In this year’s NBA draft, the Washington Wizards selected two prospects in the first round. The question is, were these picks the best decisions for the team? With the Wizard’s first round 9th overall pick, they selected Rui Hachimura from Gonzaga as their first pick. This pick was confusing seeing how the Wizards are in need of a shooter and passed up probably one of the most developed three-point shooters in the draft, Cam Reddish. Reddish immediately was picked up by the Atlanta Hawks with the 10th overall pick in the draft. The confusion continued because Hachimura is a talented power forward, but he isn’t a consistent shooter. However, he is very explosive with his athleticism. To go along with his athletic capabilities, Hachimura has plenty of potential on the defensive side of things at 6-8- and a 230-pound frame that compliments well with his 7’1.5 wingspan.
Nonetheless, as the first Japanese player to get selected in the first round of the NBA draft did not go undeserved. He broke through on the scene very early in his teens learning the game late but vastly solidifying himself as one of the best in Japanese basketball history. The Japan native averaged 22.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. Fast forward 3 years later, Hachimura shined at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship averaging 20.6 points and 11 rebounds per game. Continuing to impress the public, building on his momentum as a sophomore at Gonzaga, he averaged 11.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Now, this is an undeniable drop of statistics and skills being displayed, but understandably as Division I basketball is more competitive than overseas play.
Digressing from Washington’s first pick they later continued the trend of athletic forwards picking up Admiral Schofield in the second round with the 42nd pick. This small forward is quite undersized however, at 6-5.25 in shoes, he will more than likely get moved down to the shooting guard due to his size. With a 6’9.75 wingspan and a 241-pound frame, it allows him to play a little bigger than what he actually is. For Tennessee, he played a significant role spacing out the floor as a shooter, but later in his senior year displayed the ability to do a little bit of everything.
As a senior, he developed the ability to exploit mismatches, fill lanes in transition, and showed growth as a player with his passing. On defense, he is very scrappy and brings great intensity and effort. Schofield shows great ability to move his feet well on the perimeter, granted he gives up some size on the inside and the big men. With this disadvantage, he manages to match the gap in height with a competitive streak only giving up 0.66 points per game per one-on-one possession.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new additions integrate with the Wizards and their scheme.