The Wizards will work out all kinds of bigs and smalls and wings leading up to the June 25 NBA Draft. That their first session this coming Monday features some notable point guard prospects - Notre Dame's Jerian Grant and Utah's Delon Wright - probably shouldn't be viewed as anything more than somebody had to come first.
Whether Murray State's Cameron Payne ever visits Chinatown is something to watch.
Those three along with Duke's Tyus Jones are projected as point guards likely falling in the 10-30 range. The Wizards own the 19th selection.
Payne, who have averaged 20 points and six assists for the Racers last season, has emerged as the leader of this group -- and perhaps favorite of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
From ESPN's Chad Ford this week (via Pro Basketball Talk):
As for the Thunder, since late last week there’s been a lot of buzz among rival GMs that the Thunder promised Cameron Payne they’d take him at 14. I don’t know how much of that is smoke, but he is a great fit at 14 and talent wise he may be the best pure point guard in the draft.
On the surface the idea of OKC adding a point guard might not seem natural seeing as Russell Westbrook lives on the roster along with D.J. Augustin. Then again, neither is a classic point guard. Perhaps the Thunder simply love Payne's game and see him as a long-term fit.
What makes this promise rumor more believable than most is because the Thunder have pulled such maneuvers in the past. AS PBT's Dan Feldman reminds us, rumors swirled of them using the 24th pick on guard Reggie Jackson. They did. Last season the Thunder made a pre-draft arrangement with Stanford's Josh Huestis before selecting him 29th overall.
Ford ranks Payne 11th among all prospects, ahead of Grant (17), Jones (20) and Wright (26).
Point guard ranks below playmaking big man and probably wing scoring threat on the Wizards' need list. However, if Paul Pierce returns for another season, Washington returns the bulk of its core rotation. In that case, the best player available regardless of position remains an option. Grant and Wright offer size while the 6-foot-2 Jones, MVP of the Final Four, is a scoring threat.
If this promise from Oklahoma City proves true, the Wizards may not get a chance for a closer look at Payne to see if he's the best bet.