And with the third pick, the Wizards select...
They will not have the honor of drafting the man with the most famous unibrow in basketball since Ramon Rivas. Anthony Davis will not be joining fellow Wildcat John Wall in DC, but Davis' teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just might.
The Wizards will select third in the 2012 NBA Draft, which takes place on June 28. Since 2000, the No. 3 pick has fared pretty well.
There have been some busts like Adam Morrison in 2006 and Darius Miles in 2000, but overall the third pick has been a gem. Pau Gasol (2001), Carmelo Anthony (2003), Ben Gordon (2004), Deron Williams (2005), Al Horford (2007), O.J. Mayo (2008), and James Harden (2009) are all All-Star caliber players. This bodes well for the Wiz.
The Wizards' biggest needs are at the small forward and shooting guard positions.
The Wiz are set at point guard with John Wall and at center with Nene. Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin both share time at the power forward position. Jan Vesely came alive late in his rookie campaign, scoring in double-digits seven times during the final 15 games of the season. The power forward-by-committee approach can work, as it keeps all three players well rested and ready to contribute.
While Jordan Crawford can score in bunches, his erratic and lack of shot discretion is ill-suited for the starting shooting guard role. Crawford is best suited as an off-the-bench scorer. He could thrive as a permanent sixth man. Chris Singleton had a mediocre rookie season. He looks like a player that can contribute nightly from the bench, but not as a starter.
The Bobcats have the second pick in the draft and will likely select Kansas' Thomas Robinson.
He is an upgrade over D.J. White, their starting power forward this past season. At number three, the Wizards will likely have their choice between Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ("MKG") and Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal.
Both MKG and Beal played only their freshman seasons, so neither is more experienced than the other. Neither were prolific scorers in college either. Both showed great potential and leadership, and flashes of greatness to come. With that said, the Wizards should draft Beal.
The Wizards should draft Beal because he is the better scorer of the two, and the Wizards need scoring badly. Beal struggled shooting the ball last season, but he has the mechanics and ability to be a great shooter. He has good size and it's very impressive that he averaged nearly seven rebounds per game from the wing position.
With Beal in place, the Wizards will have a young and athletic backcourt in place for years to come.
Two other factors contribute to the Wizards taking Beal with the third pick. First, is the second round of the NBA draft and second is free agency options.
The Wizards have two selections in round two. The Wizards will be able to address the small forward position in the second round where players such as Memphis' Will Barton, Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy, Kentucky's Darius Miller and Syracuse's Kris Joseph should likely be available.
In free agency, Ted Leonsis may not be willing to spend big bucks on free agent shooting guards Eric Gordon or O.J. Mayo. Rashard Lewis' and Andray Blatche's contracts have left a sour taste in Leonsis' mouth and it would not be surprising if he instructs Ernie Grunfeld to shy away from the big-dollar contracts.
There are much cheaper free agent options at the small forward position. Jeff Green, Carlos Delfino and Gerald Green are all players that could be acquired at moderate prices and are all upgrades at the small forward position.
The Wizards need a shooter and a player to complement Wall. Bradley Beal fits that role and the Wizards should draft him with the third pick and address the small forward position in the second round and/or free agency.