Jan Vesely Introduced As Newest Washington Wizards Player In Press Conference

Top pick Jan Vesely was introduced as a member of the Washington Wizards. Owner Ted Leonsis said Vesely was a player the entire organization wanted.

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Ernie Grunfeld, Washington Wizards Put Faith In Jan Vesely After Lots Of Research, But Were They Right?

The Washington Wizards have been scouting Jan Vesely for years, so it's no surprise that they ended up with him in the 2011 NBA Draft. Will all that work pay off for Ernie Grunfeld and company? His role in the rebuilding effort depends on it.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Introduce Jan Vesely In Press Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Washington Wizards introduced Jan Vesely in a press conference on Monday, and it was clear that everyone involved in the organization was thrilled that he was a member of the team. Vesely was someone the Wizards had scouted for the last few years, according to coach Flip Saunders, and they were very enamored with his game.

"This is a pick that both Flip and the front office and Ernie were unanimous on," owner Ted Leonsis said.

Vesely has played for Partizan Belgrade, one of the top teams in Serbia and in all of Europe, for the past few years, growing into one of their featured players this season. He nearly entered the NBA Draft in 2010, but elected to stay another year, much to the Wizards' delight. General manager Ernie Grunfeld admitted later that had Vesely stayed in the 2010 draft and had the Wizards not moved up to the No. 1 pick, they would have considered taking him.

"The most important thing was to stay to play one more year, to get more minutes and to grow up, on the basketball side and with my personal life," Vesely said.

The Wizards' brass described Vesely's play as "relentless" several times. Saunders said he envisions him fitting right into the Wizards' rotation, saying it's very hard to keep players who play as hard as Vesely off the court. Vesely has to work on his shooting and his ball-handling, which he acknowledged, but the Wizards felt his energy is something that will rub off on the rest of the team.

"He's probably built more for our game than Europe. There are much more open-floor opportunities, not as much zone defense, more opportunities for him to do the things he needs to do," Saunders said.

Leonsis added that he in particular believes Vesely and the other recent draft picks the team has made will make the team tougher.

"You look at the teams that flourished in the playoffs: they were big, they were tough and they played defense. We're trying to remake the team, and you can't teach some of those things. A player like [Chris] Singleton - I saw him in the workouts, he just looked tough, he just looked mean. Adding that kind of bulk and strength, along with great talent, is what we promised John Wall."

Vesely, meanwhile, was asked about a number of different topics, including which player he emulates ("Growing up, I was watching Dirk [Nowitzki]. Now, I'm still watching Dirk,") his adjustment to Washington D.C. ("it's a beautiful city") and whether he is indeed the European Blake Griffin ("I don't know. I think so."). And, oh yeah, he was asked about The Kiss."

"I think nobody knows about the picks," he said. "On that night, everybody talking about the kiss. I think we went to history"


2011 NBA Draft Grades: Chad Ford Gives Washington Wizards An 'A'

Most pundits seem to like what the Washington Wizards did on Thursday night, and are therefore giving them high 2011 NBA Draft grades for their haul of Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack. The highest grade of the bunch comes from ESPN's Chad Ford, who gives the Wizards an "A" and has them as one of the real winners of the draft.

This was a critical summer for the Wizards. Drafting John Wall was easy last year. This year the challenge was to surround him with players who complement his talents. Mission accomplished.

Vesely is one of the most athletic forwards in the draft and should be great flying up and down the floor with Wall. Singleton is also a terrific athlete and the best defender in the draft. Factor in Shelvin Mack as a solid backup guard at No. 34, and the Wizards came away more athletic and tougher. That's a great draft.


The guys at Bullets Forever were a little less optimistic, giving the Wizards a B or B+. Still, most agree that the team had a very good draft.


NBA Draft 2011: Washington Wizards Asked To Surrender A Lot In Possible Trade Up

The Washington Wizards selected Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack in the 2011 NBA Draft on Thursday night, but they also entertained the thought of trading a couple of those picks and moving up in the draft to take either Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter. In the end, though, they decided to stand pat, and a large part of that might have been because the price tag was too high.

In an interview on "Overtime" with Bill Rohland and Danny Rouhier on on 106.7 The Fan, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said the asking price to move up was higher than initially reported.

"We tried to trade up, but the price was really high," he said. "Some people wanted No. 6, No. 18 and our No. 1 pick next year. So we thought: let's use all three of those picks."

If that was indeed the price teams like Minnesota, Utah and Cleveland may have been demanding for moving up, it was probably best the Wizards stayed put.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Select Shelvin Mack With 34th Pick Of Draft

The Washington Wizards select Shelvin Mack out of Btler with the 34th pick in the draft.

Mack was perhaps Butler's best player during their NCAA tournament runs in 2010 and 2011. He was among the best guards in both tournaments. Mack will join John Wall Jordan Crawford in the backcourt and gives the Wizards a potential backup point guard at the No. 34 spot.

Mack certainly has the necessary experience to succeed in this kind of setting, and the Wizards are probably hoping he can bring a winning attitude to the team. He was one of the best performers in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, hitting big shots and emerging as Butler's top offensive option. Like everyone else, he was stymied in the national title game, but in leading Butler on yet another Final Four run, Mack cemented his status as an NBA draft pick.

More on this pick as soon as we can.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Select Chris Singleton At No. 18

The Washington Wizards have selected Chris Singleton with the 18th pick in the NBA Draft.

Singleton was far and away the best player on his team when he was at Florida State, and was named the Defensive Player Of The Year in the ACC. The Wizards hoping his defensive prowess can translate at the highest level, which would certainly be a boon for Flip Saunder's club, one that lacked defensive intensity.

The 21 year old Singleton checks in at 6 foot 9, 230 pounds.

Much more on this pick as well as the Wizards second round pick soon.


2011 NBA Draft: Jan Vesely Strengths and Weakness

The Wizards selected Jan Vesely with its first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Washington had targeted the 6-foot-11 forward from the Czech Republic, and snatched him up with the No. 6 pick overall. Let's grade out his strengths and weakness to see how he fits with the Wizards.

*Size: At 6-foot-11,Jan Vesely has terrific size at the small forward position. As the old adage goes, if you're going to miss, miss big.
*Motor: Vesely runs the floor and can finish around the rim in transition. Sir, meet John Wall. He will be running off everything, we suggest you try and keep up if you like easy points.

*Shooting: Jans Vesely is not a great shooter. This is not great, since the Wizards could really use a shooter.
*Defense: Has trouble staying in front of small forwards off the dribble, but needs to add weight to guard the post

Wild Card
Already becoming an Internet sensation after kissing his girlfriend on TV following his selection.

Here's a photo via Michael Lee:

Jans Vesely


2011 NBA Draft: The Washington Wizards Select Jan Vesely With Sixth Pick Of NBA Draft

The Washington Wizards have selected Czech Jan Vesely with the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Wizards fans had wondered from the moment that the NBA Draft Lottery concluded who the team would select to hopefully add to Washington's rebuilding effort that has centered around point guard John Wall.

Now they know, as Vesely is brought into the fold to add  the team's front court which certainly needs plenty of help.

Vesely, who is 6 foot 11 and 240 pounds, has a reputation of having a high motor and bringing a high energy to the court, as he is viewed as a European Blake Griffin of sorts.

Much more to come on this selection, and the Wizards two other selections in tonight's draft.


2011 NBA Draft Live, TV Information, Schedule And More

The 2011 NBA Draft will finally actually happen on Thursday night. After months of speculation, the draft will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. TV coverage begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3.com, with the actual draft set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Teams will have five minutes to make their selections from then on, meaning the first pick will likely take place at 7:35 p.m. There will be 30 picks in the first round, followed by 30 picks in the second round, with two minutes in between. The second round will likely begin at 10 p.m. or so.

The Washington Wizards currently possess the No. 6, 18 and 34 picks in the draft. SB Nation D.C. will be live in Newark for the coverage.

Follow this StoryStream for draft results, and visit SB Nation's 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverages of the rumors, trades and storylines from this year's event.


NBA Draft 2011 News: Jan Vesely Likely Wizards Pick As Team Invites Czech Delegation To Draft Party

It looks like the Washington Wizards will indeed take Czech forward Jan Vesely with the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Nothing is official, but according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, a delegation from the Czech Republic embassy has been invited to the Wizards' draft party in Washington D.C.

For what it's worth, the Wizards have invited staff members from the Czech Republic Embassy to attend the team's draft party at Verizon Center on Thursday.

