Roundtable: How are we feeling about the Wizards’ draft picks?

Albert: The NBA draft is over and the Wizards pick Johnny Davis as their #10 pick.

How are we feeling? Feel free to be happy, upset, or anywhere in between.

Janir Rubinstein: I think the best part about Johnny Davis’ selection is this video by Stephen A Smith:

Albert: For me, I think Johnny Davis might fit in the longer term, but the Wizards just NEED to move Deni or Corey somewhere.

As for Yannick, the second-round pick…um…at best, he’s another Sato-esque draft-and-stash, as Tommy Sheppard recently confirmed.

Marcus Atkinson: Choosing Johnny Davis makes me think more about how the team feels about Beal’s status over the long term. While they certainly see him as the best player available, I also wonder if they have considered that Davis could actually replace Beal should he decide to leave. I think there’s a lot that could be clarified about this choice by the start of the season. Overall, I like Davis’ family tree. I think he can become a quality player in the league. I was a little hopeful that the team would step up to bring in Ivey or even Daniels, but I didn’t want them to overpay either, so I think his choice was fine.

However, I have a problem with Nzosa, the second-round pick. I have nothing against draft and stash players, but Sheppard has yet to make a sensible second-round pick during his tenure as general manager (although there’s still hope for Isaiah Todd, albeit not much). I understand that 2nd round picks are often long shots, but hitting 2nd round picks sometimes makes all the difference between overpaying for veteran help to fit into your roster when You are looking for depth. If you want to build a good team, you will most likely have to meet one or more at some point.

Matt Modderno: I wrote for this very website in December that Johnny Davis is a prospect I was very excited about but he would probably go a long way before the wizards could draft him. It turns out I was wrong! His stock and my opinion of his potential went down as his shooting waned. To be fair, he was burdened with a tremendous workload, defense mechanisms designed to slow him down and struggling with injuries. If he’s more of the player we saw in the first half of the collegiate season, fans should be pretty excited.

Ultimately, Davis ended up on my board outside of the lottery. But that was with the expectation that he would be more of a winger like he was in college. If he can become a full-time lead guard like Tommy Sheppard envisions, what he brings to the table suddenly becomes a lot more valuable. At worst, he’ll be another nice rotation piece that can bring bench scoring and perimeter defense, two things that always come in handy.

As for Yannick Nzosa, this wasn’t my favorite choice. I’m a bit of an Isaiah Todd-Homer and think most people writing him off have probably never seen a Capital City Go-Go game. The point is, I’m not afraid of them taking on a long-term project. But Nzosa makes Todd look like Joel Embiid in terms of willingness to contribute. I had a Bleav in Wizards draft evaluator this weekend who enjoys watching international films, and he didn’t paint an encouraging picture of Nzosa’s chances of helping the Wizards in the semi-near future. He’s years from being years, as the saying goes.

Renzo Salao: It’s really difficult to project Johnny Davis as his usage rate was astronomically high for Wisconsin. With less pressure to perform, he was able to pick his points better on offense and significantly increase his efficiency numbers. It remains to be seen what his offensive cap will be, but I have a feeling that given his two years in college we won’t really know what he’s capable of at this end. That’s just not what he’s going to be at the next level.

But above all I’m curious to see what he can bring in defense. He could be the dominant backcourt the Wiz haven’t seen since… Deshawn Stevenson over a decade ago? Larry Hughes maybe? Gary Payton II’s cup of coffee with the Wizards? It’s been a while.

As for Nzosa, I’m actually pretty happy with the choice. Early last year there was some first-round talk around him and even a bit of lottery buzz. Then he was injured just as he was about to go to the US for off-season training, which would probably have helped a then 17-year-old immensely. He’s only 18 and currently playing in the adult male league. There are far worse ways to spend the 54th choice than taking a flyer about such an international prospect.

Kevin Broom: The narrative about Davis is that his efficiency was bad because his teammates were bad and he injured his ankle. And maybe those are good explanations — while Davis’ efficiency was poor in the raw state, he was slightly more efficient than his team’s average last season at sky-high workloads. His size, athleticism and defense all look good. His shooting doesn’t look shattered — he hit from the free-throw line 79% of the time, and the difference between his 30.6% of three last season and 40% is about a shot made every third game (11 makes over the season).

All in all, there are reasons why he was available at 10. He was inefficient. He did shoot 31% of three. He did have more turnover than assists.

Will its efficiency improve in another role with reduced usage, or will these shifts be offset by the increase in the level of competition?

As for Nzosa, he ended this season with the lowest score in YODA. He looks better when I use his numbers from last season, but still comes in on a borderline note. His rebounds and blocks aren’t impressive for a big man, and he’s fouled a lot. They’re going to hide him abroad for a few years. I’d be a bit surprised if he ever cracked an NBA rotation.

Osman Baig: i love the choice Johnny averaged 24 ppg compared to the top 25 and kicks ass defensively. Draft Twitter has taken an odd turn where a 20 year old who switched from 7/4 as a freshman to Big10 POY has limited options. If you add in the context of the team he carried to the conference title and the absurd role he had to fill, I like the choice even more. This wasn’t a stat hunt for an underdog, they absorbed a tremendous load and still pulled out Ws because that was the role that was being asked of them.

Still, overall I’m not thrilled because the franchise’s direction still stinks. It’s the one foot in, one foot out approach and it’s tiring. I was intrigued that they wanted to trade up because, for once, it would have shown conviction to be bold, something we haven’t seen since the Webber trade?

Kevin: I think the trade up rumors were mostly BS. The casters don’t seem to be “aggressive” when it comes to talent acquisition. Consider the contrast with Memphis — the Grizzlies came to draft night laden with young talent and maneuvered to come up with four promising candidates they wanted.

When I texted a friend after the draft, I’ve never seen a team act like the Wizards — a bad team that acts like they’re scared of adding talented players.

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