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NBA Draft: Picking favorites for Wizards


NBA Draft: Picking favorites for Wizards

The latest CSNwashington.com NBA mock draft will hit the internet in a few hours. Now, those selections, including the Wizards at 19, are projections based on team needs, league buzz and analysis. They are not about what this writer would select if given the chance, at least in most cases.

Previously I listed eight prospects with the added proclamation that one of them will be the pick assuming Washington keeps the pick. That list was alphabetical. This one is ordered based on personal preference, but with a realistic view of the Wizards roster, likelihood of the player's availability and the important caveat that more time for research exists. In other words, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D'Angelo didn't make the cut because they'll be long gone. Others like UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn and Syracuse forward Chris McCullough might be around next time.

8) Christian Wood, PF, UNLV - He's on this list because he was on the previous list, but admittedly he's the shakiest for me because he's currently so raw, but also I watched him play the least among those on this list. The measurables (7-foot-3 wingspan) are super impressive and the 6-foot-11 forward attacks the boards. He's the type of player teams might fall hard for in workouts.

7) Justin Anderson, SG, Virginia - What I previously wrote about the former Montrose Christian product holds. Should at least start his career off as a 3-and-D option, but with far greater potential. Posted 43-inch vertical leap at the combine and sports 6-foot-11 wingspan, meaning he and Otto Porter could former a lengthy defensive wing combo. Shot 45 percent from beyond the arc as a junior. The Wizards have lacked a scoring backup plan behind Bradley Beal. 

6) Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA - The analytics love the big man with range and a knack for offensive rebounding. The website Draft Express put together a group of various models and the results said the 6-foot-10 forward was tied for the fifth best prospect with Arizona's Stanley Johnson. The eye test doesn't always agree especially when focused on his limited athleticism. Polarizing pick, but maybe the right one.

[MORE WIZARDS: Washington proud of Porter's production]

5) Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville - If the Wizards go big but with things in mind besides shooting, the 6-foot-7 Harrell is one to watch. Tremendous wingspan and energy makes up for limited height. Wall would love feeding this brute in the open court. So much to like here, but his sub-60 percent shooting from the free throw line, not so much.

4) Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame - Taking the son of a former Bullet/Wizard who grew up in the Maryland suburbs and played for DeMatha would be such a Susan O'Malley style move. Those days are gone, but Grant's point guard skills, size and maturity would fit nicely.

3) Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky - Overshadowed at Kentucky by Karl-Anthony Towns, John Calipari's aura and the sheer number of of touted prospects on the roster. Has the need height and bulk for the NBA's interior wars, but is also deft away from the hoop. The downside, according to NBA Draft Blog, is that Lyles isn't ready to contribute. More seasoning required. That's not necessarily a problem in Washington assuming Nene stays. The wait could be worth it. "If he can develop his long-range jumper to go with his ability to attack the basket at 6’10, he could become one of the toughest players to guard down the line."

2) R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State - Reminds me some of an extrovert Otto Porter with deeper range. Great instincts. Lengthy with enough size (6-foot-6) for three-guard looks with Wall and Beal. Gutsy. Playmaking skills allows the offense to run through him if needed. The fear is that Hunter's projections shoots up during workouts. 

1) Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas - Big man with an interior game, range and personality (all pop in this Draft Express video). Just don't fall in love. Washington likely needs to move up in round one for him. That might be wise. The Wizards have three young building blocks, including Porter, but adding a young force up front to go with those perimeter pieces would be nice.

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

The decision for who will run the Wizards front office long-term is not imminent. In fact, it may not even be that close.

That's according to majority owner Ted Leonsis, who again displayed a surprising level of patience in his months-long process to replace Ernie Grunfeld, this time in an interview with the Washington Post. Leonsis says he does not expect to finalize the hire until after the start of free agency on June 30.

That effectively means that if they hire someone from outside the organization, that person will have little to no impact on the team this offseason. That may sound like hyperbole, but just look at the calendar.

The NBA Draft is on Thursday. The deadline on Jabari Parker's $20 million team option is June 29. Free agency will begin on June 30 and qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due that day as well.

