Wizards Draft Preview: Who to take at #3

June 28, 2012 | Ryan Kerr

NBA Draft Day 2012 is upon us. Talented, yet inexperienced players lead the list of those who will likely be taken in the top half of tonight’s draft. Who will the Washington Wizards select with the 3rd pick? Let’s break down their roster and the players available at #3 to find out who fits best.

The Washington Wizards are dead set on surrounding PG JohnWall with more perimeter talent.Having acquired Nene in the JaVale McGee trade and Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for the expiring contract of Rashard Lewis — Washington has a veteran, defensive minded front line that will hopefully create more opportunities for John Wall & Co.  Who that company may be is the better question.  Second year guard Jordan Crawford showed flashes, but needs to find more consistency with his 3pt. shot and show greater defensive tenacity if he wants to be the full time starer. Aside from Wall and Crawford, there are no major perimeter scoring threats on this Wizards roster.  Expect this to be addressed in Round 1.

What about the rest of the roster? They have NBA quality starters in Nene and Okafor with solid depth in second year PF Chris Singleton and the surprising Kevin Seraphin – who finally showed flashes of developing at the end of 2011.  Ariza brings veteran experience and defensive leadership to the small forward position, giving second year forward Jan Vesely time to develop at his own pace (remember it took Dirk Nowitzki three years before he established himself as a consistent player).  I’m not even going to talk about SF/PW Andray Blatche, the main clubhouse cancer and holdover from the old regime.  The sooner Blatche is amnestied the better. The Wizards lack playmakers and should focus on drafting a player who can not only put theball in the net from the outside, but can create off the dribble and play solid defense.  If it sounds like its asking a lot, it is.

Assuming that Kentucky PF Anthony Davis is the #1 pick in tonight’s draft, here are the top prospects expected to be available for the Wizards at #3.

Michael Kidd-Gilcrist, SF, Kentucky: Smooth, athletic wing player does everything to help his team win.  Can get to the basket, plays solid on-ball defense and is a leader on the court.  Would combine with Wall to make one of the more athletic fast break combo’s in the league, however lacks the 3pt. shot to spread the floor.  Top tier prospect

Bradley Beal, SG, Florida: Long, athletic shooting guard would help Wall spread the floor.  Some compare his shot to Ray Allen’s – though I’m not going to put him there just yet.  Has the ability to create his own shot and is long enough to defend the biggest of 2-guards.   A bit raw but has an extremely high ceiling. Top prospect

Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina: Barnes averaged over 17ppg for the Tar Heels this pasty ear while improving his 3pt. shot and play making ability.   Highly touted out of high school, some have wondered why Barnes didn’t dominate at UNC.  My guess – he’s more of a team player than coaches give him credit, letting his All-American teammates at UNC get their shots as well.  Less high of a ceiling than Kidd-Gilcrest or Beal, Barnes has a more polished game and is NBA ready.  Top prospect.

Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas: Extremely athletic big man, Robinson is NBA ready now.  He scores in the post, rebounds, and plays high quality defense.  There’s no reason Robinson won’t be an All-Star within in three years.  Top prospect.

Wildcard: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke: The son of NBA coach Doc Rivers, Austin has the moxy to be a superstar in the NBA. Early comparison are to Kobe Bryant , though I don’t believe he posses Kobe type athleticism.  Needs to work on his defense and strength, but with the right coach and system, should thrive in today’s NBA.

Who should the Wizards take?

Harrison Barnes.  He gives John Wall an instant #1 option on the wing, has the ability to play shooting guard if necessary and gives Jordan Crawford one more year to develop.

Who will the Wizards take?

Beal.  He’s got more upside than Barnes and could develop into one of the most athletic two guards in the league.

Hard to argue with either pick, but if I were GM, Barnes would be my choice.  But that’s what is great about the NBA Draft, you just don’t know.

This article was written by Ryan Kerr, contestant in the ‘So you want to be a sports journalist competition’.