The stage is finally set for the 2019 NBA Draft. On Tuesday night, the NBA Draft Lottery results were unveiled, with the New Orleans Pelicans landing the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to draft Duke phenom Zion Williamson.
The Washington Wizards did not hit the lottery jackpot on Tuesday night. In fact, the Wizards were one of the biggest losers of the night, falling back three spots despite having the sixth best odds.
Focus now shifts to the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, which begins Wednesday, May 15 in Chicago, Ill., where some of the top prospects will be performing and competing in front of coaches and scouts. The Wizards will have plenty of options with the No. 9 overall pick, meaning the front office has a lot of homework to do before the June 20 draft.
Which players should the Wizards consider? Which players fit their system the best? Here's a quick look at five potential prospects the Wizards could use their No. 9 pick on.
Cam Reddish, Duke
- 6-8 SF/PF. Freshman.
Draft fans have soured on the enigmatic Reddish, and it's hard to blame them. Reddish trod water at various times during his lone season at Duke, and really struggled from beyond the arc. But even when he was banged up, Reddish was one of the best defenders in the country, being able to guard all five positions. He has more upside than teammate Barrett but is also a bigger risk to become a draft bust. Having said all that, he makes a lot of sense for the Wizards: He's a freak athlete with limitless upside and fills a need at the wing forward. Expect Reddish to be a major slider in the first round. You may not want to use a Top 5 pick on him, but No. 9 would be an exceptional value.
Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
- 6-6 SG, Sophomore.
Like Reddish, the only chance you get Culver is if he falls, and there's not a lot suggesting he will. I had concerns that he might be too similar to Bradley Beal, but might be the most skilled shooter in the draft and is a ferocious defender. If he's there at No. 9, don't even bother using the whole allotted time. Draft Culver and don't look back.
Coby White, North Carolina
- 6-5 SG, Freshman.
Bigger than John Wall, but not quite as quick, White brings a lot of similar characteristics to the table as John Wall in the open court. He's a better shooter than Wall was when he entered the league, and while he's not the defender Wall is, his instincts and game management are way ahead of the curve. He's one of the most realisitic options at No. 9 for the Wizards, although in an ideal world, the team focuses a bit more on their need for bigger bodies.
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
- 6-9 SF/PF, Junior.
The Wizards won't need to reach for Hachimura, and they won't have to worry about him being a bust. Hachimura might not be a multi-time All-Star, but he's trending toward a long career as a starter due to his excellent basketball I.Q., elite motor, and nose for the basketball. Don't discount his touch around the rim. Hachimura might be the best, and safest pick at No. 9. Virginia's De'Andre Hunter would be an excellent pick and is a better version of Hachimura, but it's likely that Hunter is off the board at No. 9.
Jaxson Hayes, Texas
- 6-11 C, Freshman.
The Wizards have an aging frontcourt and not much depth to speak of. Hayes is a physical freak with loads of upside but is still raw and unproven. Any spot above No. 9 might be too rich for Hayes, but the Wizards landed in a good spot to get good value.
Hayes probably has the biggest bust potential of any of these prospects, which might not be the safest bet for a team with its star player still a year away from a return.
Nassir Little, North Carolina
- 6-6 SG/SF. Freshman.
Little had arguably the most disappointing season of any freshman draft prospect. But the upside and athleticism is there in spade and it was clear toward the end of the season that Little had made some major strides. There's some concerns about him being to adjust to the learning curve.
The floor and the ceiling are both at the extremes for Little, which makes him a dangerous pick, but also is the reason he'll be there for the taking.
Other Potential Picks at No. 9
Bruno Fernando would be great for the D.M.V., but does he have more upside than Jaxson Hayes? The Wizards could trade back a handful of spots if they have their sights set on Fernando.
The same applies for Kentucky wings Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington. Both have the toughness, motor, and talent to be great contributors, but how different are they from Troy Brown?
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