Wizards Ponder Options With Potential Third Pick in NBA Draft

Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet is a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who led the Huskies to the Final Four as a junior, but he might be gone before the third pick.
Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet is a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who led the Huskies to the Final Four as a junior, but he might be gone before the third pick. (By Matt York -- Associated Press)
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

With five days before the May 19 draft lottery that could drastically alter the Wizards' future, it's time to start speculating. We assembled a roundtable with four of our favorite Wizards sites to ask the question, "What should the Wizards do with Pick X?" Wizards Extreme joined the discussion yesterday to look at the No. 3 pick scenarios.

Wizards Extreme's take: With Blake Griffin coming off the board at No. 1, W.E. was left to wonder not only who would go at the No. 2 spot, but who would be picking there as well. First Pick: The L.A. Clippers take Blake Griffin. Second Pick: The Sacramento Kings take Hasheem Thabeet.

Before we go into the Wizards' selection at No. 3, here's our explanation for Thabeet over Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio to the Kings. Our first assumption is that Eddie Jordan is the coach of Sacramento. Based on that assumption, our decision on Thabeet over Rubio was helped by two interviews from this past season.

First, Eddie Jordan had an interview on Comcast SportsNet where he stated that he never really got the defensive-minded big man to help him, although he asked for it. While Thabeet is very much a work in progress, the old adage is you cannot teach height. The second quote came from Gilbert Arenas's interview with Ivan Carter on "Washington Post Live," where he talks about how in the Princeton offense there is no need for a "true" point guard. So if you are the Kings, why take a chance on a European point guard for a system that does not require the position?

If the Wizards pick third they should: Draft Rubio. Then trade him in the blockbuster deal of the summer:

Wizards get: Amare Stoudemire.

Suns get: Ricky Rubio, Andray Blatche, Mike James, Etan Thomas and Chris Bosh.

Raptors get: Suns' first-round pick in 2009 draft, Steve Nash.

The Wizards' Possible Reasoning: After losing out in the Blake Griffin sweepstakes, the best available option is to package the asset of the No. 3 pick and the expiring contracts of James and Thomas to get a proven NBA commodity. Adding Amare to the lineup of Gil, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison would give the Wizards one of the most potent offenses in the Eastern Conference.

While we can talk all day about needing defense, W.E. believes that this team is constructed to put up points.

Michael Lee's Take: Because I cannot fathom Griffin or Rubio slipping out of the top two, I'd have to say that Thabeet is the third-best prospect in this draft. He's a 7-foot-3 shot-blocking machine who led Connecticut to the Final Four as a junior. Problem is, he plays center and the Wizards are set at that position with Brendan Haywood and JaVale McGee, who could be a monster if he committed himself to being a shot-blocker and rebounder and stopped focusing on trying to score. But I digress.

So the Wizards will have to either look into the viability of selecting Arizona forward Jordan Hill or Arizona State guard James Harden at such a high pick -- or consider moving it (which I've already said is a risky move). There always is a chance that a player can rise up the draft boards once teams start working out players (who saw Russell Westbrook going No. 4 this time last season?) So current draft positions are not set in stone.

There is a lot of chatter here and elsewhere about the Wizards trading their top five pick to acquire an established all-star veteran like Stoudemire and/or Bosh. That is not happening. The Wizards would have to surrender the pick and at least one of their three all-stars in any package for a player of that caliber (expiring contracts are not going to cut it). And that still might not be enough.

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