The Washington Wizards are at a critical juncture in their rebuilding process. They have the franchise savior in John Wall, as well as solid pieces to build around in JaVale McGee and Jordan Crawford. Succeed in the draft, and they could be well on their way to a return to the playoffs. Fail, and they could face more years of frustration and mediocrity.
With that being said, here are the three best options for the Wizards come draft night.
1) Stay put and find more role players
The Wizards currently have the sixth and 18th picks in the draft. It is unlikely they will find a star player at these points, especially with a weak draft class. With that being said, draft smart, and there are two solid role players to be had.
The most viable option with the sixth pick is drafting small forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is an explosive athlete and could fill a need position at small forward, as well as be the best player available on the board.
Leonard is a high-energy player and premier athlete and rebounder. With the right coaching, he could become an excellent defender as well. Leonard is still only 19 years old and got better statistically across the board in his sophomore season at San Diego State. He would be an instant alley-oop partner for Wall and help make the Wizards one of the most exciting young teams in the league.
What should the Wizards do in the draft?
With its second pick, Washington should take a spread-the-floor forward. Duke's Kyle Singler and UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt should both be available here and fit the bill. A deadeye three-point shooter would make it easier for Wall to operate and throw up oops to his young teammates.
2) Trade up and try to find a star
The Thunder lucked out by finding All-Stars in successive drafts with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two players deemed to be above the rest that fit the Wizards' rebuilding plans are forward Derrick Williams and Turkish center Enes Kanter.
The Wizards could package their picks and try to trade into the top three to get one of these stud prospects. They would likely have to include a future first-round pick, but if they could instead jettison Andray Blatche, even better.
Kanter is a mystery, as he has been picked anywhere from one through six in mock drafts. However, if the Wizards want a serious shot at landing the big man, trading up is the only option.
3) Trade out of the draft
The last time the Wizards were in position to find a good but not great player in a draft class deemed weak, they traded out of it. The pick ended up being point guard Devin Harris, and the incoming veteran was forward Antawn Jamison.
Jamison was part of a core that helped the Wizards to four straight playoff appearances. In 2005, they made their first second-round appearance in 23 years, so the trade has to be seen as a success.
One player that comes to mind who has been mentioned in trade rumors and also fills a need for the Wizards is 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Andre Iguodala. "Iggy" would step right in and provide great defense, be a solid offensive option and provide much-needed veteran leadership.
Whether the Sixers would want to trade a proven commodity for more young talent is another question. There are always surprise deals to be had as well. I don't think anyone saw Boston trading Jeff Green for Ray Allen on draft night in 2007.
The Wizards aren't far away from a return to playoff contention. They have the biggest piece of the puzzle in John Wall. Now it's time to find the right pieces to fit around the budding superstar.