Wizards Draft Review
The Washington Wizards had the ninth pick in the NBA draft, and the most improbable of the top 10 picks. They are coming off of a season where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Battered by injuries to key players and tensions in the front office and locker rooms, the Wizards went from being the underwhelming eighth seed to being projected to having a top 10 pick. The 2019 Draft is exactly what the Wizards needed after a season with so much drama and dysfunction that it almost mirrored the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese-born player to be drafted in the lottery, with the ninth pick from Gonzaga. Washington later drafted Admiral Schofield from Tennessee with the 42nd pick. In addition to the 42nd pick (via Philadelphia), they also picked up Jonathan Simmons.
Rui Hachimura at nine is a bit of a gamble for the Wizards, as Hachimura’s improvement into a college All-American is what caught the eyes of NBA scouts. He missed the combine and did not do much to improve his stock. Hachimura is a great inside scorer with a good mid-range and a fairly decent defender. His outside game needs work, but playing alongside Bradley Beal should free him up for open threes. Let’s just see if he can knock them down and improve on defense.
Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard spoke about Rui Hachimura to NBC Sports Washington. “Obviously Rui was highly, highly regarded by us, to have him there at nine we were very excited,” said Sheppard. “To get Admiral Schofield in the second round, these two are environment changers. They are people that are going to come in and work hard every day to get better. And that’s what we want to surround everybody here with.”
Admiral Schofield from Tennessee improved in each of his four years in college averaging 7.6 ppg as a freshman, 8.2 ppg as a sophomore, 13.9 as a junior, and 16.5 in his senior year (Field Level media). He also averaged six rebounds and two assists in his senior season.
Schofield doesn’t jump out at anybody on the offensive end, but on defense he is solid. He is the type of player that will hustle after every loose ball, rebound, and can knock down a couple shots or two. He will be a great dose of energy off the bench, like how Kelly Oubre Jr was.
The Wizards made safe moves with guys that fit into the culture of the city. The Wizards organization and fanbase needed something to feel optimistic about after an abysmal 2019 season. These are two prospects that were big names on good college teams, and can possibly give this depleted Wizards team a jump in 2020.
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