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Which Way Do They Go?

At No. 18, Wizards Aren't Certain Who'll Be There or if They'll Trade

Nick Young, left, was one of three rookies drafted by Ernie Grunfeld last season, so there might not be room for another developing draft pick.
Nick Young, left, was one of three rookies drafted by Ernie Grunfeld last season, so there might not be room for another developing draft pick. (By Mitchell Layton -- Nbae Via Getty Images)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 25, 2008; Page E01

Depending on how the first round of tomorrow night's NBA draft unfolds, the Washington Wizards might select a player with the 18th overall pick, trade the pick in a package involving players already on their roster, or get out of the first round completely by dealing the selection for a future draft pick.

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When asked what his plans were for the evening, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld grinned.

"Good question," Grunfeld said yesterday during a news conference at Verizon Center. "We're trying to figure that out right now."

In a draft that is deep with talent, particularly at the center position, but short on experienced players, the Wizards have options. The team also holds the 47th overall pick.

"There's been a lot of conversations about moving up, about moving back and maybe getting out of the draft," Grunfeld said. "Some of that might be contingent on who's out there and what's available for us, so you never know what's going to happen. But there have been a lot of conversations. Probably more than in years past."

Grunfeld, his scouts and coaching staff have familiarized themselves with prospects via pre-draft camps and individual workouts, but no real consensus has emerged as to which players will be available if the Wizards keep the 18th pick.

Various mock drafts have the team taking forward Darrell Arthur of Kansas (ESPN.com), center Robin Lopez of Stanford (NBADraft.net), forward Donte Greene of Syracuse (RealGM.com), guard Mario Chalmers of Kansas (HoopsWorld.com) or forward JaVale McGee of Nevada (InsideHoops.com).

The Wizards could very well select one of those players -- Greene stopped by Verizon Center for a last-minute workout yesterday afternoon -- or the team could go in another direction should a player such as shooting guard Brandon Rush of Kansas or center Roy Hibbert of Georgetown slip to the 18th spot.

It's also possible that the Wizards will take a page from the 2006 draft, when they took 7-foot Ukrainian Oleksiy Pecherov, by selecting an international prospect and having him stay overseas for at least one more year.

Hibbert, who is the most experienced center in a draft deep at that position, declined an invitation to work out for the Wizards because his agent felt that he is a lock to go higher than 18th. Grunfeld said that would not prevent the Wizards from taking him.

"We know the kid," Grunfeld said. "He's been around here for four years and we've seen him play dozens of times so we know what kind of character he has. So for a player like that, I don't think it's as important to bring him in."

Greene, a Baltimore native who is extremely talented but was also inconsistent during his one season at Syracuse, is another intriguing candidate. The Wizards had been trying to get him in for a workout for weeks and he finally made it yesterday.


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