Wizards

Top point guard prospects for the Wizards in March Madness

Wizards

From John Wall to Russell Westbrook to Spencer Dinwiddie, the point guard position has been a revolving door for the Washington Wizards the past handful of seasons. They've tried the trade route, the free agency route and neither path has come to fruition. 

Maybe this time the Wizards use the NBA Draft to find their next PG. Odds are that prospect is playing in March Madness.

As a team that is on track for a late-lottery selection, Washington should have the option to select one of the top point guard prospects of this class. SEC studs TyTy Washington and Kennedy Chandler are having phenomenal seasons that could be capped with a run in the men's NCAA Tournament. But there are other options, like Purdue's Jaden Ivey and J.D. Davison from Alabama up and down the first round.

The question might just be which type of point guard the Wizards are looking for to play alongside their stars Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. A good chance to consider a variety of options with those teams playing in March.

Here are the top point guard prospects playing in the tournament, that would be in a position for the Wizards.

Jaden Ivey (Purdue)

No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Yale (March 18, 2 p.m. - TBS)

Although Ivey is projected to be drafted as a shooting or combo guard in the draft, he currently runs the point with Purdue and is one of the most explosive players in college basketball. His first step is elite and has a bag of tricks to gain separation in other situations. 

 

While not a direct comparison, there are similarities to Ivey and Beal. One of several reasons people fashion him as a shooting guard in the NBA is his low assist numbers, averaging 3.2 apg. But, some of that assist rate is a product of Purdue's system playing inside-out with high-low action instead of pick-and-rolls. 

Right now, Ivey projects as a top-four pick - a range where the Wizards have no hope of drafting unless there's a trade. Don't expect a fall off from Ivey to hurt his stock. Ivey's playmaking would drastically bolster Washington's backcourt, doing more to draw attention away from Beal.

TyTy Washington (Kentucky)

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Saint Peter's (March 17, 7:10 p.m. - CBS)

TyTy Washington is expected to be the first collegiate, true point guard drafted this season. Only G League Ignite star Dyson Daniels is currently being mocked higher. Washington is a key cog to Kentucky's lineup and is actually one of two PGs on the court at a time with Sahvir Wheeler.

There are limitations on Washington's natural playmaking ability. Sometimes he forces the issue on passes in windows that are not open. An overreliance on screens to gain separation may also be an issue. But, he's confident with the ball in his hands and delivers in big moments. Hopefully, for the Wizards, those negatives might be enough to keep him in the late lottery. And hopefully, that doesn't mean he'll be stuck in a role where he's a No. 2 guard on the floor.

Kentucky's team is built like that of an NBA team in a pro-style system. What you see will be what you will likely get at the next level. The Wildcats have all the makings of a potential Final Four team so there should be an ample amount of opportunities to watch. 

Recently, Kentucky guards have been phenomenal at their transition to the NBA. Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make up the shortlist from just the past four draft classes.

Washington can be the next in that long line.

Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee)

No. 3 Tennessee vs. No. 14 Longwood (March 17, 2:45 p.m. - CBS)

Smaller in stature at 6-foot, Kennedy Chandler is an uber-athletic guard that shines on the defensive end of the court. He has an aggressive, attack-the-rim mentality and is not afraid of getting hit. 

This season, the point guard guided the Volunteers to an SEC Tournament championship and was the head of one of the best defensive units in the country, per KenPom. 

Offensively, Chandler is a great facilitator that excels with other elite scorers around him. By drawing attention in the lane with his drives, 3-point shooters are left wide-open as he initiates the offense. Chandler is accurate in his passes and has a high basketball IQ when it comes to making the right play. 

 

Tennessee may not be considered a darkhorse, but if they make the Final Four, much of their success would not be possible without Chandler. 

Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga)

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Georgia State (March 17, 4:15 p.m. - TNT)

For those in the late lottery, the point guard class is top heavy. Washington, Daniels and Chandler are the big three for the position, but all have enough talent and potential to climb further up big boards. Ideally, for Washington, there will be one of those three available if picking in the No. 9-12 range. That of course would be a different conversation if the Wizards were to make the play-in tournament and adjust their position.

If none of those three are available (or the Wizards would rather have one of the many athletic wings that are projected to be mid-to-late lottery picks), their next option in the draft, barring a trade, would be in the second round. Washington owns Dallas' pick if it falls between 46-60 in the order, which is looking to be set in stone.

Nembhard - a senior for the Bulldogs - would likely fall in that range. Positionally, he's exactly what the Wizards are looking for as a pass-first distributor to complement Beal and new addition Porzingis. Only Chandler's passing skills would rival that of Nembhard's of this class.

He also makes this list because of the Gonzaga connection. Two of the past three drafts have seen Washington take a Bulldog, Nembhard played with both of them - Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert - in Spokane.