- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Washington Wizards drafted former Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis with the 10th overall pick Thursday in the NBA draft, adding a talented scorer who blossomed at the college level this past season. 

Davis, a 6-foot-5 wing who thrives in the mid-range, saw his scoring average increase from 7 to 19.7 points per game as a sophomore. The jump helped the 20-year-old earn the Big Ten Player of the Year award and rocket up draft boards. He is Wisconsin’s first first-round selection since 2015. 

The Wizards hosted Davis for a workout earlier this month in which the combo guard told reporters that he thought Washington was a realistic option for him

Davis joins a core headlined by veteran Bradley Beal and young prospects in Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert. 

With a critical offseason underway, many pundits wondered ahead of Thursday what direction the Wizards would take with the 10th pick. Would Washington, for instance, trade the selection in order to land a veteran point guard? Multiple reports before the draft linked them to Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon. 

After trading Spencer Dinwiddie at the deadline in February, Washington needs a new backcourt partner to pair with Bradley Beal — who will likely be a free agent next month, though is expected to remain with Washington on a five-year, $250 million deal.

But the Wizards have other weaknesses besides point guard. That’s why general manager Tommy Sheppard said earlier this week that Washington would take the best player available rather than worry about position overlap. The executive noted his team needed more “dogs” on defense after finishing 25th in defensive rating last season. 

Davis’ length could help him excel as a defender at the next level. And while he doesn’t consider himself to be a point guard, Davis grew up playing the position — meaning he could handle the ball for stretches if needed. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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