The Wizards closed strong to end the 2012 season and look to build on things with another high draft pick in next month's NBA draft. The Wizards are expected to draw the second overall pick in tonights NBA draft lottery prior to game two of the Eastern Conference finals. The overall choice is expected to go to the Charlotte Hornets and by most accounts, Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis is the clear top player available. After Davis, the pecking order is unclear.
Charlotte has a 25% chance to get the top selectiton with the Wizards sitting at 20%. The Wizards can pick no worst than fifth overall. Since the NBA moved to the weighted system, only two teams have moved up from second to first during the lottery. The last time the Wizards were slotted second turned out to be a disaster. Not only did Washington drop to fifth after the lottery, they traded the pick (Ricky Rubio) for journeymen Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Foye and Miller spent one injury filled season in town, then were not brought back.
The Wizards have ten players under contract for just under $60 million dollars with the opportunity to clear more room under the cap. The Wizards have yet to use their amnesty clause and could execute it this offseason by buying out the contract of either Rashard Lewis or Andray Blatche. Lewis has only one season remaining on his contract, while Blatche has three left.
The makeup of the Wizards will be determined in large part by their position in the draft. Small forward and shooting guard appear to be the greatest need, but big men are hard to pass up and many believe the Wizards need a better option backing up John Wall.
After Davis, five players stand out above the rest:
Andre Drummond, Center- Connecticut- 6'11" 270
Thomas Robinson, Forward- Kansas- 6'8" 240
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Forward- Kentucky- 6'6" 220
Bradley Beal, Guard- Florida- 6'4" 210
Harrison Barnes, Forward- North Carolina- 6'8" 220
If the Wizards aren't selecting first, I would like to see them trade down. This is something rarely done in the NBA draft, but it may make sense for Washington next month. Portland owns the sixth and eleventh picks in the first round and may want to move up. By trading down, the Wizards would still be guaranteed one of the top six players, while also adding the 11th pick. With a second first rounder, the Wizards would be able to choose among Ohio State's Jared Sullinger or a trio of North Carolina stars, John Henson, Tyler Zeller or Kendall Marshall. The Wizards also have a pair of second round selections, #32 and #46.
Depending on where they end up drafting will drive who they pursue in free agency. If a big man like Drummond is selected, Jan Vesley would probably slide over to small forward full time, leaving the need in the backcourt. If the Wizards select Beal, their focus in free agency may be a combo forward.
Following the lottery, we will explore probable free agent targets and who may be available in the draft in the Wizards eventual slot.
Tom Blaz Co-Owner of DC PRO & The Recruiting Eagle focusing on Auburn University Athletics.