The Washington Wizards have high goals for next season, and a high pick too. But which position do they need to fill the most in the 2020 NBA draft?
With the Washington Wizards‘ playoff push all but through, the front office is gearing up for their own kind of battle: the 2020 NBA Draft. Next season will be a pivotal one for this franchise, and they’ve got high expectations walking in.
To start? Firmly sitting in the playoff standings come next March. Franchise point guard John Wall might not be returning this season, but when he does return, the Wizards will be gearing up for another run at the Eastern Conference title, and then the league’s title.
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Behind him, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, and (hopefully) Davis Bertans, Washington’s prepping for a deep run. But while all the names listed previously are bound to play a large role, one name isn’t on that list: their 2020 draft selection.
The Wizards will no doubt be selecting their next youth within the lottery range of picks, one through fourteen. And their roster as it stands, has a few holes, some more prevalent than others. The 2020 class features a plethora of point guards and big men, all projected to go in round one.
As the front office gets ready for the biggest month for scouting behind the March Madness tournament, which position should they be vying to fill first?
We’ll take a look at the Washington Wizards roster’s biggest needs.
Make a play for Point Guard?
One interesting approach no one’s talking about for the Wizards is drafting the next point guard to inherit John Wall’s throne in Washington. He’s only 29, but will turn 30 before the start of next year, and he’s coming off of Achilles’ surgery, and the recovery is unpredictably long.
Wall looks fine in workouts and the small amount of warm-up we’ve seen before games.
But things change quickly in the NBA, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think the Wizards’ plan next year will come up short and Beal will ultimately request a trade.
That being said, there are numerous promising young point guards in the upcoming draft. From Cole Anthony to LaMelo Ball, to Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes, this may be the year to try to come out of the draft with your future point guard if you’re looking for one.
Even if Wall comes back the same as he left, it wouldn’t hurt to have him tutoring and mentoring one of these young guys, ultimately grooming them for the next phase in Washington. For now, the Wizards will roll into next season with Wall and Ish Smith manning the point guard rotation.
‘Big’ need at Center
There aren’t any larger arguments for the Wizards next draft selection than them taking a big man.
Washington committed to Thomas Bryant last summer, signing him to a three-year deal worth $24 million. He had flashed plenty of potential as a floor spacer and rim protector but hasn’t stayed healthy long enough this season to truly make an impact.
Bryant has played just 37 of 64 possible games this year, raising serious concerns about his long-term durability for the Wizards. And this year’s draft class has quite a few young big men, with nearly five projected to be going in the first round.
The most tied to name for Washington is Onyeka Okongwu of USC, a standout freshman averaging 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks for the Trojans. There’s also Obi Toppin of Dayton, a sophomore averaging 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.
Drafting a big man is a kind of dual-purpose selection for Washington, a move for now and the future. If they draft the right one, they may find a contributor for next season’s win-now team, as well as the right froncourt fit for Rui Hachimura and his future with the Wizards.
The Washington Wizards need to address the point guard and center positions in the upcoming draft. Anything else can be filled out in free agency, but they need future pillars at the one and five.
Until then, Washington will continue the back-end of their 2019-2020 campaign. The Wizards will travel to TD Garden for a matchup with the Boston Celtics on Friday. Tip-off is at 7:30 pm est.