- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2012

Like every other team in the NBA Draft Lottery, the consolation prize for finishing out of the playoffs, the Wizards were hoping to land the No. 1 pick. With it would come the chance to draft the only consensus franchise prospect in this year’s draft, Kentucky forward Anthony Davis.

Instead, Washington settled for the third pick and will use it to continue rebuilding around two key pieces already in place - point guard John Wall and center Nene. Depth at small forward, power forward and shooting guard are on the Wizards’ wish list for the June 28 draft.

“We’re right about where we’re supposed to be, and it means we’re going to get a nice, solid player that can be with us for a long time,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. “Obviously, everybody wanted the No. 1 pick, but there’s a group of about four or five players right after that who can go anywhere from two to five, and we’re going to get a pick out of that. We want good basketball players, obviously, and players with good character.”

The evaluation process for the future NBA draftees will begin next week at a camp in Chicago. Following the camp, the Wizards will bring players to Verizon Center for interviews and workouts. In addition to the lottery pick, the Wizards have two second-round picks, Nos. 32 and 46 overall.

At No. 3, the Wizards’ most likely candidates will be Florida guard Bradley Beal, Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kansas forward and D.C. native Thomas Robinson.

Robinson, who attended Brewster Academy in New Hampshire before heading to Kansas, spent three seasons with the Jayhawks and was named Big 12 Player of the Year.

A 6-foot-10, 237-pound power forward, Robinson is a strong rebounder, finishing second in the nation with 11.8 rebounds per game, and is a tough, aggressive player. His shot needs some work, but he’s another high-energy player who should do well as a defensive stopper, something the Wizards need after giving up an average of 98.4 points last season.

Beal, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound shooting guard, is known for being a hard worker and seems to be the kind of high-character player Grunfeld seeks. Beal shoots at a 44 percent clip, and 34 percent from 3-point range, and is a strong, physical player although he’s undersized for a two-guard.

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Drummond is a better defensive player than an offensive one and finished his college career ranked 14th in the country in blocks. But he’s a weak free throw shooter, at just 29.5 percent. He’s been labeled as inconsistent, but scouts also say he’s intelligent and coachable and would learn a lot from Nene, just as Kevin Seraphic did last season.

Kidd-Gilchrist, a 6-foot-7 232-pound small forward, is praised for his toughness. Kidd-Gilchrist put up pedestrian numbers at Kentucky (11.9 points, 25.5 percent from 3-point range), but he’s the kind of relentless, player that would fit in just about anywhere. A number of mock drafts have the Wizards selecting Kidd-Gilchrist, another Kentucky player who has benefited from the professional coaching style of John Calipari.



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