- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Despite prayers from D.C. fans, the Washington Wizards did not move up in Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery. 

The Wizards, who finished the season with the league’s 10th worst record, will have the 10th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23. The spot isn’t a surprise, as the team entered the lottery with a 65.9% chance of garnering the 10th selection. 

Washington wasn’t able to luck out of the late lottery and land in the top four — something that had only a 13.9% chance of happening. 

The 10th pick signifies a good enough prospect to make the team as a rookie, maybe a starter, and hopefully a quality player. But most of the league’s stars come in the top five picks. 

There are some exceptions, though. In the last 25 years, only three stars have been drafted with the 10th pick: Paul Pierce in 1998, Joe Johnson in 2001 and Paul George in 2010. Pierce appeared in 10 All-Star games, while Johnson and George have each made seven appearances.

Other players to go No. 10 and have at least one All-Star season include Brook Lopez (drafted in 2008), Andrew Bynum (2005) and Caron Butler (2002) — the latter of whom was selected by the Miami Heat before becoming a two-time All-Star with the Wizards. Pelicans guard C.J. McCollum (2013), who just wrapped up his seventh straight season scoring 20-plus points per game, and Mikal Bridges (2018), a key part of a Suns roster that won the most games in the NBA this season, are the only players drafted No. 10 in the last decade to be regular starters.

But there have also been some busts, most notably BYU standout Jimmer Fredette (2011), Brandon Jennings (2009) and Justise Winslow (2015). 

After not having any draft picks in 2016 or 2017, the Wizards have selected in the first round of each of the past four drafts, choosing Corey Kispert (15th overall in 2021), Deni Avdija (ninth in 2020), Rui Hachimura (ninth in 2019) and Troy Brown Jr. (15th in 2018). Last season, Kispert, Avdija and Hachimura all played between 22 and 24 minutes per game as bench players who occasionally started, while Brown came off the bench for the Bulls.

The Wizards’ biggest positional deficiency is point guard, but the team is also in dire need of sharper 3-point shooters and better defenders.

With the draft about a month away, here are 10 potential targets for the Wizards at No. 10:

Johnny Davis, shooting guard, Wisconsin: The 2022 Big 10 Player of the Year is one of the most popular picks for the Wizards among mock drafters. At 6-foot-5, Davis scored 19.7 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season.

Jeremy Sochan, power forward, Baylor: Sochan’s raw talent has made him a likely late lottery pick despite scoring just 9.2 points a game as a freshman.

Dyson Daniels, guard, G-League Ignite: With the ability to play either guard spot, the 6-foot-6 guard is an intriguing choice for the Wizards after averaging 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the G-League. 

Ochai Agbaji, shooting guard, Kansas: The 22-year-old could be an option if the Wizards don’t want to wait years for a young player to develop. Agbaji shot 40.9% from behind the arc and averaged 18.8 points as a senior.

TyTy Washington, point guard, Kentucky: While he played off the ball for the Wildcats, the 6-foot-3 combo guard is considered one of the top passers in the draft. He scored 12.5 points per game as a freshman. 

AJ Griffin, small forward, Duke: The 6-foot-6 freshman is considered an NBA-ready scorer after shooting 44.7% from 3 as a freshman, but there are questions about his defense.

Bennedict Mathurin, shooting guard, Arizona: With two years of college ball under his belt, the 6-foot-6 Canadian is thought of as one of the top 3-point shooters in the class after finishing second in the Pac-12 with 83 triples. 

Jalen Duren, center, Memphis: Center isn’t a position of need for the Wizards, but at 6-foot-11, Duren’s mix of size and athleticism makes him an option for most late lottery teams. 

Tari Eason, forward, LSU: Eason’s defense could garner him significant minutes early in his NBA career. He averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 boards with the Tigers as a sophomore. 

Malaki Branham, small forward, Ohio State: With a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Branham is considered a “3-and-D” wing with his projected ability to shoot and defend opponents on the perimeter. He scored 13.7 points per game as a freshman. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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