By the second week of July, the Las Vegas Summer League will be in full swing. But the NBA offseason, at least the most important parts of it, will be pretty much over. 

The Wizards will have already made their draft pick(s) and held the press conference. They will have likely settled matters one way or another with restricted free agents Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis. And by then, the phone could be ringing off the hook with trade offers for Bradley Beal.

Leonsis, though, is continuing to take the longview, knowing no one will really care in a few years if he nails the hire and the franchise is quickly steered back onto the right course.

The drawn out timeline raises many questions and the most obvious one is what they are waiting for. The NBA Finals are over. If they were waiting to talk to someone involved in that series, they can do that now. 

Maybe he wants to see how interim president Tommy Sheppard fares in his first draft as the top executive. Maybe all of this, the draft and free agency process, is a test.

Maybe he plans to hire someone from outside the organization, but feels that installing them now wouldn't be good timing. Leonsis hasn't offered specifics in that regard.

At this point, it seems clear the best way to make this a productive offseason from a roster-building perspective is to promote Sheppard. He has been carrying out his vision and will do so through at least the start of free agency.

The Wizards won't have a ton of money to spend, but they will have some. Sheppard is going to be making the pitch and signing players to be part of the Wizards' future.

Someone else is just going to take it over after that? That doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Leonsis is okay with punting this offseason with his eyes on the bigger picture.

But also, consider the fact this isn't just a normal offseason. They aren't your typical team hitting the reset button. They have two All-Star players signed to large contracts, John Wall to a supermax deal and Bradley Beal to a max.

This offseason should be the start of laying the groundwork for life with Wall after his Achilles surgery. And if they have any hope of signing Beal to another contract, they need to show some signs of progress.

Late in the regular season, Beal was asked whether he would sign an extension with the Wizards and he said: "I wanna be able to know that we're going in the right direction in the future."

Beal said that in the context of a potential supermax contract worth approximately $194 million over four years. Now they can only offer him a smaller deal worth about $111 million over three years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday the Wizards' intention to offer Beal the $111 million contract this summer. But if he wasn't a guarantee to accept the larger deal, then we know how he feels about the lesser one.

Beal has expressed his loyalty to the Wizards in numerous, sometimes-extreme ways. He has said everything from wanting to retire in a Wizards jersey to wanting to die in a Wizards jersey. He told NBC Sports Washington in February he wouldn't request a trade.

But he wasn't blowing smoke about wanting to see the team improve. Every indication from those familiar with his plans suggests he meant what he said. He is entering his eighth season and has already made plenty of money. He wants to win.

With that in mind, they can't really afford to botch this offseason. And if they have hopes of signing him long-term, they probably can't tear everything down around him for a rebuild. 

That makes the patience Leonsis is showing so interesting. There are still ways to ultimately get this process right. But the longer they wait, the more they will potentially sacrifice.


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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

Despite the litany of teams who would love to get their hands on Bradley Beal this offseason, Washington has so far remained committed to keeping Bradley Beal a Wizard.

And when he's eligible in July, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  

"He's eligible for a three-year, $111 million extension," Wojnarowski said during ESPN's televised mock draft special. "I'm told it's the team's intention to offer that up to him and try and move forward."

Keeping Beal long-term may wind being a smart move, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig wrote this week. The extension would lock Beal up for the next five years and secure him and John Wall -- once he's fully recovered from offseason Achilles surgery -- as the Wizards' backcourt for the foreseeable future. 

The offer may seem financially burdensome, considering the Wizards just signed John Wall to a massive supermax extension that starts this season. But although the Wizards are currently strapped for cash, there's hope on the horizon. Ian Mahinmi's $15.6 million deal and Dwight Howard's $5.4 million deal expire after the 2019-2020 season.

The Wizards could decline Jabari Parkers $20 million team option and let Bobby Portis walk in restricted free agency this offseason. If both those happen, the Wizards could open up cap space for Beal's extension.

Considering John Wall is out for likely the entire next season and the Wizards still don't have a GM, their best move might be to lock in what proven production they have.