The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Darius Garland
Position: Point guard
Max vertical: N/A
2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 53.7 FG% (5.8/10.8), 47.8 3PT% (2.2/4.6), 75.0 FT%
Player comparison: Collin Sexton, Dennis Schroeder
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 6th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 6th, Sports Illustrated 6th, Ringer 6th
5 things to know:
*Garland played only five games in college due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. It was announced in late November he would miss the rest of the season. There is reason to believe the long absence was just precautionary with the draft in mind, as meniscus tears generally do not require a long recovery.
*Garland, though, also decided to skip the NBA combine. Maybe that is as simple as he doesn't feel like he needs to go. Perhaps he even got a promise from a team in the lottery and feels confident he will be picked high. But it won't dissuade any of the injury concerns until he proves otherwise.
*He has a very strong Wizards connection. Garland played AAU ball for Brad Beal Elite. He also lists Beal as one of his favorite basketball players in his USA Basketball team bio. So, if the Wizards need to do some background research on Garland and his character, they know who to ask.
*Garland is considered a scoring guard with a proven ability to knock down outside shots at every level he has played. Though his time in college was brief, he shot an impressive 47.8 percent from three on 4.6 attempts per game. He has also drawn praise for his speed with the ball and creativity as a passer. Defensively is where his biggest concerns lay, as he is going to be undersized at the point guard position, at least until he puts on some muscle.
*His father played seven years in the NBA. Winston Garland, also a 6-foot-2 guard, spent time with the Warriors, Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets and Timberwolves. He was Scott Brooks' teammate on the 1992-93 Rockets. So, another Wizards connection.
Fit with Wizards: Garland's fit with the Wizards is not perfect, as he plays point guard and employs a shoot-first style. With John Wall signed to a supermax contract, the Wizards would really have to believe that Garland is the best player available at No. 9 to take him.
Garland, though, would have a big opportunity to prove himself early on, as Wall will likely miss more than 50 games this upcoming season. Garland could step right in as the starter, depending on what happens with Tomas Satoransky.
Long-term, the Wizards also may need a replacement for Wall, depending on how he recovers from his ruptured Achilles. They have to think in terms of insurance policies and Garland could fit the bill.
But given the Wizards have other needs, it would not be surprising if they fielded trade calls on draft night if Garland fell to them. He's good, but not Ja Morant good and it seems like other players would be better fits for what they need.
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