Finally, the highly anticipated results of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery have come and the Washington Wizards, who came into the lottery with the sixth best odds of landing the number one overall pick, landed the ninth the pick in the upcoming draft. While obtaining a pick early in the lottery and having a chance to select odds on favorite to be the top pick Zion Williamson out of Duke, Murray State standout Ja Morant or talented lefty RJ Barrett Jr, would’ve been ideal, that doesn’t mean there won’t be impact players available late in the lottery when Washington is on the clock.
During the season, front court production defensively was a major issue for most of the season. Yes, once Trevor Ariza, Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis Jr came, around the trading deadline, they made an impact. Yet, it was too little too late as the mountain to climb to be a playoff team was too tough a task. Washington, has a team option to pick up the second year of a two year deal worth 40 million for Parker. That mean’s Parker will be on the books for 20 million next season if Washington exercises their team option. Portis is a restricted free agent and after his production late in the season, he will be a target for a number of teams. Ariza, a valuable wing for any team, is an unrestricted free agent. So is versatile forward and home grown product Jeff Green. Dwight Howard opted into the second year of his deal with Washington, however the veteran center is coming off an injury plagued season where he only played in nine games. Thomas Bryant played well, having a career year, but he wasn’t a consistent rebounder and rim protector. Reserve center Ian Mahinmi couldn’t get on the floor due to teams attacking him relentlessly off pick and roll actions, which resulted in foul trouble for Mahinmi early and often. It’s a lot of uncertainty up front for the Wizards and with a team currently over the league salary cap, relying on available exceptions and league minimum deals to build their roster, drafting someone who can produce right away up front instead of down the road is necessary.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some prospects that has the potential to do just that. We start with Oregon’s freshman big Bol Bol.
Height: 7’2 1/4
Standing Reach: 9’7 1/2
Bol Bol’s unique talent and natural gifts fits right in with what the Wizards lacked last season. A mobile, rim protecting, skilled big. Bol Bol can score from all levels, shoot it from distance, can find the open man and is a decent ball handler, which is scary considering his size. I believe he can be an immediate impact player, especially playing with dynamic guards like Brad Beal and John Wall when he comes back. They would give teams hell out of pick & roll and weak side actions. Bol Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks on 56 percent shooting from the field, 52 percent shooting from deep and 75 percent shooting from the line.
Defensively, his impact could be similar to what we saw from Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson last season. Bol closes out on shooters well, can move with guards on pick and roll coverages and hustle back to contest at the rim. With his combination of speed, quickness and length, he could be a perennial All NBA Defensive team selection year in and year out. Bottom line, his potential is limitless.
Concerns over durability and strength comes into play when it comes to Bol Bol due to him missing all but nine games last season due to a stress fracture in his left foot. For a team snake bitten by injuries to various players including all-star point guard John Wall, and the current state of the roster with so many players in limbo due to the business side of things, if Washington were to end up with Bol Bol, the team could ill afford for him to have any major setbacks for any reason.
Personally, his positives far outweigh his negatives, and I feel he could be just what the doctor ordered for Washington. The Wizards haven’t had an all-star level big since Antawn Jamison during the 07-08 season. Bol Bol could feel that void and then some.
Full breakdown of Bol Bol's game is coming in episode six of the probe.