Mercifully, the Washington Wizards season came to an end Tuesday, April 9, with a 116-110 loss to the Boston Celtics. A treacherous season that Bradley Beal described as an emotional rollercoaster has left the Wizards with the projected No. 6 overall pick before next month’s draft lottery.
While the Wizards still don’t know who their new general manager will be come draft night, let’s look at three names Wizards fans should get familiar with as potential draft picks. For the sake of this article, I am going to assume the Wizards stay put at the No. 6 pick and will break down players who will realistically still be around come that selection. Do not expect to see the likes of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett in this article.
1. Cam Reddish (Duke, G/F, Freshman)
An afterthought at times, playing alongside Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish lost some fans during his freshman year at Duke University. However, the talented forward still has tremendous upside; he was a consensus top-five recruit in the country for a reason. His defensive and shot-making ability on the wing makes him an interesting option for Washington.
Even after his inefficient season shooting the ball at Duke, he still has a natural jumper and could further spread the floor for the Wizards who were in the bottom five in three-point percentage this season.
The Wizards desperately need young talented players while they try to rebuild this team on the fly. Reddish fits the bill and despite his forgettable freshman year at Duke could develop into the Wizards second scoring option behind Bradley Beal.
Cam Reddish would be a very realistic option for the Wizards if he does slip out of the top five and the Wiz remain at the No. 6 pick.
2. De’Andre Hunter (Virginia, F, Sophomore)
If you weren’t familiar with Hunter before March Madness, I am sure you are now. The sophomore forward from the University of Virginia improved immensely in his second collegiate season as the go-to option for the Cavaliers.
Hunter’s game is not very flashy, but he’s a lockdown defender with a high basketball IQ. After his National Championship performance where he held Texas Tech University star Jarret Culliver to 5-for-22 shooting from the floor and hit the clutch three to send the game into overtime, I expect Hunter’s draft stock to skyrocket in the coming months.
Hunter’s defensive versatility would be much needed for a Wizards team that allowed the second most points per game at 116.9 ppg and allowed the fourth highest three-point percentage to opposing teams in the league at 37%.
Hunter still has issues creating his own shot, but, with Bradley Beal’s expanding playmaking ability and John Wall hopefully returning soon from injury there would be no immediate pressure for Hunter to be a go-to scorer right away. This would allow Hunter to play off the ball look for his shot and play lockdown defense on the other end while his game further develops.
3. Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, PG, Freshman)
While you may be surprised to see the Wizards target a Point Guard, it is not so far fetched with John Wall’s status for next season still up in the air and Tomas Satoransky set to be a restricted free agent this summer. The Wizards might have no choice but to be in the market for a new starting point guard.
Darius Garland only played four games at Vanderbilt University before tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the season. However, in those four games, he flashed star potential averaging 16.2 PPG while shooting over 50% from the field and over 45% from three. Given his quickness and obvious skill level, he would fit in perfectly alongside backcourt mate Bradley Beal.
If the Wizards resign Tomas Satoransky, Garland would serve as a depth guard with significant long term upside, but things could get complicated however once Wall returns to the lineup.
If the Wizards do select Garland it would show the writing on the wall (no pun intended) that the Wizards are starting to think about the post-John Wall future. A step I am not sure the franchise is ready to make quite yet.