October 16, 2019

Washington Wizards 2015 NBA Draft Results, Grades, and Meaning

The Washington Wizards were probably busier than some might have expected at the Barclary’s center; nonetheless however, measures were taken to improve this team now and in the future. For a full recap and evaluation of the Wizards activities see my in-depth post from last night.

Washington acquired Kelly Oubre Jr., an athletic wing player out of Kansas from the Atlanta Hawks, drafted with the 15th overall pick, by trading away their 19th overall pick that was used to ship Jerian Grant to New York and two second round picks in 2016 and 2019 going to Atlanta.

In the second round the Wizards stay put and drafted stretch four Aaron White out of Iowa, one pick after missing out on Kentucky big man Dakari Johnson. After the draft, the Wizards are reported to have former Terp Dez Wells and former first round pick Roddy Beaubois on the team’s summer league team.

It is a certainty that Oubre will make the team and will see solid minutes coming off the bench. According to J. Michael, Aaron White will begin his pro career overseas even though GM Ernie Grunfeld said it would be up to White; quite possible that the Iowa big has already made his decision to travel. Dez Wells will likely have a spot on the 15 man roster because he can be a go to scorer off the bench when needed to provide a spark. Clearly many in the Wizards organization agree as J. Michael is reporting that the former Terp is expected to reunite with childhood friend John Wall. Beaubois is already 27 years old and will be starting his 10th year of his pro career; the French native is a long shot to make the team although he would probably play a role to last year’s pick up of Will Bynum.

With this news, a more accurate idea of the Wizards 15-man roster is possible:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Will Bynum/Roddy Beaubois
SG: Bradley Beal, Garrett Temple, Rasual ButlerDez Wells
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster, Paul Pierce
PF: Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, Aaron WhiteDrew Gooden
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

The above depth chart is assuming that Paul Pierce does  not re-sign with the Wizards when free agency begins July 1. Pierce has officially opted out of his contract, which was reported earlier by others. However, it is still possible The Truth will be back and provide the clutch shooting and mentoring he showed off last year. When asked about the return of Pierce, Wittman optimistically said “yeah, absolutely” I expect him back.

Drew Gooden has resurrected his career in Washington the past two years and the Wizards should and likely will work to bring the veteran back. His spot is secure as long as the Wizards figure out a deal that might include a second year player option that suits him. Rasual Butler is a free agent but could be back if the Wizards want him. They currently do not have the roster spot for him if Aaron White does stay in DC and they could opt to bring in another younger sharp shooter instead (i.e. Michael Frazier or Aaron Harrison). Will Bynum will be the odd man out if Paul Pierce returns or even if he doesn’t and the front office likes what they see out of Beaubois more (quite possible if the former Maverick can over come his injury plagued past).

I would expect the Wizards to try and move either Martell Webster and/or DeJuan Blair in coming weeks because of their lack of production and opportunity last year. It is unlikely Washington targets any flashy free agents starting next week as they will continue to save cap space in hope of a run to bring Kevin Durant home.

Although none of these evaluations will mean anything until the end of these players careers, possibly over a decade from now, Oubre and company can still be evaluated on their projected contribution to the team.

  • Kelly Oubre: B with the potential of A. Since the Wizards did have to part with two second round draft picks in 2016 and 2019 when they could have stayed pat at #19 and selected Bobby Portis or Jerian Grant, Oubre is already in the hole. However, there is a reason why the one-and-done Kansas sensation was projected to be a lottery pick: he is ridiculously athletic. His 7′ 2” wingspan will allow him to be a strong defender and he if he continues to develop his multi-faceted offensive game, he will well be worth the investment. It is more likely he will be signing a max deal in four years than him looking overseas to continue his pro career. Oubre is also close friends with Kevin Durant, it might not help come next summer, but it will certainly not hurt either.
  • Aaron White: B+. The Wizards were one pick away from having the opportunity to select Dakari Johnson, an elite defender with a 9′ 4” reach. After that opportunity was taken away by the Thunder with the 48th pick, Washington opted to draft a big who can continue to help them with their high priority of rebounding. White, like Oubre, can grab nine or more rebounds in forty minutes of action. With White’s growing ability to knock down the three point shot, he could be a younger version of Drew Gooden the Wizards are looking for in a stretch four.
  • Dez Wells: A. It costs the Wizards nothing to put a stud with a prolific college career at a local school in Maryland on the summer league team. Clearly the Wizards have no obligation to give Wells a roster spot, but he has clearly made an impression on the front office with his unique slashing skill set. If he has a strong performance in Vegas, Otto won’t be the only local college star Verizon Center will be chanting.
  • Roddy Beaubois: A. Similarly to Wells, it costs the Wizards nothing to take a second look at the French professional. Once believed to be a budding star who dropped 40 points on the Golden State Warriors in 2009 as a rookie, injuries might have completely derailed the career of Beaubois. Once the dust settles with Paul Pierce and the Wizards make up their minds about Will Bynum and other bench free agents will be when the future of Beaubois in DC will be decided.

For continued coverage of the Wizards in the offseason leading up to the start of the 2015-2016 season, visit DistrictSportsPage frequently.

 

Washington Wizards 2015 NBA Draft Recap: Kelly Oubre to DC in Surprise Trade

The Washington Wizards went into the 2015 NBA Draft holding the 19th and 49th overall picks looking to draft the best players available according to General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. In a sudden change of events, the Wizards acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. out of Kansas, originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks at the 15th overall pick. Washington will lose the 19th overall pick as well as two future second round picks in 2016 and 2019.