That could mean anything, of course, but it's hard to see why the Wizards would do that unless Vesely was the man they were picking. The team would  have abandoned all hopes of moving up and is sure that Vesely would fall to No. 6 if this is to be taken literally.

If Vesely is the guy, the Wizards will have likely chosen him over prospects like Enes Kanter, Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson and Jonas Valanciunas.

For more on the draft, visit Bullets Forever.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Wizards Take Kawhi Leonard In Last SB Nation Mock

The 2011 NBA Draft is just a few hours away, and at this point, we still have no idea what the Wizards are going to do with the sixth overall pick. SB Nation just came out with the latest and probably final 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and they have the Wizards taking Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately, the information it is based on may already be obsolete. Let's check out their reasoning (sort of), and I'll explain.

How many players with broken jump shots can the Wizards collect? Related: how many roster spots do NBA teams get?

They have the Celveland Cavaliers taking Jan Vesely with the fourth overall pick in this mock draft because Enes Kanter is off the baord and Jonas Valanciunas is stuck in Europe. But based on the very latest rumors, the Cavs are still prepared to take Jonas; even if he isn't going to play in the NBA this season. So unless the Raptors take Vesely fifth, that would leave him to be taken by the Wizards, who probably prefer him to Leonard. But then again. everything I just typed will probably be obsolete by the time you read it. That's just the way these things work.


NBA Draft 2011 Rumors: Jonas Valanciunas Favored By Cavaliers Over Enes Kanter, According To Report

The chances of Enes Kanter slipping all the way down to the Washington Wizards' pick at No. 6 are slim, but the odds may have improved slightly with the latest report from ESPN's Ric Bucher. According to Bucher, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own the No. 4 pick, would take Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas at No. 4 over Kanter, even though Valanciunas would likely stay in Europe next season.

This may help the Wizards land Kanter, but only if the Utah Jazz pass on him at No. 3. It appears they are leaning towards selecting Kanter over Kentucky's Brandon Knight, but if that changes, the Wizards would only need Toronto to pass on Kanter to take him at No. 6. All three dominos occurring is unlikely, but there is a chance they happen.

If Kanter doesn't slip, it looks more and more like Jan Vesely will be the Wizards' pick at No. 6.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Chad Ford Has The Wizards Getting Help On The Perimeter

The 2011 NBA Draft is today, and all the rumors and speculation that has been swirling around for the past month or so is about to come to a head. ESPN's Chad Ford just came out with his (presumably) last 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and he has the Wizards adding some help on the perimeter with their two first round picks. The first, at No. 6 overall, has the Wiz taking Jan Vesely.

The Wizards need rebounding and would love it if Kanter was still on the board. They've also been huge fans of Vesely and would jump at the chance to take him here. His ability to run the floor would be a welcome fit alongside John Wall and JaVale McGee.

Based on the rumors we've heard this morning, Vesely certainly sounds like the pick. With the 18th overall pick, Ford has the Wizards taking a guy who has slid down the board from where he was originally projected in Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks.

Why is Burks, a player being considered as high as No. 7, sliding? It's a good question. He's one of the most promising players in the draft. His game is smooth, he gets to the basket and he has major upside. If the Wizards can steal him here, they'd walk away with a really great draft.

I don't really think that BUrks would last this long, but he would definitely be the best value if he did. But if you put him on the court between John Wall and Jan Vesely, I'm not sure there is an even average shooter in the bunch. Just something to think about.

In the second round Ford has the Wizards taking local product Jordan Williams from Maryland.


Washington Wizards NBA Draft Rumors: Jonas Valanciunas Higher On Board Than Jan Vesely, According To Report

It may seem like a foregone conclusion that Jan Vesely will be the Washington Wizards' pick at No. 6 in the 2011 NBA Draft, but hold the phone. One of the most recent NBA Draft rumors suggests the Wizards covet a different international player with those initials: Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports that Valanciunas is higher on the Wizards' draft board than Vesely, even though Valanciunas is likely to stay in Europe next season.

I've heard that the Wizards have Valanciunas rated slightly ahead of Vesely, since the Lithuanian big man is two years younger and has a little more upside and room for improvement. In my story for the paper, a person with knowlege of the Wizards' thinking told me that Valanciunas "might be worth the wait" if his buyout agreement forces him to stay in Lithuania for another year.

On Wednesday, Valanciunas said he expects to be drafted by either Cleveland, who holds the No. 4 pick, or Washington. Valanciunas flew in for a secret meeting with Cleveland Tuesday, according to Draft Express' Jonathan Givony. If Valanciunas is off the board, Vesely would probably be the pick.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Jan Vesely Told He'll Be Washington Wizards' Pick, According To Report

The Washington Wizards hold the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and it increasingly appears like they will use that pick on Czech forward Jan Vesely. Draft Express' latest NBA Mock Draft has Vesely heading to the Wizards at No. 6, and it reports that Vesely himself has been told he will be the guy.

Vesely appears to have received assurances from the Wizards that he's indeed the pick, according to reports from NBA teams who have spoken with his camp.

The Wizards still like Kentucky big man prospect Enes Kanter, but he is expected to go no later than No. 3 to the Utah Jazz, and the Wizards don't seem inclined to move up and take him at this moment. The team also likes Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, but he is likely to wait another year before coming to the U.S., and the Wizards may not have that amount of time. San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard is also in the mix, but it seems like the Wizards prefer Vesely instead.

For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Draft 2011: Will Washington Wizards Take Leap Of Faith And Trade For Enes Kanter?

Enes Kanter and the Washington Wizards seem like a perfect marriage, but the Wizards would have to make a trade to get him. With so little evidence of Kanter in a game, is that a leap of faith the team is willing to take?


NBA Draft 2011 News: Enes Kanter Says He's Best Player In Draft, Wants To Play In D.C.

NEW YORK - Enes Kanter wasted no time showing his immense confidence at media day at the 2011 NBA Draft. Kanter, who sat out a year for Kentucky after being ruled ineligible for accepting money to play professionally in Turkey, needed to show people that he is still an outstanding player. He did so by making a bold declaration.

"If I could have played [at Kentucky], I would go with the No. 1 pick," he said. "I believe I am the best player in this draft."

Kanter's confidence didn't stop there, as he also said Kentucky would have won the 2011 NCAA title easily had he been in the lineup. He admitted the year off was very difficult.

"When the NCAA told me, 'No, you cannot play,' it just makes me sad because I couldn't help my teammates, I couldn't help my coaches and I couldn't help Kentucky," he said. "I came here for an education too, because you cannot do that in Turkey. You have to pick basketball, or you have to pick education. I wanted to do both, so that's why I came here. For them to tell me, 'No, you cannot play' just makes me really sad."

He also declared his interest in playing for the Washington Wizards, who own the No. 6 pick and have been rumored to be discussing trade proposals to move up and draft him.

"I would love to go to D.C. It's international city, and Obama loves basketball. I would love to play with John Wall. I think it's a great team."

For more on Kanter, visit SBNation.com.


NBA Draft 2011: Wizards Take Jans Vesely In Latest Mock Draft

The 2011 NBA Draft is Thursday, which means Mock Draft season is reaching a fever pitch. But there's still plenty of uncertainty about who will be available for the Wizards to select with the sixth pick, and which player they're leaning toward taking (or if they'll even stay at that spot).

In his penultimate mock draft, SB Nation's Tom Ziller has Washington selecting Jan Vesely, a forward from Czech Republic.

It seems as if the Wizards have Kanter on top of their realistic wish list, with Vesely and Kawhi Leonard below him. If so, I think the longer Vesely is the choice. Leonard is more polished (especially on defense), but it's hard to pick a 6'7 small forward when you can take one who is 6'11.

This isn't too surprising. Vesley has been linked to the Wizards for a while, even as rumors persist about Washington moving up to try and nab Turkish center Enes Kanter.

Ziller isn't alone either. Nick Young said he'd love Vesely in Washington. One more day and we'll find out if he gets his wish.


2011 NBA Draft News: Washington Wizards Likely Picking 'Bigger Player,' According To Ernie Grunfeld

With less than 48 hours to go until the 2011 NBA Draft, Washington Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld provided a little hint as to what kind of player his team is targeting with their first pick at No. 6 overall. Grunfeld told reporters that the Wizards will be looking for a "bigger player" with that selection.

