The buzz word around the Washington Wizards the past few weeks has been shooter. That's what the Wizards need in this year's NBA draft, which takes place on Thursday. After picking up two more forwards via trade last week in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, it would be shocking if the Wizards with the third overall pick took a player other than a guard or small forward who could score the basketball.
That's why two names stick out as possible choices for the Wizards -- Florida's guard Bradley Beal or North Carolina swingman Harrison Barnes.
The 6'-4" Beal averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds a game in his only season at Florida. Beal, who turns 19 on draft day, really came on late in the season, boosting his stock with a 20-point effort against eventual champion Kentucky in the SEC tournament. Beal is a fluid shooting guard who, coming out of high school, was known for his range but struggled to shoot just 33 percent from beyond the arc at Florida. But in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, Beal hit three's at a much better 46 percent clip.
The 6'-8" Barnes has been on the NBA scouts radar since he was a senior in high school and was the nation's 1 recruit before he headed to North Carolina. Barnes was a hotter commodity a year ago after his freshman season but opted to stay in school, and his stock took a hit as he had a solid but not spectacular sophomore campaign, averaging 17 points a game. Barnes can come off screens and hit the jumper but struggled with creating his own shot off the dribble.
It's no secret the Wizards; coming off a 20-46 record, need help offensively. They were the 23rd rank offense out of 30 this last NBA season, averaging 93 points a game, and they were the third worst three-point shooting team at 32 percent.
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld will have the final say on who the Wizards pick on Thursday and the heavy odds are it will be Beal or Barnes.