The Washington Wizards have had about as good a past 13 months as anyone could have expected:
-They swapped Gilbert Arenas’ cap-killing contract for Rashard Lewis' shorter one.
-They flipped Kirk Hinrich for cap space, Jordan Crawford AND the No. 17 pick.
-They had one of 2011’s top drafts, hauling in Jan Vesley, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack.
The only thing that could have made it better would have been buying the draft rights to Marshon Brooks (purchased by the Nets) and/or Jeremy Tyler (purchased by the Warriors) when they had the chance. But I digress.
For a team so far out of the playoff picture last season, Wizards fans have reason to be optimistic—if not downright joyous—about what the future holds.
Unfortunately, there may not be basketball this season, and free agency is forcibly on hold for the foreseeable future.
Because of the Wizards' youth and desire to shed Lewis’ contract ASAP, a missed season may be better for the Wizards than most other NBA teams.
But, as a basketball junkie, I’ve already shifted my attention to analyzing the 2012 draft.
Some of these guys haven’t even laced them up for a college game, so we’re working off scouting projections in those cases.
Regardless, here are some players the Wizards should be looking at as first- and second-round options next season—guys who can be difference-makers if the team's young talent continues to make big strides next season.
(Caveat: I’m projecting the team to miss the playoffs and get a top 10 pick, and will be assuming the depth chart below for positional deficiencies).
John Wall/Shelvin Mack
Nick Young/Jordan Crawford/Othyus Jeffers
Rashard Lewis/Jan Vesely/Chris Singleton
Andray Blatche/Trevor Booker
JaVale McGee/Kevin Seraphin/Hamady N’Diaye