Wizards

Wizards

As the college basketball came to an abrupt end with the cancelation of the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus, the profiles of many NBA Draft prospects are set until the Combine. 

NBA big boards are solidified and until basketball picks up again, there is not going to be much movement in first-round mocks, especially from the top picks.

With the NBA's suspension of play, the Wizards currently sit with the ninth-best odds in the NBA Lottery. In NBC Sports Washington's latest mock draft, the Wizards select USC's forward/center Onyeka Okongwu.

If ninth is where Washington will be drafting this year, they will be out on the big prizes of this year's class. The James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and Cole Anthonys of this year's draft will be long gone. 

When the ninth team is on the board, that team will have a couple of options. Go with the raw, lengthy shot-blocker in Okongwu or go with one of the many the relatively young, unknown point guards. 

Both could be a viable option for the Wizards. For the past two seasons, Washington has lacked a true shot-blocker that resides in the low post. Bigs have feasted on the Wizards interior defense and it is a noted weak spot. 

The Wizards have the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season. Specifically, near the basket they allow opponents to shoot 64.4%, the third-highest mark in the league. 

 

But the point guard position is also a question mark until the team knows for certain how John Wall will come back. Even if Wall comes back as strong as he was pre-injury, the team still needs a serviceable backup in their system as a long-term answer. 

Nabbing a point guard near the top-end of this draft will be the priority for several teams. While the class is relatively weak, there is no lack of primary ball-handlers at the top of the prospect list. Before the Wizards pick at No. 9, there are four other PG-like prospects that get taken off the board. What's left at the position are players that aren't ready to be starters right away, but could contribute in the near future. 

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Drafting Okongwu out of USC, however, would just be another piece to add to the core of Wall, Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura. At 6'9" he is small for the center position but has proven he can defensively matchup against larger traditional post players. 

With the Trojans, he showed an array of post moves on offense and has a natural ability to find the ball, whether it is for shot-blocking or rebounding. He lived around the rim and was a huge reason why USC had one of the best defensive units in the country. 

Like many of the prospects around this area of the draft, he likely wouldn't be inserted into the lineup right away either. Okongwu is still finding his game and will need some development, but that will allow the Wizards to shape him into what they need him to be.

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