The Washington Wizards seemed to have made the right offseason moves in years past with smart drafts and acquisitions, but injuries have beset the franchise and stalled its development. With a nucleus built around John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene, things appear to be headed in the right direction, and that was proven in the second half of last season. Wall didn't make his season debut until Jan. 12, and the Wizards were 24-25 from that date on (they were 5-28 before).
The roster still has a lot of question marks beyond those three, though, and Washington has three picks in this draft to help resolve those questions.
Washington got lucky in the NBA lottery, rising to the No.3 overall pick despite seven teams finishing with worse records in 2012-13. Washington also has two second-round picks, No. 38 and No. 54, a pick acquired from the Knicks in the long-forgotten Ronny Turiaf trade.
Point Guard - John Wall, A.J. Price (free agent), Garrett Temple (restricted free agent)
Shooting Guard - Bradley Beal, Cartier Martin (free agent), Leandro Barbosa (free agent)
Small Forward - Martell Webster (free agent), Trevor Ariza (player option), Chris Singleton
Power Forward - Nene, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely
Center - Emeka Okafor (Early Termination Option), Kevin Seraphin, Jason Collins (free agent)
The Wizards seem well set at four starting positions, with the small forward spot in flux. But as the name implies, depth is a key component to any depth chart. Depth beyond the Wizards' first rotation is an obvious concern, especially behind Wall and Beal. The Wizards proved with this lineup last season that, when healthy, it plays together very well — the team was just one game under .500 when Wall returned from injury in January — and they also proved that when injury strikes, the resulting product barely, at times, resembles a basketball team.
The Wizards' most pressing need is a player on the wing who, if he can't step into the starting five immediately, can at least come off the bench and take some of the scoring load off Wall and Beal. It's unclear if the Wizards will find Webster's price to be out of their range, which would simply leave them with Ariza. Would they be comfortable with Ariza — known much more for his defensive prowess — and/or Chris Singleton in that role if Webster departs? Also, with Okafor and Nene getting older, the future of Washington's frontcourt is uncertain.
The Wizards seem to be deciding between either Georgetown's Otto Porter (scouting report) or Anthony Bennett of UNLV (scouting report) with the No. 3 pick. Porter seems to be a safer pick, as he's widely regarded as a pick of relative certainty due to the wide array of skills he showed at Georgetown. He excels from both mid-range and the perimeter, creating catch-and-shoot opportunities with sharp cuts and action away from the ball. His athleticism has been criticized, but he should do what he did in college and use his exceptional knowledge of the game and how it operates to compensate. Another advantage to Porter is his age, as he just turned 20 earlier this month.
Bennett is regarded to have more upside than Porter, and maybe even any player in the draft. SB Nation ranked him first on its NBA Draft Big Board for that reason: His impressive freshman season at UNLV only began to show what he was capable of, partially because he was a freshman in college, and partially because the talent around him wasn't fit to pay him proper support. He's 6'8 and 240 pounds, and can hang at either forward position. His defense leaves a bit to be desired, but he clearly has the athleticism to improve if he puts in the work.