We're probably looking for a bigger player if possible, but you never know, if someone slips to us who could be a guard and could be ranked a lot higher then that's someone you take a look at. In all likelihood we will be looking for a front court player if possible.

That may lend credence to the rumors that the Wizards are considering moving up to select Enes Kanter, but according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, those dicussions have not happened.

I spoke with sources within the Wizards and Cavaliers organization and both denied that the teams have held any discussions about a possible swap of picks. Of course, that doesn't mean that nothing will happen by then.

Keep in mind that even small forwards like Jan Vesely and Kawhi Leonard probably qualify as "bigger players," given their length and athleticism.

For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Draft 2011 Rumors: Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers Discussing Trade Involving Enes Kanter

There appears to be a lot of smoke behind the idea that the Washington Wizards want Enes Kanter. The latest NBA Draft 2011 rumor comes from ESPN's Chad Ford, and it involves the Wizards moving up in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 4 pick and the right to select Kanter. Ford reports the Cavaliers prefer Jonas Valanciunas to Kanter, and want an extra first-round pick to move down.

The goal is to secure another first-round pick to compensate them for not getting Valanciunas to play this season. One potential scenario has the Wizards giving up Nos. 6 and 18 for the No. 4 pick. The caveat? Enes Kanter has to be there at No. 4 for the Wizards. If he's not, there's no deal. 

Draft Express reported earlier that the Wizards offered the same package to Utah for the No. 3 pick, so it's clear they covet Kanter.

For more on the draft, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Draft 2011 Trade Rumors: Washington Wizards Looking To Move Up For Enes Kanter, According To Reports

The Washington Wizards currently hold the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but many NBA trade rumors have them exploring the possibility of moving up to select big man Enes Kanter, who most believe will be off the board at No. 6. The latest comes from Draft Express' Jonathan Givony, who suggests the Wizards are talking to the Utah Jazz, who currently own the No. 3 pick.

Being discussed for Utah: Trading #3 to Washington for #6+18. Then take whoever's left between Walker or Knight at 6. Kanter would go 3

Earlier in the day, there was a rumor, albeit not as credible, that the Wizards were discussing using the exact same package to trade up to the Cleveland Cavaliers' No. 4 pick. Clearly, there is a lot out there that indicates the Wizards are enamored with Kanter, the Kentucky basketball big man recruit who was deemed ineligible this season.

For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, visit Bullets Forever.


2011 NBA Draft Prospects: Enes Kanter A Fit With Wizards

Enes Kanter seems keen on playing in Washington. Wizards fans would love select the Turkish big man with the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. And several recent mock drafts (here and here) seem to think Kanter will land in D.C.

Of course, none of this will matter if the Cavs, Timberwolves, Jazz or Raptors select him with one of the first five picks, which remains a likely scenario. But let's pretend Kanter *does* fall into the Wizards lap. Then the question is how Kanter fits with the Wizards, and more specifically, the frontcourt with JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin.

Well, I watched a lot of Wizards games last season, but I've only seen Kanter play on YouTube. So let's get a scout's take on his game (via SI.com's Sam Amick), then see how that translates onto the Wizards roster.

"He's a big, strong center, a legitimate NBA center. He plays hard -- extremely hard -- uses his body well, finishes around the basket. I think he's one of those guys who will have a long career. He knows who he is, and that's what I like about him. He's going to rebound, has good hands, scores around the basket -- you can throw it to him in the post. I don't see him being an All-Star, but I see a solid 10- or 12-year pro."

Yup, that'll do.

Sure, JaVale McGee improved his post game and Blatche can fill it up when the mood is right, but the Wizards lack a consistent threat in the post. If Kanter could get Washington easy buckets inside that would put less pressure on John Wall to create in the halfcourt on possession after possession in late-game situations.

Kanter's rebounding might be even more welcome. The Wizards ranked second worst in the NBA in defensive rebounding rate, which measures the percentage of available defensive rebounds a team secures. That needs to improve.

So it seems like, on the surface at least, Kanter shores up two big Washington weaknesses with two of his big strengths. The only question remaining then is what, if anything, happens to McGee and Blatche. After being featured more prominently last season, it's hard to believe either would appreciate the role of apprenticing a replacement only several years their junior.

Would the Wizards consider moving McGee? The Washington Post's Michael Lee was recently told the Wizards have no interest in moving their current starting center. Would they be able to find a suitor to Andray Blatche or would they just test out a rotation that involves all three?

Anyway, enough of my yapping. Take a look at Kanter's game (below) and decide for yourself if he fits in the comments.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Chad Ford Has Wizards Taking Kawhi Leonard In Latest Mock

According to Chad Ford's latest NBA mock draft, the Washington Wizards' poor luck in the draft lottery will haunt them on Thursday.

With the sixth pick overall, Ford has the Wiz taking Kawhi Leonard, the forward out of San Diego State. This is no knock on Leonard as a player, but all reports indicate that the Wizards would much rather use their pick on Turkish big man Enes Kanter, or Czech small forward Jan Vesely (or Derrick Williams or Kyrie Irving, for that matter). Ford says they'll be off the board by the time the Wizards make their pick. 

Here's what big, rad Chad had to say about the selection:

The Wizards need rebounding and would love it if Enes Kanter was still on the board. They also have been huge fans of Vesely and would jump at the chance to take him here. But if they're both off the board, this pick comes down to Leonard, Tristan Thompson and Klay Thompson.

It might be a tough call for the Wizards, but the smart money is on Leonard. The Wizards have been all over him all year. He's tough, he's versatile and if he ever learns to really shoot the basketball ... watch out.

Ford also has the Wiz taking former Kansas big man Markieff Morris with the 18th overall pick, which would add another body to the frontcourt, giving JaVale McGee and company some help on the glass.With the 34th overall pick, Ford says the Wizards will take Travis Leslie, who he calls "perhaps the most athletic two-guard in the draft." With Jordan Crawford coming back and Nick Young likely doing the same, this seems more like a "best player available" pick than one that addresses a need.

For more on the Wizards' draft, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Jan Vesely To Washington Wizards In Latest Draft Express Mock

The momentum for the Washington Wizards to draft Czech forward Jan Vesely with the No. 6 pick is gaining steam in 2011 NBA Mock Drafts. Vesely is the man projected to go at that spot in the latest mock draft by Draft Express' Jonathan Givony.

Vesely had an average workout in New Jersey on Sunday in front of Wizards brass. He was coming right off the plane after having his flight delayed from Europe. This was a tough situation from his perspective, as he's not considered an overly skilled prospect. Nevertheless, he measured out well (6-11 barefoot) and was able to show the athleticism that makes him such a coveted prospect. The Wizards are reportedly still high on his talents, especially if Enes Kanter is off the board. He would make an excellent running partner for John Wall.

Vesely is not a great shooter or ball-handler, but he is really athletic and has great court sense, two traits that the Wizards like to see. He has also done it at the highest level.

With the No. 18 pick, Givony has the Wizards selecting another European in center Donatas Motiejunas. However, Givony reports the Wizards may trade the pick.

Washington is not married to this pick, according to reports, and could elect to trade it for a future first, a young prospect and/or cash if the right offer comes along.


NBA Draft 2011 Rumors: Jonas Valanciunas Buyout Reportedly Prevents Him From Playing In NBA Next Season

It may be time to scratch off one name off of the list of potential Wizards draft picks. 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN, Jonas Valanciunas is close to a buyout that would make him ineligible to play in the NBA next year.

Valanciunas update: Sources say buyout agreement close, however, buyout won't allow Valanciunas to play in NBA next season.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply


Ford also reports that if Valanciunas is unable to play next year, he would likely fall in the draft. 

Valanciunas was projected to go anywhere from the 5th to the 14th pick in Wednesday's draft. 

One thing's for sure, and that is the Wizards need help immediately. They cannot afford to draft a player who cannot help them in the 2011-2012 season.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Wizards Take Jan Vesely In Latest SB Nation Mock Draft

The 2011 NBA Draft is just a few days away, and nwe still really have no idea who the Wizards, or any other team after the first overall pick, is going to take. But people still have their opinions, and the latest one is from Tom Ziller at SB Nation, ho just released their latest 2011 NBA Mock Draft. He has the Wizards taking Jan Vesely with the sixth overall pick.

Vesely worked out for teams on Sunday; let's hope he didn't Biyombo himself, because that will really mess up this draft board. (Like it's not already messed up.)

