Having traded away their first-round pick as part of a package to obtain the Dallas Mavericks' Antawn Jamison, the Washington Wizards could afford to choose a young but promising player with their second-round selection.
The Wizards believe they did just that by selecting Peter John Ramos with the 32nd pick. Ramos, a 7-foot-3, 275-pound center, averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while playing professionally in Puerto Rico last season.
Ramos, 19, was born in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States at age 5. He began playing organized basketball in his early teens, relatively late for a top player.
Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld acknowledged that Ramos will require a lot of instruction.
"It was a chance for us to get a legitimate 7-footer," said Grunfeld. "He's got good size and offense, and he's shown a lot of improvement."
A scout for Criollos de Caguas, the team for which Ramos played last season, saw him in a men's big-and-tall clothing store in Brooklyn, N.Y. The team's owner flew out soon after and offered Ramos a contract.
Grunfeld has had success drafting in the second round.
When he was general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks he plucked Ronald Murray out of obscure Shaw University in North Carolina with the 42nd overall pick in the 2002 draft. The Bucks traded Murray as part of the deal to obtain Gary Payton and Desmond Mason. Since then, Murray has become one of the SuperSonics' top reserves.
Grunfeld also selected Ohio State guard Michael Redd with the 43rd pick in the 2000 draft. Redd averaged 21.7 points and five rebounds last season and earned a spot in the 2004 All-Star Game.