The path wasn’t traditional, but it seemed to work for Todd as he has become an example of how high school players with NBA aspirations can take different roads to the end destination. G League Ignite teammates Jalen Green went No. 2 to the Houston Rockets and Jonathan Kuminga went No. 7 to the Golden State Warriors.
“The Ignite team was perfect for a guy like me and the guys that chose to go this route,” Todd said. “We all bet on ourselves. We had no idea, the first couple of weeks, what was in store. We had no idea if there was going to be a season. But we were just intrigued to learn from the basketball minds that they had their own staff.
“We felt like learning from the NBA’s backyard directly would put us ahead of the guys that may have been going to college or whatever other route they chose to go.”
Todd joins No. 15 overall pick Corey Kispert as the two Wizards’ selections from an eventful Thursday. The team agreed to trade nine-time all-star and former league MVP Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick just before the draft. The Wizards also sent second-round picks in 2024 and 2028 back to Los Angeles.
That No. 22 pick was moved to the Indiana Pacers for point guard Aaron Holiday and the No. 31 pick, which turned into Todd. The 6-foot-10, 210-pounder averaged 12.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16 games with the Ignite.
“Isaiah’s skills and athleticism were impressive during the limited G League season and we were intrigued with what he could bring to our team,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “We are looking forward to working with him and continuing his development within our system.”
Todd, who has worked with former NBA players Rasheed Wallace and Michael Beasley, said the G League experience was about much more than simply playing against other pros. There were off-the-court lessons provided by the league to help players succeed as teenagers while growing into young adults with more money than they had ever had.
“We had resources there for us,” Todd said. “Pretty much anything that deals with having a professional basketball life. They taught us how to, from handling money, all the way to saying no to family members, all the way to living on our own and what to fuel our bodies [with].”
As a second-round pick, the Wizards can bring Todd along slowly with the option to send him to their G League team, the Capital City Go-Go. He says he wants to improve into a “deadly shooter” after shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range in the G League. Todd can lean on his athleticism around the basket initially as he continues to develop other areas of his game, and his length can be a problem for opponents defensively if he continues to develop on that end.
Being drafted in the second round wasn’t exactly what Todd envisioned when he was one of the top high school prospects in the country, but that has provided motivation.
“Everybody’s destiny and everybody’s process is different,” Todd said. “And I’m not one to hate on anybody else’s process. But as a competitor, I feel like I belong just as high as anybody else in this draft. And I’m using that as motivation going into the season and going into my career.”
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