Wizards NBA Draft Recap

The Wizards entered last night’s NBA Draft with plenty of roster needs and two selections under their belt; picks 15 and 44.

Despite rumors of potentially trading down, the Wizards stayed the course and acquired two prospects.

With the 15th pick, the Wizards selected Troy Brown Jr, a freshman out of Oregon. Brown is the third-youngest player in the draft and does not turn 19 years old until next month.

Brown brings many valuable attributes to the table. He has a high basketball IQ, is a solid defender, and can play multiple positions. In his lone season at Oregon, Brown averaged 11.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.2 APG and shot 44.4% from the field.

Brown possesses point-forward skills. At 6’7, with a 6’10 wingspan, he is a solid ball-handler and playmaker. Outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards lack another player capable of creating plays with the ball. Brown will help in this area.

He will need to develop a consistent jump shot at the NBA level. His form and mechanics appear adequate, but he shot just 29% from three at Oregon last season. Brown’s shooting will ultimately determine his offensive upside and ability to play alongside Wall and Beal.

Brown is a “jack of all trades” player. The question begs; can he become a master of any particular offensive skill?

Many fans were unhappy with the selection. There were higher-rated prospects on the board that would have filled positional needs, such as Lonnie Walker and Robert Williams. It was surprising to see the Wizards pass on these names, but they were clearly sold on Brown being the better player.

Another critique is the decision to not trade back. It is unclear where other teams had Brown ranked, but most mock drafts had him going somewhere between the 20th and 30th pick. The Wizards likely could have traded back and acquired an additional draft pick, while still getting the player they wanted.

In the second round, the Wizards had the opportunity to select an NBA-ready prospect capable of contributing this season. Notable first-round talents were still on the board, such as Keita Bates-Diop and Hamidou Diallo.

Instead, Ernie Grunfeld opted to select Issuf Sanon. Sanon is an 18 year-old point guard out of Ukraine and currently plays in the Slovenian league.

Much like Tomas Satoransky in 2012, Sanon is a “draft and stash” prospect. He will not suit up for the the Wizards until at least next season, and possibly longer. Sanon could end up being a solid NBA contributor down the road, but it feels like the Wizards missed out on getting a player who could contribute right away.

This is nothing new, however. The second round of the draft has not been kind to the Wizards in recent years.

Last season, they traded away their second round pick to acquire Tim Frazier. In 2015, they selected Aaron White out of Iowa. White struggled in consecutive summer league and continues to play overseas. In 2014, they selected Jordan Clarkson, but traded him to the Lakers for “cash considerations”.

It also remains to be seen what happens with Marcin Gortat, who the Wizards were actively looking to trade on draft night. They reportedly were hesitant to do any deal that involved the 15th pick. In the coming weeks, the Wizards will likely continue to explore trade options.

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