The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday night in Secaucus, New Jersey (watch it live on ESPN at 8:30 p.m.). To whet your NBA draft appetite, SB Nation D.C. chatted via e-mail with NBADraft.Net editor Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) about the 2011 draft class, and where the Wizards might look for help in the lottery.
Check back at SB Nation D.C. tonight for results from the draft lottery. And for more on the Wizards and the 2011 NBA Draft, visit Bullets Forever.
How bad is this draft, really?
Adi Joseph: It's tempting to throw this draft alongside 2000, 2006 and a few of the drafts from the late 1980s as one of the worst in the lottery era, but I think it's a little tough to say. There is definitely a lack of depth compared to other years. We're not looking at the 2008 draft, to be sure. But there are at least two potential stars, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. And a few of the international prospects are intriguing.
Potential targets like Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes and Perry Jones are returning to school. How much have returning players changed the complexion of the draft, especially for teams picking in the lottery?
AJ: It's huge. This draft was already facing a dearth of elite prospects, then three pulled out. It will be very interesting to see what this does to the lottery. There are two options: Teams can go conservative and take players like JaJuan Johnson 10 spots too high, or they could really try to hit a home run with a player such as Bismack Biyombo from the Congo or Jeremy Tyler, the American who went international to avoid college.
There really aren't 13 lottery-worthy prospects in this draft. I like Georgia's Trey Thompkins, but he's a bit soft and was inconsistent last season. Tyler Honeycutt could be a stud, but he's so thin and injury-prone that he could end up never even scratching an NBA rotation. Guys like Josh Selby — take them if you're willing to deal with their egos.
The Wizards need a franchise cornerstone to pair with John Wall. Does such a player exist in this draft?
AJ: Yes, and he happens to play the same position as Wall. I believe Irving has the best chance to develop into a superstar of anyone this draft, though he's not the same level prospect as Wall. He's less of a freak and more of a polished product. Williams should be an excellent player, though. He would pair very well with Wall and JaVale McGee and Nick Young, replacing Andray Blatche. He's got the same skills as David West, but he's a much nastier athlete and is more aggressive by nature. He's also a legitimate 6-8 or even 6-9 with a wingspan near 7-foot, so he should be fine as a pivot.
Should the current slots hold, where might the Wizards lean (assuming Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving are off the board)?
AJ: The fourth pick isn't a very attractive one this year, that's for sure. I liked Enes Kanter a lot when I saw him last, but that was a year ago. A year off can do some things to a man, and workouts will be key. The other three top European big men, Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic, each have clear downside. Valanciunas isn't fully developed, Motiejunas is soft and lacks passion and Vesely probably can't defend anyone at any position and won't be going into the post anytime soon.
Even so, if Washington has to pick fourth, one of those three may be the most attractive option. Neither Jimmer Fredette nor Kemba Walker should even be considered on a team like Washington, where Wall will dominate the ball and defense needs to be a top priority. I'm not big on the Morris twins, who severely lack length.
If Washington decides to go with a college player, Tristan Thompson might be a bit of a reach, but I think he has good potential from an athleticism perspective.
Who might be a sleeper-type that the Wizards should target later in the draft -- both No. 18, where the Wizards have Atlanta's pick, and in the early second round?
AJ: It's really difficult to say who will end up sliding at this point in the process. I like Honeycutt's potential if he can stay healthy. Jordan Hamilton could be a really great fit as a shooter. He could learn a lot from Josh Howard, too. In the second round, they should consider finding a backup for Wall. I like Norris Cole from Cleveland State as an early second-rounder, but I think he could sneak into the first round
Have to ask: Is local prospect Jordan Williams a realistic option at No. 18? How much of a reach is that?
AJ: Absolutely. Blatche and Rashard Lewis were poor rebounders last season, and there aren't many better rebounding prospects than Williams. In a normal draft, he wouldn't go that high. But in this one, he may be near the top of the big board at that point. Richmond forward Justin Harper could be a second-round choice, but I'm not convinced he has a role in the NBA. He's very soft. And don't be too surprised if George Mason's Cam Long impresses in workouts against other point guards. He could be another second-round possibility.