- The Washington Times - Friday, June 26, 2015

After drafting the best available player, or rather going up to get him, in the first round of Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Washington Wizards were specifically looking for a big man when their second-round pick came around, according to general manager Ernie Grunfeld.

They identified Aaron White, a senior power forward from Iowa, as the player best suited to meet the team’s needs. White worked out for the Wizards on June 18, and the team liked what they saw. He was selected 49th overall by Washington.

“He can run the floor well, he’s very athletic, he’s versatile. He can make an outside shot,” Grunfeld said. “Just a solid, consistent player.”

White led the Hawkeyes in rebounding for four consecutive seasons prior to graduating and declaring for the draft. His three-point shooting, albeit in a limited sample size, jumped in efficiency from 26 percent his junior year to 36 percent his senior year.

After the success that they experienced with Paul Pierce playing power forward in last season’s playoffs, the Wizards were believed to be in the market for a power forward that could stretch the court. The Wizards believe that White has the potential to be that type of player.

“He can make some outside shots,” Grunfeld said. “And he knows how to play the game. He has a high basketball IQ. He’s a skilled player. He can pass the ball. Again, a young player, but he has experience. He’s been in college for four years now.”

How the Wizards will use White in the coming year is still up in the air, but his place in the draft and Grunfeld’s remarks, while positive in tone, suggest he still needs to prove himself if he wants to stay on the 15-man roster.

“He’s just a well-rounded player,” Grunfeld said. “He’s a good team player. He can make some outside shots, he can rebound the basketball. He passes the ball fairly well. He can get up and down the floor. And we’ll see what he does for us in the summer league.”

Interestingly, draftexpress.com tweeted that White would be stashed overseas, but there was no mention of that from the Wizards front office on draft night.

The last time the Wizards had the 49th pick in the draft, they also used it to select a power forward — Andray Blatche — in the summer of 2005.

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