We've talked about Vesely enough here to know how he would fit with the Wizards. He is the kind of open court, run and finish player that the Wizards would like ot put next to the one man fast break, John Wall. Vesely has the tools to be a great defensive player as well, but his offensive game is reportedly lacking. If he develops, he could be similar to AK-47 in his prime in Utah. If not, he becomes Jonathan Bender. Hit or miss, but that's what we have in this draft.


NBA Draft 2011: Enes Kanter Has A Very Good Workout With Wizards

Enes Kanter probably won't be on the board when the Wizards make the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he is something of the dream prospect for the organization. He was in Washington last week for a workout with the organization, just in case an unlikely situation plays out and the Wizards have the chance to draft him. According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, that workout went "very, very well."

Enes Kanter ran through a series of drills on Friday with Wizards Coach Flip Saunders for more than an hour at Tim Grover’s Attack Athletics gym in Chicago. Afterward, Kanter met with Saunders, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and other members of the basketball operations staff. Kanter’s agent, Max Ergul, said that the Wizards spent a lot of time getting to know his client and asked questions about his family and personal interests.

Kanter has expressed his intertest in playing for the Wizards because of a friendship he has developed with point guard John Wall because of their relationship to the University of Kentucky. Kanter would give the Wizards a rebounding presence, and an inside offensive force (no, Andray Blatche isn't one) that they are lacking. But again, the chances of him lasting all the way to their pick is unlikely.


2011 NBA Draft: Wizards Will Not Deal JaVale McGee, According To Report

The number two pick in the 2001 NBA Draft is still being shopped by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it appears the Wizards are not willing to deal 23-year-old pogostick center JaVale McGee to obtain that pick (most likely used to select Derrick Williams). Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:

The Minnesota Timberwolves may want JaVale McGee in any swap for the No. 2 overall pick, but the Wizards have no interest in moving the incredibly athletic, 7-foot-1 center, according to two sources with knowledge of the team's thinking.

Lee has been doing yeoman's work for weeks, reporting on several rumors and trade scenarios that did have the Wizards trading McGee to the Timberwolves for that number two pick. However, as Lee reports, the Wizards consider JaVale a key building block for the future in Washington.

Trading McGee hasn't even been discussed internally, according to the sources -- especially since many within the organization believe that the 23-year-old McGee would be deemed a top three-to-five pick if he were in the draft this year.

As many NBA scribes have noted, the 2011 NBA Draft could be bereft of superstar players, so it's nice to see Ernie Grunfeld and Wizards management appearing to be patient, holding assets close and not willing to lose them on a complete crapshoot of a draft. However, if Ernie wants to trade Blatche, I'm willing to go pick Andray up at his condo and drive him to the airport, no matter the time of day. I'm just that kind of guy.


2011 NBA Draft: Wizards May Decide Future Of JaVale McGee On Draft Night

There are a lot of questions that will be answered at the 2011 NBA Draft. The most obvious ones are about what the team will do with their first round pick, or if they will choose to make a big trade. But one of the other questions that might be answered is the future of Wizards center JaVale McGee. According to Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner, the Wizards might need to figure out what they want to do with McGee before they can decide what to do in the Draft.

There are two related thoughts that are worth considering. First, notice the importance of role players who gave vital contributions during the recently concluded NBA playoffs. Teams that succeeded were full of players who knew what their jobs were, not freakish, one-dimensional talents. Second, with that in mind, when you envision a Wizards team that gets to and competes in the playoffs, do you see McGee as the starting center? As a backup?

There will be some players on the Draft board who could replace McGee, and the team's feelings about him will likely determine if they decide to go in that direction.


NBA Draft Trade Rumors: Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves Still Discussing Possible Derrick Williams Trade

The Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be involved in a number of trade rumors that would potentially net the Wizards the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, which they would use to select Arizona's Derrick Williams. The package centers around Washington center JaVale McGee and the Wizards' No. 6 pick, though it remains unclear how much the Wizards would want to part with to get Williams.

Via Jonathan Givony's latest NBA Mock Draft:

We continue to hear rumbling of trade opportunities at this spot, although there is skepticism on the No. 2 pick's value this year. There is talk that Minnesota has offered Washington a swap of the Nos. 2 and 6 picks in a package that includes JaVale McGee, but that appears unlikely unless the Timberwolves part with more assets.    

ESPN's Chad Ford reports that the Wizards like Williams, but would have to part with McGee to acquire him.

I think Derrick Williams is the target. Though I've heard they also are big Kanter fans. Is JaVale McGee worth that to them? He's a knucklehead, but he'd probably be ranked very, very high in this draft too.    

If the Wizards remain at 6 and cannot get Kanter or Williams, Ford suggests they would choose from Kawhi Leonard, Jan Vesely, Tristan Thompson and even Klay Thompson.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Enes Kanter To Washington Wizards In Draft Express' Latest

Another updated 2011 NBA Mock Draft that will sing for Wizards fans dreaming of Enes Kanter. First, Chad Ford predicted the Turkish big man would be in Washington and now Draft Express' Jonathan Givony is saying the same.

Here's the blurb from Givony's most recent mock draft:

The Wizards would be ecstatic if Kanter fell to them here. He would solve what they perceive to be their biggest need – rebounding and interior toughness. They don’t believe that will happen at the moment, though, which has led the Wizards to spend significant time evaluating two other favored candidates: Jan Vesely and Kawhi Leonard. If the Jazz draft a guard at No. 3 instead of trading for one, the Wizards could have all three players available here to choose from.

Kanter was once considered to be the best prospect outside Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, so it was somewhat surprising to see him drop to six in the first place. But now that it's on a couple credible sites, it seems like there could be something to this. Of course, all this with the disclaimer that it's wise to be skeptical of all news in the lead-up to the NBA Draft.

At pick No. 18, the Wizards luck into another Euro big with a falling stock, Donatas Motiejunas. The 7-footer was thought of as a top-10 pick not too long ago. Givony:

This would probably be the lowest Motiejunas drops, and while not really filling much of a need, this could end up being a significant coup for the Wizards. The Lithuanian is a highly skilled and agile 7-footer with great potential as a mismatch scorer in the NBA. He is coming off a solid season playing at a high level in Europe.

Like these picks? Want someone else? Tell us in the comments.


Chad Ford's Latest Mock Draft Has The Wizards Taking Enes Kanter

ESPN’s NBA draft guru has the Wizards taking Turkish big man Enes Kanter with the sixth overall pick in next week’s draft.

Here’s what Ford had to say about the pick:

The Wizards know they aren’t taking a point guard — not with John Wall in the fold. So the questions are: Who’s the best player on the board and what do they need? The Wizards are very high on Vesely, but in this mock he’s off the board.

Kawhi Leonard is an option. He brings toughness, defense and versatility to a team that can use all three attributes. But the Wizards are really looking for rebounding help up front and Kanter is a very good fit here. He’s tough, he isn’t afraid to be physical and he has good size. Tristan Thompson is a dark horse here as well.

The biggest news here isn’t that the Wizards would want Kanter – we already knew that. What’s surprising is that he’s projected to fall all the way to the number six pick.

Kanter is a highly regarded prospect who loves the idea of playing alongside John Wall, who the big man knows from his days of ineligibility at Kentucky. However, most draft experts believe that he’ll be long gone by the time the Wizards get to take him – at least, that’s what they used to think.

Ford also has the Wizards taking Jordan Hamilton with the 18th pick. He draws comparisons to current Wizard Rashard Lewis, but that would hardly deter the Wiz from taking Hamilton, since Lewis’s only value to the team is having a horrendous contract that’s one year shorter than Gilbert Arenas’s.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Is No. 6 Too Early For Tristan Thompson?

We've been hearing a lot of names for the Wizards  in various 2011 NBA Mock Drafts, but this new one from NBADraft.net has a name we have yet to see, and quite frankly, a little bit of a reach for the Wizards. They have them taking Texas freshman Tristan Thompson in the first round, which leaves me shaking my head a little bit.

Thomson is a little bit undersized for the power forward spot, but he is pretty good defensively, and has emerging offensive skills. But the Wizards already have some power forwards on the roster, and Thompson isn't good enough to create a logjam for. A better prospect, maybe, but when there are guys like Jonas Valanciunas and Kawhi Leonard still on the board, I think you have to go with one of them.