The night started with the fireworks of the highly anticipated lottery picks, in which Karl Anthony Towns went to the Minnesota Timberwolves, DeAngelo Russell to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Jahlil Okafor to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Although the Wizards selected Jerian Grant out of Notre Dame, and formerly of DeMatha here in the DMV, at their original 19th overall pick, he will be sent to the New York Knicks on behalf of the Atlanta Hawks who will receive former Michigan standout Tim Hardaway. These trades were officially announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver prior to the announcement of the 24th overall pick.

Kelly Oubre did NOT come into a pre-draft workout with the Wizards because the front office did not expect the exciting freshmen to fall out of the lottery picks (1-14). The 6-foot-7 200 pound 19 year old can play shooting guard and small forward. With a whopping 7-2 wingspan, Oubre could be developed into a power forward after bulking up in the upcoming years.

This length to go along with superb athleticism will let him be an impressive two way player that can excel in transition with John Wall, like we have already seen out of Otto Porter. According to J. Michael of CSN Washington, a Wizard decision maker said athleticism was too much to pass up when he was available at #15. Oubre turned into a lock down defender as his season progressed. If you extend the former Jayhawks game to 40 minutes, he snags nearly 10 rebounds and force north of two steals.

The offense is not settled, but a work in progress. However, Oubre is improving on all facets of his offensive game already and will continue to do so as a Wizard. Oubre was a 35.8 percent shooter from behind the arc on a bit of a limited sample size (34 of 95). Advance stats tell us that he is a 41 percent shooter on jump shots inside the arc. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Grunfeld loves Oubre’s upside and ability to run the floor all stemming from his athleticism.

In his post-draft interview with ESPN, Oubre had the confident statement that “whoever gets me is getting a jewel”. The one and done player went on to make a promise that will certainly make him a fan favorite, “I’m ready to win a championship. And whatever team gets me, we’re winning a championship”. The former Jayhawk could take over for a Hall of Famer, also a former Jayhawk, in Paul Pierce who was loved in DC. Oubre is confident that the city will definitely love him as he spoke to CSN Washington’s Chris Miller.

I would not start jumping ship on the bleak possibility that Paul Pierce does not return to DC. He has been reported to decline his player option with the Wizards and is being lured to return to his hometown in LA and a reunion with his former head coach Doc Rivers. Pierce’s former team in the Boston Celtics were also rumored to trying to make a play in retrieving The Truth back to the team he was the 2008 NBA championship with. In the post-first round selection meeting with reporters, Randy Wittman said he expects Pierce to opt-in contrary to reports.

Oubre will likely not start over Otto Porter but can provide a lift to a Wizards bench that at times lacked impact last year. Do not expect too much next year, but if he can hit the occasional three, produce in transition, and become a shutdown defender, he will be worth the two second round draft picks the Wizards gave up.  Oubre will most likely take part in Wizards mini-camp as well as take part in the Las Vegas summer league in July, former Wizards Glenn Rice Jr. was last years summer league MVP. Additionally, the wing will be working out with Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins this summer.

For what its worth, Bobby Portis who was linked by many to the Wizards at #19 was selected by the Chicago Bulls at the 22nd overall pick. With the slipping of both sharp shooter RJ Hunter out of Georgia State and Kevon Looney from UCLA, both who came in for pre-draft workouts the Wizards might have been looking to move up. However, Hunter and Looney went 28th and 30th overall to the Celtics and Warriors, respectively.

In the second round with the 49th overall pick, the Wizards selected Aaron White a 6-9 228 pound stretch four out of Iowa. White did come in for a pre-draft workout with the Wizards and is said to be one of the four best players Washington saw out of their 36 invitees according to J. Michael. White was a poor three point shooter for much of his first three years in school but upped his average to 35.6 percent on 21 of 59 shooting from beyond the arc. Like Oubre, White has a prowess on the glass as he could average more than nine rebounds during a fourty minute span. Throughout the playoffs, Wittman preached about the important of winning the rebounding battle, which can explain why they had both Oubre and White ranked so highly. According to GM Grunfeld, it will be up to White to decide whether he wants to play oversees, possibly after taking part in summer league action; however, J. Michael is reporting that the big man will “definitely” be oversees. That strategy did not work out for recent Wizards second round pick Tomas Satoransky who signed a two year deal with FC Barcelona in Spain last summer.

Although the Wizards only made these two selection, they will be bringing in local favorite and former Terp Dez Wells and Roddy Beaubois, a well traveled former first round pick of the Thunder in 2009 to play on their summer league team. Wells went undrafted as most might have expected but as I have already discussed in my draft preview, he has a unique skill set that can turn him into a productive asset. Wells is clearly ready to take advantage of his opportunity. If the Maryland slasher impresses during mini-camp, summer league, and/or training camp, it is likely you can secure a spot on the 15 man roster, which J. Michael is reporting already secured.

For Beaubois, he has already had one go around in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks after playing three years of ball in the French League with Cholet Basket. While the French native showed signs of being a serviceable backup point guard in the NBA, a broken hand in 2013 ended his first stint in the NBA. Beaubois went on to play in the Belgian League and is currently back in the French League as a part of Le Mans Sarthe Basket.

To read about an evaluation of the Wizards draft night selections and acquisitions check back to DistrictSportsPage to see the front office’s report card.

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