Mark Bacon—Main Event Sports DC
The NBA Draft concluded last evening, and watching the Draft ranks up there with any other sporting event that isn’t an actual basketball game. You know, compared to the NFL, NHL, MLB, etc., it’s superior (to me), and easily one of my favorite evenings of the year.
As a Washington Wizards fan, my team’s picks are the most intriguing part of the night. A roller coaster ride of anticipation, as other teams select players ahead of the Wiz, and I check my crib sheet to see who’s left that would fill the team’s glaring needs. Especially this year, after a woeful regular season campaign and a very underachieving Playoff run.
So, imagine my chagrin—no, HORROR—when our GM, Ernie Grunfeld, had easily THE WORST DRAFT OF THE NIGHT!!! It completely sucked. Washington booted their selections so badly, Buzzards are now circling Capitol One Arena downtown, and the stench of their selections reaches all the way to Delaware.
In the first round, the Washington Wizards selected Troy Brown from the Oregon Ducks with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
This is a surprising pick, even considering the Wizards brought him in with Zhaire Smith and Elie Okobo for a pre-draft workout earlier this month. Brown has some interesting mix of skills as a solid defender and playmaker that could be very useful with the way the league is going. Clearly, the Wiz see him as someone who fits with the future of the NBA’s small ball space and pace game. Viewed another way, DC has a ton of wings already… WHAT IN THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!?!
Brown is still very young (he doesn’t turn 19 until next month), so he has some time to develop those aspects of his game. If it all works out, he could be a good value; but this is DC. That said, there’s a reason he was behind Zhaire Smith, Robert Smith (pictured below, who they desperately could have used with their aging pivot players), Donte DiVincenzo and Lonnie Walker on most draft boards. It’s surprising the Wizards didn’t try to shed salary and move down, where they likely still could have gotten Brown in the late teens or early 20’s and helped out their financial situation.
But that would have made sense and Grunfeld revealed himself to be the worst GM in the League on a sinking ship of a franchise.
His selection presents two other issues with the team’s roster construction. First, his skills overlap quite a bit with Tomas Satoransky’s. Is there room for two guys on the second unit who aren’t high-volume outside shooters?
Washington also still has to figure out how to improve their frontcourt. The first round pick was their best chance to add an athletic big man like Smith or even Mitchell Robinson to rejuvenate their decrepit big man rotation. Now they’ll have to hope they can pull off a good trade or find a gem for cheap in free agency. If they can’t things are going to be even worse for the Wizards next season.
Needless to say, the Wizards better hope they got this one right, because if they didn’t it will be remembered for years to come as a missed opportunity. It gets worse, too.
The Wizards selected Ukranian point guard Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the NBA Draft.
With all due respect to Sanon, this pick isn’t going to go over well with Wizards fans. Let’s review a few quick reasons why:
There was a safe pick (Keita Bates-Diop) who could have helped next season and a high upside pick (Hamidou Diallo) who could have helped down the road. Instead, they added a point guard who probably won’t be NBA ready for at least another two years.
Ernie Grunfeld said he will be stashed in Europe next season, just like second round picks of years past like Vladimir Veremeenko and Aaron White. At least he will play with the team during Summer League, according to NBC Sports Washington.
Sanon isn’t the first Ukranian the Wizards have selected in the draft during Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure. Washington also selected Oleksiy Pecherov back in 2005. I think we all know how that worked out.
I couldn’t even find a photo for this guy. Sorry DC fans. It’s going to be a long year… it didn’t have to be this way, either.
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