Wizards

Wizards interview Howard and Woodard in pre-draft process

Wizards
© Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The pre-draft process for the Wizards has been ongoing since April, when the NBA began allowing teams to interview players over video conference calls. In the months since, they have cast a wide net by talking to dozens of players.

Two they have interviewed recently in this process are Markus Howard of Marquette and Robert Woodard of Mississippi State, NBC Sports Washington was told. We also know they talked to Jalen Smith of Maryland, Immanuel Quickley of Kentucky and Zeke Nnaji of Arizona, as previously reported.

Howard and Woodard are possibilities in the second round where the Wizards pick 37th overall. Howard, the 2018-19 Big East player of the year, averaged 27.8 points per game as a senior. He could be an option to replace Shabazz Napier as a scoring guard off the bench.

Woodard is a 6-foot-7 wing projected by some evaluators to be a late first round pick. He would give the Wizards perimeter defense and three-point shooting.

So far, the interview process has mostly been questions and answers. But agents are getting creative in what they plan to show and provide to teams scouting their players.

Without the ability to hold traditional pro days, agents are having to find and vet trainers in the hometowns of some of their players. In some cases, they are also verifying video capabilities to set up live streamed workouts for teams to potentially watch.

One agent told NBC Sports Washington the advantages of a live stream are twofold. The team will know they didn't carefully edit the video together and also they know the team can't just promise they will watch it later and then not.

 

The Wizards expect to watch some workout videos and they may find value in certain aspects of them. They may be able to get a sense of the player's size and speed. They can also gauge their shot mechanics.

But it won't be a traditional setup where the team can run the player through their own hands-on workout. The Wizards happen to be known for their difficult pre-draft workouts, as they like to see how prospects perform while their physical conditioning is also being tested. The same element will not apply this year.

Now that the WIzards know they are picking ninth, they can hone in on some of the higher-ranked prospects. Agents for the top players had been waiting to see the lottery results before scheduling interviews, as general manager Tommy Sheppard has noted.

At least teams now know where they will pick. As for the actual date of the draft, it still remains up in the air. The draft is scheduled for Oct. 16, but that reportedly could be pushed back.

In the meantime, the Wizards can just keep evaluating.