The NBA offseason is officially here for all 30 teams, though not all are currently part of the next major league-wide event. That's a gentle way of reminding folks that the Washington Wizards do not currently own any picks in Thursday's NBA Draft. That doesn't mean they can't move back into the two-round draft, especially with the likes of Boston and Denver hoarding more picks then either team can possibly use. That hasn't meant we've stopped talking about the Wizards and the draft despite the current limitations.
Here's my latest and perhaps final 2016 NBA mock draft depending on whether any moves around the league are made or what the rumor mill spits out. In addition, here's a recap of some pre-draft articles I've written recently plus some best guesses on who the Wizards could target if they move into the second round.
• Rookies remain key when projecting back of the bench - Only 60 players will hear their name called during the draft. The Wizards will be dialing up some of those passed over prospects for Summer League help. There is a legitimate possibility that some of these undrafted types, D-Leaguers or others make the opening night 15-man roster especially with 9-10 spots open. Depending on how the Wizards spend in pursuit of notable bench help, the final 2-3 slots could be minimum salary types.
• The 'What if' scenario - Washington shipped its first round pick to Phoenix for power forward Markieff Morris. Here's what the Wizards would be looking at with the 13th overall pick if they never make that deal. Speaking of the deal...
• Good move - That's the take of ESPN NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford, who believes Washington's deal for Morris netted better value than the likely first round options. Ford isn't exactly in love with the 2016 class to the point that he believes Kelly Oubre, the 15th selection in 2015 doesn't go 15 if with this group.
Second round options - On the one hand, a second round pick is an inexpensive option with some upside potential. On the other hand, what's the cost for moving back into the draft. Cash sounds easy enough, but if the other teams, want future picks, things get tricky. The 2017 class is considered much more impressive than the 2016 edition. But, if the Wizards make a move, here are some best guesses on potential targets.
• Ben Bentil, PF, Providence - Arguably the most improved player in college basketball last season. It's a make-or-miss league and the savvy scorer averaged 21.1 points for the Friars. 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan.
• Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia - Law school smart with a sharp 3-and-D skill set. The Wizards were burned by wing 3-point shooters last season and a backup plan behind Bradley Beal is necessary.
• Jake Layman, PF, Maryland - Others stole the spotlight last season for the Terps, but the 6-foot-9 forward consistently delivered. Shot career-high 40 percent from beyond the arc as a senior.
• Fred VanVleet, PG, Wichita State - John Wall's knee surgery puts a priority on adding a viable backup point guard. Ideally that's a veteran, but otherwise an experienced college option. VanVleet starred for four seasons with the Shockers including during their Final Four appearance.
• Steven Zimmerman, C, UNLV - Some have the 7-footer landing late in round one after he averaged 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during his freshman season. Long-term option needed behind Marcin Gortat.