With Michael Winger and Will Dawkins installed as their new front office architects, the Wizards made a lot of moves this offseason. Like, a lot of them.
And if you were following along the way, you may have noticed a theme that they acquired a bevy of draft picks. Because of that, it seems worthwhile to put them all in one place and take a closer look now that the dust is settled.
1st round picks:
2024 top-12 protected - if the Wizards end up with a top-12 pick in 2024, they keep it. If not, the pick goes to the Knicks via the 2020 trade that sent John Wall to the Rockets and brought Russell Westbrook to the Wizards... the protections drop to top-10 in 2025, top-8 in 2026 and if none of those convey the deal is completed with two second-round picks (2026 and 2027)
2025 top-10 protected (may transfer to Knicks)
2026 top-8 protected (may transfer to Knicks)
2030 top-20 protected from Warriors (would become 2030 second-round pick if protections hold)
2nd round picks:
2024 from Suns
2025 (less favorable of Wizards and Warriors)
2025 from Suns
2026 (if first-round pick is not conveyed to Knicks by 2026)
2026 from Suns
2026 from Bulls
2027 (if first-round pick is not conveyed to Knicks by 2026)
2027 from Bulls
2027 (more favorable of Mavs and Nets)
2027 from Suns
2027 from Warriors
2028 (less favorable of Wizards and Lakers)
2029 from Lakers
2030 from Suns
2030 from Warriors (if first-round pick is not conveyed by Warriors)
2024 first-round pick with Suns
2026 first-round pick with Suns
2028 first-round pick with Suns
2030 first-round pick with Suns
The natural takeaway for most is probably 'Whew, that's a lot of second-round picks.' Indeed, they have multiple second-round selections in 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2030. That includes as many as three in 2026 and 2030 and the potential for five in 2027. This team has more seconds than me on Thanksgiving.
Now, there are a few different reasons why those could be valuable. For one, if the Wizards' new front office can demonstrate an ability to find diamonds in the rough, then they will have many more chances to do so. It is not easy, but possible to find rotation players, starters and even stars in the second round.
Those picks can also be used in trades, as the Wizards' new leadership group has already shown. On draft night they moved up from the eighth pick in the first round to seventh by sending the Pacers two second-round picks. Having second-round picks to part with helped them get Bilal Coulibaly.
There is another, perhaps a lesser-known advantage to having second-round picks that were introduced by the league's new collective bargaining agreement. Teams now have more optionality in signing second-rounders to longer deals thanks to a new exception that permits going over the salary cap rather than using cap space or part of the mid-level exception as was the case in years past.
Long story short, it is now easier to sign players drafted in the second round to three- or four-year deals. The final years of those contracts are also team options. That doesn't mean the Wizards will be handing those types of contracts out all the time, but there is the potential for more security for both teams and the players selected in the second round than there was before.
The pick swaps with Phoenix could mean a lot or a little, depending on the trajectory of both teams. Washington will have the option of choosing the better first-round pick between theirs and the Suns'. If the Wizards are better than Phoenix in any of those years, it could come in handy.
The Ringer did a thorough breakdown of pick swaps and their relative value which is worth reading. The upshot is that in rare cases they can be extremely consequential. The best example would probably be in 2017 when the Celtics swapped picks with the Nets, who landed No. 1 overall. Boston then traded back to select Jayson Tatum.
An ideal path for the Wizards, of course, would have them becoming a contender somewhere along the way. In that scenario, having a bunch of draft picks would help them in trades, perhaps for a final piece to put them over the top. Or, it could help keep their salary cap more manageable when their top players command larger contracts.
The truth is we don't know what the Wizards will do with all these draft picks or how valuable they will ultimately be. Winger and Dawkins are just getting started in what will be a years-long plan.
What we know is that they have a lot more draft picks than they did before this offseason began and that should help them as they build moving forward.