5 Draft Prospects Who Would Be a Perfect Fit for the Washington Wizards
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For Washington Wizards fans, it's that time of year again. The time of year when fans can have hope for their basketball team for at least a week or two before a losing regular season quickly squashes that hope.
That time, of course, is the NBA draft. The Wizards were very lucky a few weeks ago when they won the No. 3 overall pick in the draft lottery when they were predicted to only leave the lottery with the No. 9 pick.
Now, there is talk of which players Washington should take with the pick, or if general manager Ernie Grunfeld should just trade the pick away for one or two veterans.
But assuming the Wizards keep the pick and draft a new, young player to complement point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal, this year's draft class is certainly deep enough that there are quite a few options.
But the higher on the priority list a player is, the more likely the Wizards are to draft that player, the better the player would make the Wizards immediately and the better fit the player is for the current Wizards roster.
It seems as if the Wizards have been rebuilding for almost four or more years now, and drafting the right player could finally put them over the hump and propel them into the playoffs.
5. Alex Len, C, Maryland
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Leading up to the draft, Maryland's Alex Len has been all over mock draft boards.
After undergoing surgery to repair a partial stress fracture in his left ankle back in April, there are questions surrounding how good of a player Len could be in the NBA.
The 19-year-old Ukrainian was very impressive in his second and final season with the Terrapins, averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field.
Washington's two main big men, Emeka Okafor and Nenê, aren't going to be getting any younger, and the Wizards should be in the market for a center with only one year left on Okafor's contract.
Taking Len at No. 3 would certainly be a stretch, especially if Nerlens Noel or Anthony Bennett are still available, but Ernie Grunfeld has done stranger things before in the draft, and Len certainly has a lot of upside.
4. Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
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At the No. 3 pick, taking Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA would certainly be a stretch.
However, if Otto Porter from Georgetown ends up going early to either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Orlando Magic, Muhammad fills a position of need at small forward.
Washington doesn't have a starter at this position at this point in time, with Martell Webster on the free-agent market.
In his only year at UCLA, Muhammad averaged 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while maintaining a field-goal percentage of 44.3 percent en route to a Pac-12 regular-season title for the Bruins.
Had Muhammad not gone to college this season, he could have potentially been the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft after drawing comparisons to Kobe Bryant.
There's almost no chance Muhammad will end up with a career similar to Bryant's, but the high ceiling is certainly there.
Again, Muhammad shouldn't be the Wizards' first draft option with Otto Porter in the same draft class, but if Porter is gone, Muhammad is certainly a possibility.
3. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
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This one is certainly under the condition that Noel doesn't go at No. 1 or No. 2 to either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Orlando Magic, but there is no doubt Noel is a perfect fit for the Wizards.
He only played a partial season with Kentucky after his season ended early due to injury, but his ceiling is about as high as it comes in the draft.
Noel prides himself on his defense, averaging 9.5 rebounds, four blocks and two steals per game in his freshman year, and Washington certainly leaned on their defense this season. The Wizards finished the regular season with the eighth-best scoring defense in the NBA.
Noel can also score when called upon, averaging 10 points per game and shooting just under 60 percent from the floor.
Like Alex Len, Noel would be the young big man the Wizards truly need with Emeka Okafor and Nenê, the only two starting big men on the roster. But, there is certainly a possibility that Noel will go before the No. 3 pick.
2. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
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A scoring power forward, Anthony Bennett is one of the most probable option for the Wizards at the No. 3 pick.
Bennett is often lazy on defense but is certainly a top-tier scorer for his size. The 6'8", 240-pound forward averaged 16 points and eight rebounds for the Rebels in his freshman year.
Bennett led a team that was sixth in the nation in offensive and defensive rebounds per game, and he led the Rebels in points per game and shooting percentage.
If the Wizards chose to go with Bennett over Otto Porter, he would likely spend his first season or two on the bench, backing up Nenê as his contract winds down in Washington.
This certainly wouldn't be a bad thing, as a young core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Bennett would mean a very bright future for Washington, but it's up to Washington if it goes with Bennett or Porter.
1. Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
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Given the talent in this year's draft class and the direction the draft appears to be taking, Georgetown's Otto Porter seems to be the truly perfect fit for the Wizards.
Porter, a hometown guy, may never be a superstar in this league. He may never make it to more than two or three All-Star games. However, Porter has the potential to be a very consistent starter and a huge contributor in the NBA.
Not only would drafting Porter bring a big name into Washington, which would put more fans in the seats, but he also fills one of the biggest positions of need on the Wizards.
As previously mentioned, Washington currently lacks a starting small forward, and a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal along with Porter leading the frontcourt would be one of the strongest starting lineups in the league in three or four seasons.
Porter averaged 16 points, 2.7 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game in his sophomore season at Georgetown. His scoring in the lineup would take some of the pressure off of Wall, who could distribute the ball more to Porter and Beal.
Without a doubt, Porter is the best option at the No. 3 pick for the Wizards, given he is available when the time comes.
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Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
While Victor Oladipo had a great junior year at Indiana, shooting guard should be one of the last things the Wizards think about in the draft given the fact that Bradley Beal already occupies that position.
However, it's not out of the question to say Oladipo would be a terrible fit for the Wizards considering he averaged 13.6 points and shot almost 60 percent from the floor in his junior year.
But at the No. 3 pick, there are other positions Washington needs to consider.
Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Zeller is projected to go much later than the No. 3 pick, but if the Wizards wanted to go with a center in the draft, he certainly isn't a bad option if Len and Noel were somehow off the board.
The seven-foot center averaging 16.5 points and eight rebounds per game in his sophomore season with the Hoosiers and was one of the better big men in the country during the 2012-13 season.
If the Wizards were to trade the No. 3 pick and move back in the draft, Zeller would also be a great option there.