Back in March I was looking at Washington Wizards draft prospects in the NCAA Tournament. At the time, I made what I thought was a hilarious joke: what if the Wizards selected BYU's wonderboy, Jimmer Fredette?! We all laughed, and had a good time. That'd be a hoot. ... Except now it doesn't seem so funny. It doesn't seem funny because it's only a stone's throw from reality -- which is a little too close to home for Wizards fans.
The Wizards need to nail this draft. John Wall needs a running mate. According to the franchise point guard, "it wouldn’t be bad to have another big man, a wing player and maybe a backup point guard." Except that some of the best big men, like Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Baylor's Perry Jones opted for school over sure-fire lottery selection. So did the best wing man, UNC's Harrison Barnes, who seemed like a natural fit at small forward.
There doesn't appear to be much left outside of Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving. So what do the Wizards do now? Pray. Pray for Derrick Williams, the only logical pick.
Of course, aspirations of NBA dynasties can't be built on hope alone, nor on petitions to the basketball gods. The Wizards need a plan. So here's a brief guide to what's left. (Of course, you could also check out the super secret copy of the Wizards draft board that we secured.)
Terrence Jones, SF/PF, Kentucky: Jones isn't a top five pick right now, according to Draft Express or NBADraft.net, but he would slide in nicely at the small forward spot -- the Wizards' most obvious need. Jones has the handle and range to play small forward in the NBA and is rugged enough to battle down low, potentially spreading the floor without sacrificing toughness were he to get minutes at power forward.
Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF, San Diego State: Leonard is another guy who appears to be a reach for the Wizards in the high lottery, but could fit their needs. Leonard is high-energy combo forward who rebounds and defends well. Think of the boost the Wizards got from their D-League guys in 2010-11, but in a more talented pacakage.
Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, Congo: Meet, Bismack. Biyombo became recently a sensation at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, where his raw athleticism and potential were on full display. He's most revered for his defensive potential, which could make him a little redundant alongside JaVale McGee when the Wizards could really use a low-post scorer. but his rebounding and energy fit.
Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Czech Republic: Now we get into the Euro prospects. Vesely is raw offensively by most accounts, but a 6-foot-11 athlete who likes to run the floor and finish in transition sounds like a nice pairing with Wall, a perpetual-fast-break at the helm of the offense. His ability to hit from outside is a plus too.
Jonas Valanciunas, PF/C, Lithuania: Tremendous upside as an around-the-basket scorer, which would compliment Wall as long as he doesn't clog the lane. An offensive rebounder who is quick around the basket with a soft touch? Sounds great. Valanciunas might take a while to develop, which means the Wizards could be on track for a nother top pick in the (considerably better) 2012 draft. Win-win!
On second thought, probably better to just wear your prayer beads and beg the lord for Derrick Williams. Or Jimmer! Give in ...