In the second round, they have the Wizards taking another Texas freshman in point guard Cory Joseph. This is a lot higher than I've seen him go in any other Mock Draft as well, but he could be an intriguing option for the Wizards. He was one of the best players coming out of high school, and like John Wall, has very good size for the position. If you take him in the second round, and he pans out, then the point guard position is solved for the next handful of years.


Tween Wave Visits Wizards Draft Workouts

Tuesday morning the Wizards held workouts for four undersized power forwards – or are they over-sized small forwards?

Whatever they are, Chris Singleton of Florida State, Marcus Morris of Kansas, Tyler Honeycutt of UCLA and Tobias Harris of Tennessee showed off their versatile skill-sets for Wizards officials, who could conceivably take any of the four with the number 18 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

Each player is considered somewhat of a “tweener” by draft experts, meaning that their skill-sets lie somewhere between that of a prototypical small forward and power forward. Such players’ value is usually a hot debate topic around draft time.

At best, they are versatile, athletic stars who can excel at either position, a la Antawn Jamison on offense. At worst, they occupy a front court no-man’s-land because they’re too small to match up at the 4, but too slow to match up at the 3, a la Antawn Jamison on defense.

All four are trying to sell themselves as versatile options for the Wizards, who just might take one of them to add some front-court depth to their bench.


NBA Draft Rumors: Jonas Valanciunas Higher Than Jan Vesely On Washington Wizards' Draft Board

The Washington Wizards have long been rumored to covet Czech forward Jan Vesely, but have had little reported about their feelings on Lithuanian center Jonas Valaciunas, who many believe will go higher in the 2011 NBA Draft. That has now changed. According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, Valanciunas is ranked higher than Vesely on the Wizards' draft board for now.

Here's the disclaimer that doesn't get mentioned nearly enough: The executives themselves won't solidify their short-list opinions until the final week, if not days, before the draft. As a result, it's a toss-up whether the Wizards would opt for Vesely or Valanciunas. I'm opting for Valanciunas simply because I was told weeks ago that he was above Vesely on the Wizards' board. Sources say Washington is also very high on San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard.

Amick's caution is worth noting, especially considering how little has been reported about Valanciunas. There's a good chance Valanciunas is off the board by the time the Wizards pick anyway.


NBA Mock Draft 2011: Draft Express Still Has Wizards Taking Enes Kanter

The guys over at Draft Express have come out with a new version of the 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and they still have the Wizards taking Enes Kanter with the sixth overall pick.

This would be the dream situation for the Wizards, but I don't really think it would happen. We know that Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are going to go in the first two picks. But this situation would mean that the Jazz and Raptors both take point guards ahead of the Wizards, and the Cleveland Cavaliers would pass on Kanter with the fourth overall pick. At that point in the Draft, Kanter would be by far the best prospect on the board, and the Cavs are not in a position to do anything other than BPA.

But if it did play out this way, the Wizard would be thrilled. They already have some big men on the roster, but Kanter would be a much better prospect than any of them, and would be a good cornerstone to build around along with John Wall.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: SB Nation Has Wizards Taking Kawhi Leonard

SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of their 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and they have the Wizards taking San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard with the sixth overall pick. Here is their rationale.

If the Wizards don't get Vesely, they don't need a point guard. And so: the next best small forward (though many would argue that Marcus Morris deserves more love here). Washington seems sold on Leonard as a solid prospect after his workout in D.C.

This has to be somewhat of a nightmare situation for the Wizards. Their reach pick is off the baord (kanter), and even someone who looked like a safety school two weeks ago (Vessely) is climbing up the board and could be gone by his pick. Leonard is solid, not spectacular. And in this kind of Draft, that actually isn't so bad.

With their second first round pick, they have the Wizards going international and taking Donatas Motiejunas.

The Wizards' mantra has been build build build, and taking a European player who might spend another year overseas can fit that, especially if the team gets immediate help at No. 6.

Motiejunas has lottery talent, but some questions about his passion. At this point in the first round, and with a solid pick already in the bank in Leonard, Motiejunas would probably be a risk worth taking.


2011 NBA Draft: Enes Kanter Will Work Out For Wizards On Friday

Enes Kanter is one of the Wizards' most sought after draft prospects, but it is assumed that he will be picked before the Wizards have a chance to take him in the June 23 Draft. Before now, we weren't even sure the Wizards were going to work Kanter out. But according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the Wizards will be working Kanter out in Chicago on Monday.

During the NBA combine in Chicago last month, Kanter expressed his desire to play for the Wizards and possibly team with his "good friend" John Wall. The Wizards interviewed the 6-foot-11 Kanter in Chicago but had been hoping to arrange another meeting with him before the June 23 draft in Newark.

That's good news, but the Wizards probably still don't have much of a shot to draft Kanter if they hang on to their No. 6 overall pick. If they really want to get Kanter in the fold, they'll almost certainly have to trade up into the top three or four picks.

For more on the Wizards' draft, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Draft 2011: Chris Singleton, Marcus Morris Headline Washington Wizards Workout Tuesday

The Washington Wizards will hold an important 2011 NBA Draft workout at the Verizon Center on Tuesday, with several possible candidates for the No. 18 and possibly even No. 6 picks in the house. Chris Singleton, a forward from Florida State, will headline the six-man group, four of whom have been rumored to be selected by the Wizards in different NBA Mock Drafts.

The other key players coming to the Verizon Center are UCLA swingman Tyler Honeycutt, Tennessee forward Tobias Harris and Kansas forward Marcus Morris. Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and UTEP's Julyan Stone are also scheduled to participate, but are not expected to be high picks in the draft. 

Morris, Singleton, Harris and Honeycutt are projected to go No. 10, 12, 19 and 23 in the latest Draft Express mock draft. All three can potentially play small forward, a major area of need for the Wizards right now. 

For more on the Wizards, visit Bullets Forever.


NBA Draft 2011 News: Washington Wizards Not Attending Bismack Biyombo Workout, According To Report

The Washington Wizards have split up their front office as they take a look at several key prospects in preparation for the 2011 NBA Draft. General manager Ernie Grunfeld remains in Washington D.C. for the time being to watch a series of workouts at the Verizon Center, with Thursday's six-man group being headlined by Kansas forward Markieff Morris. Assistant GM Tommy Sheppard, however, is overseas taking a look at several international prospects in the Adidas Eurocamp in Italy over the weekend.

Prior to that camp, top international big man prospect Bismack Biyombo has been holding a few individual workouts in Spain. Every team picking in the 3-18 range has been invited, and according to ESPN's Chad Ford, pretty much every team has stopped by or is stopping by Thursday. That is, every team except the Wizards.

Interesting workouts today: Jazz, Raptors, Pistons, Warriors in Vitoria Spain to watch Bismack Biyombo workout ... Biyombo workout is not run by teams but by his personal trainer Pepe Laso. Afterward, each team gets 1 hour to interview him ... A number of other teams have already been to Spain to see same thing. Basically everyone drafting from 3 to 18 with exception of Wizards ... Not sure why Wizards skipped. They were invited. May catch him in Treviso on Saturday. Same workout.    

The Wizards have been scouting this week -- according to Draft Express, Sheppard was on hand to watch Jan Vesely in the Serbian League Finals -- so it is odd that they reportedly passed on an invitation to see Biyombo in a private workout. They will see him with everyone else on Saturday. 

Biyombo is projected to be a top-10 pick after dominating this year's Nike Hoops Summit.


NBA Draft 2011 Rumors: Minnesota Timberwolves 'Intrigued' About Trading No. 2 Pick For JaVale McGee

The Washington Wizards hold the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and have reportedly entertained the possibility of moving up. There may potentially be an opportunity with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who hold the No. 2 pick in the draft and have been rumored to be amenable to trading the pick. Now, there is a potential trade possibility out there.

ESPN's Chad Ford, in a recent chat, reports that the Timberwolves are "intrigued" by the possibility of swapping the No. 2 pick for Wizards center JaVale McGee.

Marcus (Mpls)

Do you think the TWolves will keep the 2nd pick or trade it?

Chad Ford  (1:13 PM)

I think they trade. But they won't give the pick away. I think they're another possible destination for Monta Ellis. I think they're also intrigued if they could swap No. 2 for JaVale McGee.

Later, Ford reports that there are some in the Wizards organization who believe they should blow up the entire team and rebuild only around John Wall. He adds that the Wizards could move up to No. 2 if they were willing to put McGee on the table.

McGee had an uneven year in 2011, but came on strong at the end and possesses incredibly unique skills for a seven-footer. The Wizards will have to weigh his potential and his position before they make a decision, because while McGee is still erratic, talented seven-footers don't grow on trees.


