The Washington Wizards are picking squarely in the middle of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Whether Washington trades up, down or stays firm at No. 15, here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who the Wizards could consider selecting.
2021 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Josh Christopher
School/team: Arizona State
2020/21 stats: 15 G, 14.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 43.2 FG% (5.1/11.7), 30.5 3PT% (1.2/3.9), 63.2 FT%
Player comparison: Immanuel Quickley, Lonnie Walker IV
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 27th, Sports Illustrated 39th, NBADraft.net 18th, Bleacher Report 27th
5 things to know:
-Christopher is an athletic shooting guard with a developed handle and good touch around the rim. At Arizona State, he showed an ability to change speeds and keep opponents off-balance. He's a physical player with a plus wingspan and a 37 1/2-inch vertical leap.
-He was a big-time recruit coming out of high school. ESPN had him ranked 10th in his class, making him the highest-rated recruit for ASU since rankings have been established -- even higher than James Harden who was ranked 21st when he committed to the school. Christopher was a McDonald's All-American.
-Christopher is also a good rebounder for his position. He pulled in 4.7 boards per game, which is solid for a shooting guard. He's got long arms and is a physical player. His willingness to play through contact is seen not only in his rebounding, but his ability to score through contact in the lane.
-While Christopher has upside as a scorer, teams will likely take a long look at his shooting mechanics given that his percentages were low in college. He did not shoot well from three or at the line. As a shooting guard, his potential will depend heavily on whether he can become more efficient.
-Christopher comes from a basketball family where all three of his siblings played in college. His sister played for St. Mary's, one of his brothers played at Cal and his other brother also plays for ASU.
Fit with Wizards:
The Wizards could use a player like Christopher because he would add depth at shooting guard behind Bradley Beal and also at the wing where they could use help the most. He would bring a scorer's mindset to the bench with the potential to add shot-making and athleticism to their second unit.
Christopher can also force turnovers on the wing and given his physical traits, has upside as a defender. If developed correctly, he could be a valuable two-way guard.
The question for the Wizards would be whether they can justify taking him 15th. At this point, it would represent a reach based on mock drafts. He might make more sense in a trade back scenario, or if he falls into the second round and the Wizards acquire a second round pick.
If somehow Christopher falls in the Wizards' range, he would give them another backup shooting guard behind Beal as they continue to search for a consistent option. Christopher would ideally become the type of bench scorer who could take pressure off of Beal and the other starters.