists a game; however, it is unlikely Jones would be able to play with Wall at the same time because of his size.
  • G Rashad Vaughn (6-6/210): As a freshman, Vaughn took the Mountain West Conference by storm by averaging close to 18 points and 5 rebounds. His volume shooting in a non-major conference could be a scare and possible reach for the Wizards.
  • G Justin Anderson (6-6/231): The former Montrose Christian star suffered an injury towards the end of last season, which turned out to be the end of his college career as he will forego his senior year at Virginia, but he showed some NBA potential early on. One of the best shooters in the draft class, Anderson shots 45.2 percent (47/104) and also has the capability to be a strong defender.
  • F Bobby Portis (6-11/242): It comes as a shock to many that the SEC Player of the Year did not hail from Kentucky, to Portis it is nothing. The Arkansas product averaged solid numbers with 17.5 points and 9 rebounds a game. With the possibility of developing into a stretch-4 and having unseen post moves because he was doubled throughout college, he could be a nice fit for the Wizards.
  • F Kevon Looney (6-9/220): The freshman will be a first round target for his potential over his production at UCLA. The 11.6 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 63 percent shooting from the charity stripe will not blow anyone away; however, it is his physical attributes, including a 7-4 wingspan, which attracts many franchises.
  • F Montrezl Harrell (6-8/240): When he is determined, the polarizing Louisville product can man handle anybody he wants to on the court. Harrell is long and is a defensive enforcer and is known to be a diligent worker. The lack of size means it would be difficult to play at center, but without a consistent jump shot it could be a reach for the Wizards system.
  • F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7/210): Not know for his offensive ability (11.2 PPG), the former Arizona Wildcat’s immediate impact will come on the defensive end and possibly as a wing player on fast break as he is known for his athleticism. Hollis-Jefferson was voted first team All-Pac 12 and to the league’s all-defensive team.

In the second round there are a lot more options. The hope is that the Wizards management will simply draft the best talent available and hope to score a diamond in the rough in the same way that Marc Gasol (48th) and Marcin Gortat (57th) were selected.

Most recently, the Wizards traded away the rights to their second round pick, Jordan Clarkson, to the Lakers for cash considerations. In the past seven years, only Shelvin Mack has played a game for the Wizards as a second round pick. This can be blamed on poor logic from the Wizards thinking they could stash foreign players overseas as well as failing to attempt the development of young players. Although this is a possibility to happen again, 26 of the 30 players that the Wizards invited to pre-draft workouts are non-first round picks meaning the coaching staff might be committed to bringing in young talent to develop into a contributor.

Potential Second Round/Undrafted Targets:

  • G Tyler Harvey (6-4/185): Out of Eastern Washington, Harvey was an elite pure scorer at the college level averaging 23.1 points a game and shooting 43.1 percent (128 of 297) from three. His young age of 21 is an advantage as the Wizards would be able to mold him into their scheme.
  • G Corey Hawkins (6-3/195): Like Harvey, Hawkins is a pure sharpshooter out of UC Davis. After improving his percentage from beyond the arc drastically, Davis shot a whopping 48.8 percent (81 of 166) but his height will be a concern at the next level.
  • G Dez Wells (6-6/215): Besides being the long time childhood friend of John Wall, Wells fits the style of what the Wizards like in their guards; a slasher who gets to the rim. Although he might not be known for a great shooting career at Maryland, the strong and athletic Terp has worked on his mechanics which he put on display at his pre-draft workout.
  • F Brandon Ashley (6-9/230): On a loaded Arizona roster, Ashley carved out a solid 12 points and 5 rebound average while shooting at over a 50% clip from the field. The lengthy Wildcat is a career 38.2 percent (26 of 68) three point shooter and has a chance of being developed into a stretch-4.
  • F David Laury (6-9/245): Laury performed at a lesser stage at Iona but put up solid numbers with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and steal a game. Like Ashley, Laury is a potential stretch-4 candidate after shooting 38 percent (27 of 71) from beyond the college arc.
  • F Maurice Walker (6-10/250): With the potential of Nene being on the trading block next season and the likely loss of Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards could use a skilled offensive big man. Walker is big enough to play the center position, while still mobile enough to defend the three.

There is talent to be drafted next Thursday and if the Wizards want to be able to compete with the Cleveland’s and Chicago’s of the East, they will have to take advantage of it. Washington is a club with possibly too many old faces as Wall, Porter, and Beal are the only players under the age of 25. Whether the Wizards draft guards or big men, they can improve their team in whichever way they go. My prediction is Bobby Portis, IF Jerian Grant is not available, in the first round and Dez Wells in the second.

Washington Wizards Game 4 Review: Wizards complete sweep of Raptors with win at home

FIRST SEVEN-GAME SERIES SWEEP IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

The Washington Wizards lost all three regular season meetings against the Toronto Raptors, but as Paul Pierce has said “it’s a new season” when the Wizards found themselves going into Game 4 at home already up 3-0. Entering play, the Wizards had played 36 playoff series with zero best-of-five or best-of-seven sweeps. Leading the game from start to finish with a balance scoring attack, the Wizards ended that streak, completing a sweep behind a sellout crowd with a 125-94 win over Toronto.

DC is certainly rising.

Two minutes in and the energy and pace of the game was in the Wizards favor, up 4-2 as John  Wall was serenaded with MVP chants. Washington was methodical in their offensive approach as they got to the line for nine free throw attempts within the first six minutes while shooting 3 of 5 from the field. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 70 Review: Wizards fail to get back on track against Kings

The Washington Wizards had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Los Angeles Clippers in a game earlier in the week that got away early in the first quarter. On Sunday afternoon, the Wizards failed to take care of business against a team they had beat during their last streak, this time across the country. Washington struggled throughout the game and lost to the Sacramento Kings, 109-86. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 52 Review: Wizards get badly needed win by beating Nets to end 5 game skid

The Washington Wizards entered play Saturday riding a five-game losing streak, their worst such stretch since the end of the 2012-2013 season. The Wizards looked to end the skid and regain some ground in the playoff race in the final three games before the All-Star break. They did what they had to in emphatic style, as seven scored in double-figures and all 13 who played scored in the 114-77 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Verizon Center.

[Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 37 Recap: Wizards shut down Heat in unlikely 114-97 win at home

A day after the Miami Heat paid a visit to the White House, the Washington Wizards handed LeBron James and company an unexpected reminder of who calls the District home.

The Wizards snapped Miami’s 22-game winning streak against Southeast Division opponents Wednesday evening with a 114-97 win at the Verizon Center.

Nevertheless, Washington stunned the Heat at the start by enjoying a 20-0 run in the first quarter and leading by as many as 34 points over a team that, with the loss, remains 16 games above .500.

Seven Wizards posted double-digit figures for the second time this season as Washington shot a season-high .547 from the field. Guard John Wall led the effort for Washington with 25 points, marking his 20th game of the season with 20 points or more.

“We knew [the Heat] were going to come in with a chip on their shoulder after losing two in a row,” Wall said after the game. “This is a game they probably thought they could get back on track, and we just wanted to come out here and compete. Against those teams, you just got to find a way to make shots. Tonight we made shots that we’ve been making on the road that we haven’t been making at home…just moving the ball and trusting each other as a group while we are out there as a team.”

Despite scoring a season-high 43 points in the first quarter, the Wizards began to lose control of the game in the second half. Shane Battier and Norris Cole helped kick off a 16-2 run for the Heat to end the third quarter, trimming the Wizards’ lead to just nine points.

Fortunately for Washington fans – who had to overpower a core group of Miami supporters eager to see the Heat dominate – the Wizards kept things together in the fourth quarter, outscoring Miami 28-20. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 23 Recap: Beal’s game-winner lifts Wiz over Knicks

With two long threes and a follow-up drive to the basket, the Washington Wizards were quickly reminded of what they had missed in Bradley Beal for nine straight contests.

In his return to Washington’s starting five, Beal tallied 21 points and seven rebounds, but his final seven points edged the Wiz Kids past the New York Knicks in a gripping 102-101 win Monday night. The victory marked Washington’s first at Madison Square Garden since 2006.

The Wizards got off to a solid start. John Wall sank the bulk of his jumpers – even from three-point land, Washington’s defense held the Knicks’ lackluster offense at bay and Martell Webster set the pace for his 30-point night with back-to-back threes to end the first quarter.

Beal came to life in the second quarter, drilling a three and a close-up to put Washington up 33-25 with less than eight to go. With little effort, Webster dropped in two more threes before Wall lit up with seven points in the final 90 seconds of the half. [Read more…]

Martell Webster to reportedly sign 4-year, $22 million deal with Washington Wizards

Veteran swingman Martell Webster reportedly agreed to a four-year deal with the Washington Wizards  valued at $22 million, with the fourth year partially guaranteed.

Webster, the sixth overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, enjoyed a comeback year with the Wizards last season – serving as both Washington’s go-to three-shooter and a stabilizing force in the locker room. Before missing the final five games of the season with an abdominal strain, Webster shot 42 percent from three-point range and 44 percent from the field to help him to a high-firepower 60.1 true shooting percentage.

Webster made it official on Twitter Tuesday, tweeting:

MartellWebster070313

With both a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal, Webster’s spot-up shooting could certainly come in handy this season. The biggest question – considering the fact the Wizards will pay the full value of the mid-level exception with the deal – is whether or not Webster’s 2012-2013 performance was telltale of a long-term turnaround for the eight-year veteran, or an outlier on an otherwise uninspiring record.

Prior to his season with the Wizards, Webster endured two injury-plagued seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he could be a good fit with Otto Porter Jr., the question is – will Webster remain healthy and consistent, able to build upon last year’s successes with new assets on the court?

The news of Webster’s deal came after the announcement that the Wizards and free agent point guard Eric Maynor have agreed to a multiyear deal. Maynor averaged 6.9 points and 4.0 assists in 27 games with the Portland Trail Blazers last season.

Neither Webster nor Maynor can officially sign until July 10, when the annual moratorium on transactions is lifted.

Sports community shows support for Jason Collins

On Monday morning, news broke that Washington Wizards center Jason Collins announced his coming out in the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated. In the article, he states: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

With news of Collins’s announcement, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld issued the following statement on behalf of the team: “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly.  He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career.  Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.” [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Cleanout Day Audio

With the end of the NBA regular season, Thursday was “Cleanout Day” at Verizon Center for the Washington Wizards. Below are links to the final media availablity of the season for coach Randy Wittman, John Wall and the rest of the squad.

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 1

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 2

04-18-13 Randy Wittman Presser RAW 3

04-18-13 John Wall Presser RAW

04-18-13 Nene Presser RAW

04-18-13 Kevin Seraphin Presser RAW

04-18-13 Chris Singleton wMartell Webster at end Presser RAW

04-18-13 Cartier Martin Presser RAW

 

Washington Wizards Game 72 Wrap: Wizards rally falls short in 97-92 loss to Magic

After trailing by as many as 16 points, the Washington Wizards (26-46) rallied to within two points of catching the Orlando Magic (19-54) with 15 seconds remaining, but came up empty, falling 97-92 Friday night at the Amway Center.

John Wall has done everything in his power to ensure the Wizards don’t bow out early this season, even without a playoff berth in sight, but the supporting cast yet again failed to capitalize on his efforts. [Read more…]

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