The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick in a draft that is deeper at guard than any other position. There is a decent likelihood they are on the board and the best player available overlaps with one of their best and highest-paid players.
We have assembled some of our Wizards analysts to answer a series of debate questions involving the upcoming draft. The latest asks the question:
Can the Wizards justify taking a point guard at No. 9 with John Wall on the roster?
Chris Miller: With the overall 9th pick, I don’t see the Wizards taking a point guard. It doesn’t make sense with other needs on the roster, like a big man that can protect the rim, or an athletic wing who can defend. Plus, Wall will get the majority of the minutes at that position. Also veteran Ish Smith last season was an upgrade at the back-up spot avg. 10.9 ppg. 4.9 ast. 1.4 to. Drafting a point guard in the second round as a developmental piece would be the better option in the draft for Washington.
Chase Hughes: Yes, and the reason why is simple math. Wall is 30 now and many of the point guards who could fit the bill at No. 9 are only 19 years old. Four years from now, Wall will be 34 and the first round pick could be only 23 and finishing up his rookie contract. The timeline would work fairly perfectly if they wanted to find his long-term replacement now. By the time Wall's prime is wrapping up, this player will just be entering his. Now, they don't necessarily need to be thinking in those terms quite yet, but they do need to apply a 'best player available' approach given all the question marks on their roster. If they pick a guy like Devin Vassell just because he fills a need, for example, and pass on someone like Killian Hayes who ends up becoming a star, that could be a franchise-altering miss given the uncertainty with Wall following his injury.
Tyler Byrum: Yes, absolutely. This is a draft class that is teeming with point guards, ranging from franchise players to long-term projects. In NBC Sports Washington's mock draft, there are 10 players who played primarily as a point guard last year going in the first round. To put that into perspective, in 2019 there were only five PGs taken in the first 50 picks, in 2018 nine total PGs were taken in both rounds. Getting a talented, NBA-caliber facilitator is difficult to find - there won't be another draft like this anytime soon. Amid the Wall conversation, no one can say with certainty he will be playing a full season three years from now. So, if the Wizards find a player they like and are comfortable handing the reigns over to whenever it's time to move forward from Wall, take him at No. 9. Don't just draft a guy to get a PG, but if they fall in love with one of the prospects it's absolutely justifiable.
Quinton Mayo: Could they justify it? Sure. However, if you're Washington you have to pick a lane and stick to it. What's most important right now for the success of your organization? Present and future? If the goal is to win now, and quickly (see: Ted Leonsis says 'why can't this [rebuild] be quick') then who you select at nine (or wherever they draft) needs to be a player capable of helping the team compete right away. If you don't believe you can make the necessary moves via trades and free agency, paired with competent coaching this season, to roll out a solidified competitive team that will satisfy Wall (but most importantly Bradley Beal who's the most likely candidate to request a trade if things don't start off well this year), then select the point guard of the future at No. 9. Just be mindful that a decision to do so is extremely telling of what the front office truly believes this 2020-21 team is capable of accomplishing come Dec. 22, or whenever the NBA plans to start the season.
Voting results: Yes 2, maybe 1, no 1
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