After the Wizards acquired Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday, the immediate concern was how the move would affect the Wizards’ plans in the upcoming NBA draft.
“It doesn’t affect the draft at all,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a conference call with reporters to announce the deal. “I don’t think we’re depending on a rookie to come in and play 40 minutes a night for us, either. That’s why you have more veterans come in and the rookies can learn from them.”
The Wizards have completed workouts for the No. 3 overall pick after auditioning Kansas junior forward Thomas Robinson, Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal, Kentucky freshman forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Connecticut freshman big man Andre Drummond and North Carolina sophomore forward Harrison Barnes.
Beal is now considered the favorite, because he fills a need for perimeter scoring and shooting, but a source with knowledge of the team’s plans didn’t rule out the possibility of still taking Kidd-Gilchrist, who would only be 20 when Ariza’s contract expires in 2014. There has been a recent undercurrent of support for Barnes, according to league sources. Drummond and Robinson would appear to be the odd men out.
“We feel good about our position in the draft,” Grunfeld said. “We’ve worked out all of the top candidates. We’re going to have meetings here now and not be disturbed by any outside influences. I think we have some very good choices and I think we’re going to get a player that’s going to be with us for quite some time.”