The Washington Wizards’ successful push to the playoffs this past season took them out of a lottery pick and into the 15th overall selection in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft.
It is easy to identify the Wizards’ primary needs including better defense and another scoring option from the wing. It is not as easy to predict who will be available when the Wizards pick in the first round and if they decide to keep the selection.
However, if the Wizards decide to go ahead and use their first round pick, the 15th overall, they have some options:
Trey Murphy III — 6 ft. 9 in, 206 lb., SG/SF Virginia. Murphy transferred to Virginia after two seasons at Rice and showed potential. He shot 50.3% from the field, 43.3% from three-point range. On defense Murphy uses his length well, is active in the passing lanes creating deflections, and is a solid on-ball defender.
Davion Mitchell — 6 ft. 1 in., 202 lb, PG Baylor. Mitchell transferred to Baylor after underwhelming in his lone season at Auburn. He improved his shooting drastically over his college career at Auburn and Baylor, going from 28.8% three-point shooting his freshman season to 44.7% in his senior season. A crafty playmaker, Mitchell has an explosive first-step and the ability to change directions.
Keon Johnson — 6 ft. 5 in., 185 lb., SG Tennessee. Johnson has quick acceleration and that served him well on defense as he led the Volunteers with 11 charges drawn. Baseball was Johnson’s favorite sport growing up, but since focusing on basketball full-time in high school, he has improved rapidly. Johnson’s mother Conswella Sparrow Johnson was a two-time Class AAA Tennessee Miss Basketball in high school before playing at Auburn.
Isaiah Jackson — 6 ft. 10 in., 205 lb., PF Kentucky. Jackson is intriguing with his defensive ability. Ranked eighth nationally (according to KenPom), he earned a block percentage of 12.7 in his one year at Kentucky.
James Bouknight — 6 ft. 5 in., 190 lb., SG Connecticut. Bouknight is an explosive athlete and can pressure the paint and play above the rim. With his deceptive moves and skillful ball handling, Bouknight gets to the free-throw line and uses his athletic skills on defense.
Moses Moody — 6 ft. 6 in., 205 lb., SG Arkansas. Moody helped guide the Razorbacks to their first Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1995. In addition to his scoring ability, Moody is a versatile on-ball defender who invites contact from larger players and has the agility to contain smaller, quicker and more perimeter scorers
Franz Wagner — 6 ft. 9 in., 220 lb., SF Michigan. He is the brother of former Wizards center MoWagner. In addition to being a spot-up three-point shooter, Wagner is an unselfish playmaker. Defensively, Wagner is a reliable on-ball defender who is adept at picking up defensive schemes.
Corey Kispert — 6 ft. 7 in., 220 lb., SF Gonzaga. Kispert played four years at Gonzaga. He is an elite scorer who can catch and shoot or create his own shot off the dribble.
Usman Garuba — 6 ft. 8 in., 229 lb., PF Spain. Garuba is an enticing pick because of his defensive prowess collecting blocked shots, steals, and deflections. Garuba has size to handle bigger players and the agility to match up against quicker wings and even guards.
Josh Giddey — 6 ft. 8 in., 205 lb., SF Australia. Giddey has an important NBA ability of understanding angles. In addition to his passing and scoring ability, Giddey is active on the boards and is a solid defender.
Alperen Sengun — 6 ft. 10 in., 240 lb., C Turkey. At the age of 18, Sengun was the MVP of the Turkish League. Sengun has tremendous footwork and with a variety of fakes and spins, which are successful in the low post. To go with his versatility on offense, Sengun is strong on the boards and active on defense.
Ziaire Williams — 6 ft. 8 in., 185 lb., SG Stanford. Williams only played one year at Stanford, but impressed with his ball handling skills and ability to create shots off the dribble. He looks to score first and uses his length well on defense.
Jalen Johnson — 6 ft. 9 in., 220 lb., SF Duke. Johnson has great court vision and playmaking skills. His ability to grab a rebound and look to pass would be an asset to a team like the Wizards who want to push the pace.
Kai Jones — 6 ft. 11 in., 218 lb., PF Texas. Jones might develop into a stretch forward. Along with his perimeter skills, Jones is becoming more consistent from the three-point range.
Tre Mann — 6 ft. 5 in., 190 lb., PG Florida. In two years at Florida, Mann developed into a solid playmaker with a soft touch on his floater when he attacks the basket. In addition, Mann grew two inches and gained 15 pounds after his first year.
Chris Duarte — 6 ft. 6 in., 190 lb., SG Oregon. Duarte is an elite spot-up shooter who has sound defensive skills. Instead of creating his own shot, Duarte is most effective coming off screens.
Cameron Thomas — 6 ft. 4 in., 210 lb., SG LSU. Thomas is a major scorer who led the SEC in points per game in his one season at LSU. He has the physical tools to develop as a defender.