2011 NBA Draft: Marshon Brooks Headlines Wednesday's Wizards Workout

The Wizards have another busy day of workouts Wednesday, as they welcome La'Shard Anderson, Marshon Brooks, Shelvin Mack, Jamel Mclean, Adrian Oliver and Malcolm Thomas to the Verizon Center. 

Of the six players, only Brooks is consistently projected to be picked in the first round. The former Providence College star was the best guard in the Big East last season not named Kemba Walker. He led the conference in scoring at 24.6 points per game, showing flashes of dominance in leading a frisky Friars squad that knocked off ranked opponents Louisville and Villanova. 

Brooks's skill-set most likely makes him too similar to Jordan Crawford and Nick Young for the Wizards to take him unless he somehow falls to the second round, but he's a true two-guard with the range and athleticism to be a solid scorer off the bench. 

Mack is another excellent shooter, and a proven winner after playing in the last two national title games at Butler. He's a projected second-round pick, but players with that kind of winning pedigree generally find ways to stick around the league for a while (see: Steve Blake). 

Mclean and Thomas are the only two front court players in the group. Neither project to be first-round picks, but both have good size and are proven rebounders at the college level. 


2011 NBA Draft: Kawhi Leonard Impressed With Jump Shot In Washington Wizards Workout

WASHINGTON D.C. - Kawhi Leonard was the headliner at the Washington Wizards' draft workouts on Tuesday, and he did well to answer his biggest question: his jump shot. It was a small sample size, but Leonard nailed four jumpers in a row in a fast-break drill and did well in free-throw line jumper drills.

Leonard has risen up the draft boards due to his defense and rebounding, but to make it in the pros, he knows he needs to make sure his jump shot is sound. He said he's specifically working on his catch-and-shoot jump shot more than anything.

"I'm just really working on, when the point guard's coming off the screen, when he penetrates and kicks out to me, I have to knock down that shot," he said. "Also, in transition. Or, if a guy is playing off me, jabbing him off and then lifting up and raising for the three and hitting it consistently." 

For more on Leonard's workout, check out Bullets Forever.


2011 NBA Draft: Jordan Hamilton Says He Felt 'Dizzy' During Washington Wizards Workout

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Jordan Hamilton was one of six players the Washington Wizards brought in for a workout on Tuesday, and many mock drafts have the Texas small forward going near the Wizards' range at No. 18 in the 2011 NBA Draft. This workout was important for Hamilton if he wanted to impress the Wizards.

Afterwards, he wasn't so sure he did. Hamilton told reporters that the workout "started off rough" and that he felt "dizzy" through most of it.

"It started off rough. It's my fault. I didn't get nothing to eat, so I was feeling real dizzy," Hamilton said. "But I fought through it and played hard at the end."

When asked to elaborate, Hamilton said he "didn't get up early enough" to have time to get food, and it cost him during some of the harder portions of the workout.

"I just got real lightheaded and dizzy doing shooting drills," he said. "Then, we got in transition, and that was kind of hard for me at first. But then I just fought through it and continued to keep playing."

Hamilton was matched up a lot against San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, who the Wizards may take at No. 6. The two played a lot against each other in high school and were teammates in AAU, Hamilton said, so he is familiar with Leonard's game. As opposed to Leonard, who is trying to show he can shoot, Hamilton said he wants to show teams he can do more than just shoot. 

"I want to show teams that I am explosive and I am athletic, that I'm not just a shooter. I can do other things too," he said.

Hamilton said this was his sixth workout, and the only one in which he didn't feel good about his performance.

"Today, I just hit that bump. I didn't get up early enough to get food, but that's my fault," he said.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Is Bismack Biyombo The Next Serge Ibaka?

The guys over at SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of their 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and it's based around comparisons for each of the prospects in the first round. They give the Wizards Bismack Biyombo, a defensive power forward out of the Congo, with the sixth overall pick. Here is their comparison(s) for him.

If I said even-less-polished Josh Smith, would you think me a liar or a hater? (DX says "6'9 version of Dwight Howard." NBADraft.net goes with Larry Sanders, who 90 percent of NBA fans couldn't tell you anything about.) The ESPN crew on draft day will just cut the crap and refer to Biyombo as "New Serge Ibaka."

Biyombo could be a great defensive player in the middle for Washington but I have to wonder if he duplicates too many things that JaVale McGee does to be a good fit. They would have to load up on offense on the wings. They have the Wizards doing just that with the 18th pick. They have the Wizards taking Jordan Hamilton out of Texas; whom they compare to Quentin Richardson.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Enes Kanter To Washington Wizards In Draft Express Mock

Draft Express has been the only outlet to have Kentucky recruit Enes Kanter falling to the Washington Wizards in its mock drafts, and that trend has continued. In his latest 2011 NBA Mock Draft for Yahoo! Sports, Jonathan Givony has the Wizards selecting Kanter with the No. 6 overall pick.

If Kanter isn't drafted second or third, his next most likely destination is in here. All indications are that the Wizards would love to add him to their frontcourt rotation. He would give them a big boost on the glass in particular, an area where they ranked among the NBA's worst last season. Washington is also exploring opportunities to move up, ideally to No. 2, where they'd be able to select Derrick Williams, who would be an ideal teammate for John Wall.    

Most other sites have Kanter going much higher, so why is he slipping here? Givony has the Minnesota Timberwolves ultimately taking Derrick Williams at No. 2, which begins Kanter's slide. He has the Utah Jazz picking Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight at No. 3 and the Cleveland Cavaliers choosing Jonas Valanciunas over Kanter at No. 4. He also has the Toronto Raptors picking Kemba Walker at No. 5.

Givony also has the Wizards selecting Tennessee small forward Tobias Harris at No. 18.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Schedule Week Of Workouts, Enes Kanter Not On List

It is going to be a busy week of 2011 NBA Draft prep at the Verizon Center. The Washington Post's Michael Lee reports the Wiz will have three workouts this week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. But the headline here is that Washington, holding the number six pick in the draft, does not have 6'11" Turkish center Enes Kanter scheduled for any of these workouts. From Lee's article, here is Kanter's agent, sounded both confident and perplexed in the same breath:

"Listen, we like Washington. I haven’t heard anything from them," said Kanter’s agent, Max Ergul. "I guess they know he’s not going to be there at six. So, until they do something about it, it seems like they are not going to give me a call for workout."

Ernie Grunfeld, why are you not even working this kid out? He's already said he would like to play in Washington, and the team has shown it may not sit tight with the sixth pick anyway, so what's the harm in having him hit the Verizon Center hardwood for some practice run? I've got to admit, I'm a little confused here.

The full list of players and workouts:

The Wizards have three workouts at Verizon Center scheduled this week, beginning on Tuesday, with some notable prospects expected to participate. San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, Texas swingman Jordan Hamilton, and Maryland center Jordan Williams headline the Tuesday workouts. Providence shooting guard Marshon Brooks, UCLA combo guard Malcolm Lee and Georgia shooting guard Travis Leslie will visit on Wednesday. Kansas forward Markieff Morris, Duke forward Kyle Singler and Georgia forward Trey Thompkins will participate in the Thursday workout.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Have Not Contacted Timberwolves About No. 2 Pick, According To Report

Thursday, word spread on twitter that the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards were the two teams working hardest to trade up and obtain the #2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft from the Minnesota Timberwolves. But Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports these rumors right now are, well, just that - rumors.

The rumor may have excited many Wizards fans, but as of right now, the team is not one of "the most active teams" trying to get the second overall pick from Minnesota, according to multiple league sources. That doesn’t mean that the Wizards aren’t high on Arizona forward Derrick Williams (they are) or that they won’t eventually make an aggressive pitch before the June 23 draft (they just might), it just hasn’t happened yet.

Lee also mentions that a source close to the situation says the Wizards have not even contacted Minnesota yet about a deal. Obviously, there is still plenty of time before the June 23rd draft to work out a deal, so don't start sending Ernie Grunfeld hate mail just yet Wiz fans. He has the sixth pick to work with, but I am still not sure Washington has any other assets that appeal to the Timberwolves. But Ernie, please, keep telling Minnesota how great Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee are. Maybe David Kahn will bite. The guy did sign Darko Milicic to a four year, 20 million dollar deal, so he is obviously insane.


