Washington Wizards: Five Potential First-Round Draft Picks

Jarrett CarterAnalyst IApril 22, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 06:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Davidson Wildcats reacts to his team's 72-67 victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 6, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Washington Wizards, contrary to the overwhelming history of Washington-area sports karma, have secured a spot in the top three picks of the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery.

The No. 1 pick obviously will reveal itself to be Blake Griffin, but the Wizards need to concern themselves with at least four other guys that can draw enough attention to sell tickets, and play well enough for opponents to respect Ernie Grunfeld’s hustle.

The good news is that, outside of Blake Griffin, the Wizards will not be drafting a starter. This means that, to Ernie Grunfeld’s credit, the Wizards don’t have many gaping holes in the roster.

Let’s take a look at five guys that can fit the mold for a Wizards team looking to be the 09-10 version of this year’s Miami Heat.

No. 5: DeJuan Blair

There’s a couple of reasons why you look at DeJuan Blair as the second or third pick. First, because you already have the next best thing in the draft, Hasheem Thabeet, in JaVale McGee. Second, the Wizards have long needed a brutish post presence in the worst way to distract the likes of Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, and Al Horford in future playoff matchups.

Haywood has come into his own at center, with McGee primed to take the spot when ready. But with Blatche still attractive enough to package in a trade, Blair’s body and ability to move and not be moved in the post should more than shore up the Wizards front line.

No. 4: Stephen Curry

If there’s one thing that the Wizards need desperately, it is a reliable outside shooter. They have plenty of players to go create shots off the dribble, but no reliable shooting star for screens and post kick outs.

He handles better than people give him credit for, and his liability as a defender will be more than covered up by a healthy Brendan Haywood and an improved JaVale McGee.

Maybe the second or third pick is too high for Curry, but he plays for the big moments and craves big shots, much like another undersized shooting guard who had a great shooting night not too long ago, Chicago’s Ben Gordon.

No. 3: Tyler Hansbrough

For all of the reasons for DeJuan Blair, as stated above, you have to consider Tyler Hansbrough. And unlike Blair, Hansbrough has an evolving mid-range game and a fascination with competing every night.

Most of all, he could be a young Washington Wizard that would be serious enough to demand professionalism from his teammates and attention from opponents.

No. 2: Tyreke Evans

The question is if you believe in Jarvaris Crittenton. If you do, then you likely go big. If you don’t, then Tyreke Evans is a solid pick.

Evans, with work, will likely be able to play the point and shooting guard at the NBA-level. If you peeked at his performance in the NCAA tournament, then you know how he rolls. He’s turnover prone, but has an NBA body and NBA off-the-dribble talent to spell Gilbert Arenas or Caron Butler when called.

No. 1: Ricky Rubio

Perhaps the most hyped European prospect in NBA history, Rubio may be the answer to what ails the Wizards.

Gilbert is a natural scorer, and while he has made himself into a legitimate point guard, Rubio would provide an interchangeable scoring and distributing option from the two guard positions.

Of all the NBA prospects, he is the second-closest to a can’t-miss behind Griffin. Should the Wizards draft second, they should act accordingly.

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