Wizards

Kispert falling to 15 was ideal scenario for Wizards

Wizards

The Washington Wizards entered Thursday night's draft with three-point shooting as arguably their biggest need and they came away with the best shooter in the draft, Corey Kispert of Gonzaga. Not only that, there is reason to believe Kispert can help sooner than later as a four-year college player who produced a large and impressive sample size.

Based purely on the fit between team and player, this pick checks off a lot of boxes. For this to happen, though, the Wizards had to have some luck.

General manager Tommy Sheppard said the front office was considering trading up for Kispert once the draft got into the teens, fearing he would be gone. He was there only after a slew of surprise picks were made ahead of the Wizards.

Ziaire Williams of Stanford went 10th to the Pelicans when many mock drafts had him going later. Josh Primo of Alabama went 12th to the Spurs when most evaluators had him slotted to go late first round. And Chris Duarte of Oregon also completed a meteoric rise in the predraft process to go 13th to the Pacers.

That left the Wizards at 15 with several good options, including players they showed plenty of interest in like Trey Murphy III of Virginia and Jalen Johnson of Duke. But in Kispert, they didn't overthink anything.

He addresses a major weakness of theirs and in a big way. Kispert was a 40.8% three-point shooter in four years at Gonzaga and last year made 44% on 6.5 attempts per game.

 

Those numbers are hard to argue with and now the Wizards can build lineups with multiple three-point threats highlighted by Kispert and Davis Bertans. Thomas Bryant should also be back from his ACL injury and, with more space, perhaps Bradley Beal can improve his three-point shooting from a career-low percentage in 2020-21.

Going into this draft, Kispert seemed like the best fit for the Wizards, if only they had a chance to get him. Mock drafts suggested he wouldn't be there. The Ringer had him going 10th, Sports Illustrated had him at 11th, while NBC Sports Washington and Bleacher Report projected him to be taken 14th by the Warriors.

Kispert never seemed likely to move into the top-10, but appeared to be a safe bet for the lottery. Teams may have stacked him up with younger players and figured those guys would present more upside long-term.

The Wizards, though, bet on youth and upside with last year's first round pick when they took Deni Avdija. In Kispert, they get a guy who should be ready to step right into their rotation and complement the rest of their roster nicely by providing space on the floor.

The question for Kispert will be how good he can be long-term. If his three-point shooting translates to the NBA level, that may be enough for a long career. But the more he develop as a shot creator and defender, the more value he will provide.

Per Synergy Sports, more than half of Kispert's shot attempts last season were on catch-and-shoot plays. He rarely shot off the dribble, but showed potential in that regard. He was also one of the most efficient players in the country on transition plays.

Kispert has drawn comparisons to Joe Harris of the Nets, one of the game's best three-point shooters. Perhaps in an ideal scenario he can be even better, like Bogdan Bogdanovic or Buddy Hield.

Initially, Kispert should have a simple role in the Wizards' offense. Just get open and knock down shots when passed to. With Beal leading the charge, the Wizards likely won't need Kispert to do much creating on his own.

What Kispert ultimately becomes will be determined at a later date. For now, the Wizards appear to have found an ideal option for what they need and that's all you can really ask for when you are picking outside of the lottery.