2011 NBA Draft: Who Could The Wizards Trade For Derrick Williams?

A rumor emerged yesterday that the Wizards are aggressively pursuing the No. 2 overall pick currently held by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and would use that pick on Derrick Williams. Which immediately makes you think about what kind of pieces the Wizards would need to ship out for the Timberwolves to accept such a deal.

Well, the Timberwolves seem to prefer a "young veteran" so nobody still within their first couple of years probably. Which, in terms of assets with positive value, basically leaves JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. Of those two players, McGee obviously has the best value around the league, and would probably be preferred by Minnesota to Blatche because the Timberwolves have a big hole in the middle. In fact, McGee has the potential to be the shot blocking presence that would fit very will with Kevin Love. So the conversation probably starts with him.

The Wizards also have the sixth and 18th  overall picks in this Draft, and could use one or both of those picks depending on how they feel about Williams. In a weak draft, I think that McGee and the No. 6 pick is a pretty steep price. But McGee and No. 18 would be pretty solid value, and give the Wizards an opportunity to replace some of his production at No. 6. In fact, Minnesota is $4 million under the salary cap, so they don't even need to send anything back in return. That right there, McGee/18 for No. 2, would be pretty solid for both sides I think.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Trying To Trade Up For Derrick Williams, According To Report

The Washington Wizards don't have a ton of intriguing options with the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and it appears the team may know this. The Wizards are reportedly very aggressively trying to trade up in the draft to get in position to pick Arizona's Derrick Williams. Draft Express reports that Washington and Phoenix are trying to pry Minnesota's No. 2 pick away.

Sources say Washington & Phoenix have been the most active teams trying to trade up for Derrick Williams. T'Wolves want a "veteran big man."    

Williams certainly would be a good fit for the Wizards, and he's not a great fit for the Timberwolves because they already have Michael Beasley and Kevin Love. But do the Wizards really have the "veteran big man" the Timberwolves covet? The closest thing is Andray Blatche, but do the Timberwolves want him enough to trade out of the No. 2 pick? If not, the Wizards could use other younger assets like Jordan Crawford, Kevin Seraphin and their own No. 18 pick if the Timberwolves change their mind. Also, they could deal JaVale McGee, who would fill Minnesota's need for a shot-blocker.

For more on this rumor, check out Bullets Forever.


2011 NBA Draft: Slimmed-Down Austin Freeman Works Out For Washington Wizards

Georgetown shooting guard Austin Freeman was the headliner at the second batch of Washington Wizards workouts on Sunday, leading a group that also featured Penn State' Talor Battle, Indiana's Mike Davis, SMU's Papa Dia, Tulsa's Justin Hurtt and Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson. Freeman was the story because he looked way slimmer than he did at Georgetown. 

As it turned out, the Georgetown guard has a lot of weight since the end of the season. Via Gene Wang of the Washington Post:

Austin Freeman says he's lost 20 pounds, and it sure looked that way in today's #Wizards predraft workout. #Hoyas

Freeman's playing weight last season was 235 pounds, which means he's now probably in the 215 range. That's going to be essential for him, because the big knock pro scouts have is that he lacks athleticism.

As of right now, Freeman is not even listed in the latest Draft Express 2011 NBA Mock Draft, but if he continues to show off his newfound quickness, he could find his way into the second round.


2011 NBA Draft: Klay Thompson Impresses In Washington Wizards' Workout

The Washington Wizards hosted six players in an NBA Draft workout on Wednesday, including likely first-round picks Tristan Thompson, Alec Burks and Klay Thompson. Three others -- Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, UTEP's Randy Culpepper and French guard Andrew Albicy -- joined them. 

Of the six, Tristan Thompson, a big man from Texas, and Burks, a high-scoring guard from Colorado, are expected to be drafted highest. But as it turns out, it was Klay Thompson who was most impressive at the workout, at least according to a source of ESPN's Chad Ford.

From a source inside Wizards gym today: Klay Thompson & JaJuan Johnson looked good today. I've had Wiz taking Klay at 18 in 1st 3 Mocks.    

Klay Thompson is a shooting guard from Washington State who has an excellent outside shot, but sometimes struggles defensively. He could be a nice option for the Wizards if Nick Young departs in free agency, and would likely be available with the No. 18 pick.


2011 NBA Draft: Will The Wizards Look For Help In The Front Court?

The 2011 NBA Draft is coming up later this month (happy June everyone) and between now and then you will hear a lot of different people have an opinion about who the Wizards might take with the sixth overall pick. There will be some who think that the team will look to address it's needs at small forward, while others think they may try to replace some of their front court players who may have worn out their welcome.

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com falls into the later category. In his most recent Mock Draft, he has the Wizards taking Jonas Valancianus. here is his rationale.

Some teams feel Valanciunas, though not ready to make an immediate impact, could turn out to be the best of the international prospects.

My only problem with the pick is that Valanciunas is thought of a defensive minded center. Isn't that what we were hoping JaVale Mcgee would develop into? I would argue that center is the second-most locked up position on the team after point guard.But he is an interesting prospect, and I suppose the Wizards could have him pegged as the sixth best player in the draft.


2011 NBA Draft News: Washington Wizards Working Out Tristan Thompson, Alec Burks

The Washington Wizards are holding the first of several workout sessions with draft prospects as they prepare for the 2011 NBA Draft. On Wednesday, they are hosting six prospects, several of which are rumored to be selected somewhere between the No. 6 and No. 18 picks they hold.

Those six prospects include Texas big man Tristan Thompson, Colorado guard Alec Burks and Washington State guard Klay Thompson. Tristan Thompson is a defensive prospect with a limited offensive game, while Burks and Klay Thompson are two of the most prolific scorers in college basketball and could provide insurance in case Nick Young departs over the summer. 

The Wizards will also be hosting Purdue center JaJuan Johnson, UTEP guard Randy Culpepper and French guard Andrew Albicy. The Wizards will continue holding workouts throughout the week and on several other occasions leading up to the 2011 NBA Draft on June 23 in New York City.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: SB Nation Has The Wizards Taking Jan Vesely, Klay Thompson

SB Nation has come out with the latest installment of their 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and they still have the Wizards going with international small forward Jan Vesely with the sixth overall pick. Here is their rationale.

Oh my god, Steve Buckhantz is going to have a field day with the sly "Czech" puns. And if he refuses to, at least he can keep Vesely from suffering the indignation of the Maloofs' sly "Czech Into Cash" ad tie-in.

We've already discussed how Vesely would help the Wizards, particularly on the fast break. But he also has the athleticism to be an elite defensive player, and we know the Wizards have had their problems there as well. With their second first round pick, they have the Wizards taking Klay Thompson, a fast rising shooting guard out of Washington State.

Thompson has pulled the ol' 180 on a weed violation -- he's responded to questions so openly and maturely that it's almost turned into a positive. The NBA: where explaining an arrest effectively boosts your draft stock.

Thompson is quickly moving up draft boards, but I'm not sure he helps with a big need the Wizards have. Assuming that Nick Young comes back, and that Jordan Crawford continues to get better, Thompson does a lot of the same things those two players do. He is a come off the screen scorer, and with those two guys on the roster, that isn't a huge need. But he is good value, so it's hard to argue with.


The Case For Washington Wizards To Use No. 6 Pick In 2011 NBA Draft On Chris Singleton

The Washington Wizards are stuck in a bad spot in a bad draft, and none of the options are appealing. So here's an outside the box suggestion: why not take Chris Singleton at No. 6?


2011 NBA Draft Combine Results: Chris Singleton Impresses, Kawhi Leonard Struggles In Athletic Testing

The athletic testing results for the 2011 NBA Draft Combine are now public, and a number of surprising numbers resulted. While the figures do not always paint a complete and accurate picture of a prospect's real athleticism, they are interesting. 

One potential Washington Wizards draft hopeful that did not fare particularly well is San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, who is being projected as the Wizards' pick at No. 6 overall in ESPN's Chad Ford latest NBA Mock Draft, did not show off the athleticism he supposedly has. His jumping testing results were abysmal, as he only had a 25.5-inch no-step vertical and a 32-inch maximum vertical. He also only bench-pressed a 185-pound bar three times and finished behind big man Enes Kanter in the lane agility drills.

Chris Singleton, meanwhile, helped himself tremendously. The Wizards' "dark horse" candidate had a 30.5-inch no-step vertical, a 37.5-inch maximum vertical, bench-pressed 185 pounds 15 times and had one of the best 3/4-court sprint times of anyone.

