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2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Isaiah Stewart

Team: Washington
Position: Forward/center
Age: 19
Height: 6-9
Weight: 250
Wingspan: 7-4

2019/20 stats: 32 G, 32.2 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.1 bpg, 57.0 FG% (6.0/10.5), 25.0 3PT% (0.2/0.6), 77.4 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, DeJuan Blair

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 21st, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 27th, NBADraft.net 26th, Bleacher Report 26th

5 things to know:

*One of the strongest built players in this draft class, Stewart is a bruiser on the boards and on the block. He was a force in college, bullying his way to the rim with little resistance. His game is currently best-suited for the interior, as he lacks an outside shot. But he has been effective at every level of basketball so far playing that style, and his high motor will help his chances in the NBA.

*Stewart is one of the best rebounders in this class, averaging 8.8 per game including 2.8 on the offensive end. He was a bit inconsistent in that area, however. Seven times he grabbed five or fewer rebounds in a game, while 10 times he had 11 or more. He had 19 boards in a game against Oregon in January.

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*Stewart was also a standout rim-protector, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Whether that will translate to the next level, however, is unclear given his height and the fact he does not appear to be an explosive leaper. He would have to rely on his length and instincts. Draymond Green makes that work, but few others have been able to.

*He hasn't shown many signs he can become a reliable outside shooter, but there are some. The fact he made 77.4 percent of his free throws is a positive. Also, he displays solid touch in the midrange. But given he didn't make many outside jumpers at all in college, he will be docked for his shooting in the pre-draft process.

*Stewart was a big-time recruit just one year ago. A McDonald's All-American and the high school player of the year, Stewart was ranked second in his class by Rivals and third by ESPN. The only player rated higher than him by Rivals was James Wiseman of Memphis.

Fit with Wizards: There are some things to like about Stewart's fit with the Wizards, especially the fact his two biggest strengths - rebounding and rim protection - happen to be arguably their most glaring weaknesses. His high energy and physical style of play would also be a nice change of pace on their roster.

If the Wizards drafted Stewart, he would likely slide into their bench as a back-up to Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. He could play the four alongside Moe Wagner or the five in small-ball lineups, perhaps with Davis Bertans at the four, if Bertans indeed re-signs.

The fact Stewart is a committed rebounder and rim protector would give head coach Scott Brooks some lineup flexibility, though it's questionable how Stewart would fit alongside Hachimura given neither would be able to stretch the floor consistently. If Hachimura develops a more potent three-point shot, then they could better co-exist.

Given where Stewart is projected to go in this draft, though, it seems unlikely he will be a fit for where the Wizards are going to pick. He doesn't have the athleticism or well-rounded game to be a top-10 selection. Unless he slipped to the second round, or the Wizards made a trade, the two sides probably won't line up on draft night.

But if he were to somehow slip to them in the second round, Stewart could make a lot of sense for the Wizards. Given his NBA-ready strength and motor, he could be a high-floor type of player with a good chance of becoming a solid rotation piece.

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2020 NBA Draft: Jaden McDaniels could be a steal deep in the first round

2020 NBA Draft: Jaden McDaniels could be a steal deep in the first round

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jaden McDaniels

Team: Washington
Position: Small Forward
Age: 19 (turns 20 in September)
Height: 6-9
Weight: 200
Wingspan: 7-1

2019/20 stats: 31 G, 31.1 mpg, 13.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.4 bpg, 40.5 FG% (4.4/10.85.7), 33.9 3PT% (1.4/4.1), 76.3 FT%

Player comparison: Andrew Wiggins, T.J. Warren

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 16th, Sports Illustrated 13th, Ringer 22nd, NBADraft.net 15th, Bleacher Report 24th

5 things to know:

*McDaniels is one of the few lengthy wings that are projected to go near the top half of the first round. There are several areas of McDaniels' game that are enticing to want to draft him. His size is ideal for his position and he is comfortable scoring at all three levels. For his position, he is a capable ballhandler and can generate his own shot. An alpha dog mentality combined with those other elements makes him a top-five true wing player off the board.

*Expectations at Washington were high McDaniels and he definitely underwhelmed. Entering the season he was a top-10 recruit and many anticipated he would take a point forward type of role with the Huskies. Instead, he showed that he was a good all-around player and none of his skills were what one would consider 'elite.'

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*As a good all-around player, there are players that have been able to shut down McDaniels. Initiating much of his offense from the perimeter, he lacks the take off speed of guards that likely will match up on him. His length will allow him to take pull-up jumpers and stepbacks but have a defender draped around him. He also lacks the strength of a post player which will keep him from hunkering down in the post. Having all of the skills is great, but he's going to have to improve one area of his game to give him a competitive edge.

*Much of McDaniels' versatility comes from an early right elbow injury. In his freshman year of high school, McDaniels was forced to shoot lefthanded because of the nagging injury. While he transitioned back to shooting righty, the experience quickly improved his handles and likely also gave him a better appreciation of his driving ability. 

*The McDaniels have quite the basketball family with NBA roots. Jaden's older brother Jalen was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with a second-round pick in 2019. Jalen played 16 games last season and was a rather effective power forward off the bench. The McDaniels are also cousins of former NBA star and Michigan head coach Juan Howard. 

Fit with Wizards: Unless the Wizards were to trade back - which they are not really in a position to do so - they would not be in a spot to draft McDaniels. There's a lot to like about McDaniels' game, but the lack of an elite skill will prevent him from standing out on an NBA roster and rising up draft boards. 

From a roster standpoint, he would likely be another option to try and fill the small forward spot that is currently occupied by Troy Brown Jr. Initially, McDaniels would likely start as Brown's backup but be expected to take over Brown's starting role in due time.

The two of them together would also give Scott Brooks a platoon option at the three. Brown is more ball-dominant and creative with his dribble with natural point guard tendencies. McDaniels can create his own space and hold his own with the ball but is more of an attack and score player. Both are good to have and bring different elements to the team. Considering they would also spend time with the second unit, which has been an Achilles heel of sorts for Washington over the past handful of seasons, Brooks could play the situation based on needs at the time. 

Drafting McDaniels would also make it difficult to keep Davis Bertans given the roster constraints. The team still needs to address the lack of interior presence and overall need of talented defenders; McDaniels offers neither. 

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