There are two sets of rankings when it comes to NBA Draft prospects: The generic list and the specific version with an individual team in mind.
Last month, before the pre-draft workout frenzy tipped off, I highlighted eight players for the Wizards. Washington owns the No. 19 pick. As was the case then, the apparent consensus is that there is little consensus with any ranking of players once we move past the top 8-10 and start looking at the dozen or so options.
On some level, there isn't true consensus on what the Wizards need most. That could change if Paul Pierce decides he won't return for next season. Alas, the veteran small forward and Washington's top stretch-4 option apparently won't let the team know his plans until after Thursday's draft.
The Wizards can certainly use a young, mobile big game with a perimeter shot. They need more shooters in general, especially someone who can provide Bradley Beal support on the wing. Finding a long-term backup for point guard John Wall with enough size to play both guard roles works. If Pierce stays, meaning the core of last season's playoff team return, "Best Player Available" thinking is in play.
Two weeks back I ranked those eight prospects based on the Wizards situation and eliminated the unrealistic dream of Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell or Jahlil Okafor sliding to 19. This weekend I adjusted the list by taking out one player (UNLV F Christian Wood) and adding three more (Utah PG Delon Wright, UNLV SG Rashad Vaughn, Arizona SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson). Then I sought outside-the-Beltway counsel and asked Ed Isaacson, who cover the draft for NBADraftBlog and Rotoworld, to rank these 10 prospects for the Wizards. His order from best to not best plus analysis:
Bobby Portis - I consider Portis one of the top 10 talents in this draft, so if he somehow fell to the Wizards, picking him should be a no-brainer. Big enough to score and defend around the basket, along with an improving perimeter game. Portis could have an immediate impact off the bench.
Montrezl Harrell - High-energy and athletic, Harrell has the ability to help right away in some key areas, defense and rebounding. He may be a bit undersized for the 4 spot, but he never seems to stop working on the floor, and his ability to get out and score in transition could make him a favorite of John Wall.
Jerian Grant - Adding some depth behind John Wall is a good idea, and Grant may be the best point guard available when the Wizards pick. Good size for the position, a better shooter than his numbers show, and great vision, especially in the pick-and-roll. Would be a nice change-of-pace behind wall
Delon Wright - Similar to Grant, though a better defender and not as good of a shooter. Wright likes to attack the rim, and he uses his length well on both ends of the floor.
Justin Anderson - Adding more shooting ability is always a good idea, and when you combine it with Anderson's athleticism and defensive skills, he could be a very good choice here. My main concern is whether the big turnaround in his shooting last season is one that will stick long-term, but even if it doesn't he can help in other areas.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - One of top defenders in the draft, Hollis-Jefferson has the length and athletic ability to guard multiple positions. His offensive game is far behind, though he can have an impact on the glass on both ends of the floor.
RJ Hunter - Should be a very good shooter at the NBA level, with good size for the position. He has the ability to create off the dribble, and though not a great defender, his length can be disruptive. Probably needs to get stronger physically before really making an impact.
Rashad Vaughn - A versatile scorer, Vaughn is still young with a lot of physical ability which should make it easy to add to his game. Being a 4th or 5th option on the floor will be a major adjustment for him, and he's said himself that learning shot selection is a challenge for him.
Trey Lyles - In terms of potential, Lyles may be near the top of this draft, but he is still young and a bit raw on both ends of the floor. There's a lot to like about his skill level, especially his ability to take the ball to the basket off the dribble effectively at 6'10, but I rank below Portis and Harrell at the position because the first two are more prepared to contribute now for a Wizards' team that is ready to next another big step.
Kevon Looney - Physically, Looney has the makings of a good defender and rebounder at the power forward position, but he's even further away than Lyles from making an impact, and he's less skilled.
Click here for links to CSNwashington.com's profiles and features on these and other prospects.