Enes Kanter also fared well, though his vertical leaps (26-inch no-step, 32.5-inch maximum) are only average. He did post a higher lane agility time than Kenneth Faired, Singleton and Leonard.

For more relevant Wizards testing results, head to Bullets Forever.


Chad Ford NBA Mock Draft Has Washington Wizards Selecting Kawhi Leonard At No. 6

ESPN's Chad Ford has come out with his latest 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and he has the Washington Wizards taking San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard with the No. 6 pick. Ford has the Wizards passing up Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas because he believes general manager Ernie Grunfeld's job is too much in the balance to take a chance on a European player.

With GM Ernie Grunfeld's job hanging in the balance, he doesn't have a lot of room to take risks -- especially on international players who might not come to Washington for years. Leonard's ability to come in and provide energy, defense and length right away makes him an attractive option and a potential impact player in Year 1.    

Two of the players the Wizards reportedly like most -- Enes Kanter and Jan Vesely -- are off the board in Ford's mock by the time the Wizards pick. Ford has Kanter getting picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 4 pick, with Vesely following at No. 5 to the Toronto Raptors

Ford also has the Wizards taking Washington State guard Klay Thompson with the No. 18 pick.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Jan Vesely To The Wizards Is Starting To Become A Trend

SB Nation just came out with the latest edition of their 2011 NBA Mock Draft, and it is starting to establish somewhat of a trend. They once again have the Wizards taking international small forward Jan Vesely with the sixth overall pick. Here is their rationale.


Vesely could very well turn into the prize of the top 10; this draft isn't full of physical freaks, but the Czech gazelle qualifies. The Wizards need help at small forward behind (and hopefully in front of) Rashard Lewis, and Vesely is billed as an extraordinary open court player who could mesh well with John Wall. He has volatile stock, though; keep an eye on what the bead on Jan is out of Eurocamp.

I know that the Wizards would probably prefer Kanter in this spot. But at this point at least, it seems like they might have to settle for Vesely. Vesely is a much better fit for the open court style of play that the Wizards will probably prefer with John Wall. Few players his size can get up and down the court like he can. He might not have been the player that most fans were salivating over before the Lottery, but he would be a pretty good consolation prize.


2011 NBA Mock Draft, Washington Wizards: Will Enes Kanter Be On The Board For The Wizards?

Remember the rate at which NFL Mock Drafts started coming out before the big day in April? That's what you can expect the next month to be like before the 2011 NBA Draft late in June. Everyone with a keyboard and access to the Draft order is going to put a mock together, and we'll do our best to pass along the most credible ones to you. Today's edition is from Draft Express, and they have the Wizards taking Turkish big man Enes Kanter with the sixth overall pick. 

Kanter has said in public that he would like to join the Wizards and his friend John Wall in Washington. The biggest obstacle is probably getting past the Cavaliers at four. This Mock has the Cavs taking Jonas Valanciunas, a big man out of Lithuania. I think Kanter is probably a superior prospect (especially considering that Valanciunas replicates a lot of the same stuff that Anderson Varajeo brings to the table) but maybe the Cavs pass if they know that he really does not want to be in Cleveland.

This would be an ideal Draft situation for the Wizards, as they would get what everyone assumes to be their top target without having to move up in the draft and lose more pieces. Kanter would also give them an excuse to try and move Andray Blatche, which I think is something they probably need to do. If Kanter is on the board at six, I think everyone in the Washington organization is pretty ecstatic, and they don't waste a lot of time getting their pick up to the commissioner.


2011 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards Eyeing Jan Vesely, According To Reports

With over one month left until the 2011 NBA Draft, there is a lot of time for NBA teams to decide which prospects they are interested in drafting. Still, a theme has emerged when it comes to the Washington Wizards and what they would like to do with the No. 6 pick. According to several reports, the Wizards are interested in Czech Republic forward Jan Vesely.

HoopsHype's Aran Smith, in his latest NBA Mock Draft, has the Wizards taking Vesely, saying that the Wizards are "very high on him." Michael Lee of the Washington Post backed up that account in his post-lottery chat.

John Wall has already thrown his support for Kanter, but I've heard that the Wizards have been high on Vesely for some time. It'll be interesting.    

CSN Washington's Frank Hanrahan reports the Wizards are "smitten" with Vesely, but also like Jonas Valanciunas. Here's a Vesely highlight package from YouTube.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Kawhai Leonard Could Be A Target For The Wizards

The NBA Lottery order is set, which means we can actually start talking about Mock Drafts without having to guess where the teams will be picking, let alone whom they will be picking. Chad Ford just came out with his first post-lottery 2011 NBA Mock Draft at ESPN, and he has the Wizards adding some help along the perimeter. He has them taking Kawhai Leonard out of San Diego State, here is his rationale.

Leonard can guard multiple positions, would fill a hole at the 3, plays with a motor and toughness the Wizards often lack, and has enormous upside if he continues to improve his jump shot (he was shooting the lights out in Vegas workouts). The comps to Gerald Wallace don't seem out of order, and if his jumper truly improves, he has a chance to be really special. Pairing him with John Wall could be the start of something in Washington.

Leonard would be a good fit for the Wizards, who need some toughness and defense along the perimeter. He is also just 19 years old, so he has the potential to grow into a really nice compliment to John Wall. He plays the same position as Rashard Lewis, the highest paid player on the roster, but he won't be around for very long, and the Wizards have few other options there.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Is Bismack Biyombo A Good Fit For The Wizards?

The guys over at SB Nation just came out with their first edition of the post-lottery 2011 NBA Draft, and they have the Wizards looking for some help in the front court with a relatively unknown prospect who has risen up the board like a rocket in the past few months. They have them taking Bismack Biyombo from the Congo with the sixth overall pick. Here is their rationale.

The Wizards have their shotblocking interior presence (JaVale McGee), but Biyombo, the top shotblocker in the Spanish league per DraftExpress, is another level of prospect. Given the franchise's lack of faith (or is that wishful thinking?) in Andray Blatche, power forward could be a spot they look to address despite a gaping hole behind Rashard Lewis at small forward and a couple of solid PF prospects in the pipeline (Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin).

Power forward isn't a very big need for the Wizards, but he might have too much potential to pass up on if the other players the Wizards are targeting are already off the board when they pick. Biyombo broke onto the scene at the Nike Hoops Summit when he recorded a triple double with points, rebounds and blocks. But not only do they not really need a power forward, but his skill set (and by skills I mean not really skills but more athleticism and defense) is pretty redundant with JaVale McGee.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Washington Wizards Taking Jan Vesely In Draft Express' Mock

The 2011 NBA Mock Draft season can now officially begin with the conclusion of the 2011 NBA Draft lottery. The Cleveland Cavaliers got lucky, moving up to the No. 1 and No. 4 spots, while the Washington Wizards were unlucky to fall to the No. 6 spot, which was about as bad as they could have done. Now, the Wizards will have a tough choice to make.

In Draft Express' first mock draft, the Wizards are taking Jan Vesely, a 6'11'' combo forward from the Czech Republic. Vesely is very gifted at 21 years old, but struggled this season and needs a lot of work on his shot. The Wizards certainly could use help at small forward, though, and Vesely would have been a lottery pick had he come out last season.

With the No. 18 pick, Draft Express has the Wizards taking Jordan Hamilton, a swingman from Texas. Hamilton would probably act as insurance in case Nick Young departs in free agency. Trey Thompson, a power forward from Georgia, is the Wizards' pick at No. 34.


2011 NBA Mock Draft: Washington Wizards Could Select Kentucky's Terrence Jones

The Washington Wizards' 2011 season is over, so it's time to start thinking about the offseason. That process begins with a series of 2011 NBA mock drafts. In the latest one over at SBNation.com, the Wizards are taking Kentucky forward Terrence Jones with the fourth overall pick.

Here's what SBNation.com's Tom Ziller has to say about the pick:

Nothing hurts Washington's draft more than Barnes escaping, because this team has young, promising players at every position but small forward. I'm couting Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker as the promising power forwards, by the way. Not Andray Blatche. Never again.    

The Wizards are dramatically hampered by several top prospects such as Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Baylor's Perry Jones and North Carolina's Harrison Barnes pulling out of the 2011 NBA draft. Kyrie Irving of Duke is likely not in the picture because the Wizards already have John Wall, which severely limits their options. Jones is decent, but he's not going to push the needle as much as several other prospects could have.

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