How the Wizards' Young Pieces Give Them Options Heading Into the NBA Draft

Young pieces give Wizards options as NBA Draft approaches originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

These days John Wall looks explosive. 

Bradley Beal has taken his game to Superstar levels. Just Google his name and see how many NBA team fanbases want his services. 

So now what for the Washington Wizards as they await a return date to start the 2020-2021 regular season? 

Several times during recent press conferences when asked about this upcoming NBA Draft on Nov. 18, general manager Tommy Sheppard calls this class the most scrutinized in recent history.  

Why? Scouts and front offices since the Covid-19 shutdown on March 11 have spent countless hours combing over film, interviewing prospects and scouring measurables while debating who fits best on the team. 

For the first time in recent draft history, the Wizards are sitting in a position of power with improved young players on the roster who could be used as trade capital to either move up in November’s draft or even added pieces in a sign-and-trade to acquire better veteran players to compliment Wall and Beal. 

Here’s a look at which players could be used as valued trade pieces. 

Thomas Bryant: 

Back in July of 2018, Bryant was claimed off waivers. And in a short period of time he has improved the most of any young player on the Wizards roster. 

One year later, he signed a 3-year, $25 million extension. 

Bryant entered the NBA Bubble needing to show he could be a consistent player. After eight games in Orlando, he did just that. In fact, Bryant had a three-game stretch where he played the best among centers named Miles Turner, Deandre Ayton and, yes, Joel Embiid. 

Only 23 years old, Bryant put the necessary work into his game to make himself a valued talent whether he remains a core piece in D.C. or a valued trade option elsewhere. 

Troy Brown Jr.: 

Whether you are in the camp of Troy Brown Jr. being a pure backup point guard or a potential three-and-D starter, he has displayed the ability to adapt. From up-and-down call ups during his rookie year with the G League’s Go-Go, to earning starters minutes in Washington a year later, Brown Jr. improved in nearly every statistical category from his rookie to second year. 

Like Bryant, just 21, Brown Jr. gives the Wizards real options. 

Rui Hachimura: 

While I don’t think Rui will be a moveable piece this off-season. You can add his name to the young Wizards who showed improvement during a challenging rookie season. But give the coaching staff credit for helping to develop Hachimura’s game.  

During the bubble games in Orlando, I wondered aloud if Hachimura could play small forward down the road. Both Bradley Beal and Washington coach Scott Brooks believe that is possible. In fact, Brooks after the final game in Orlando said he liked what he saw on the defensive end from Hachimura guarding small forwards. 

The Wizards won 25 games. They have Wall returning from his two-year absence. For now, they have Beal at the height of his powers, a legitimate All-NBA candidate. But there is work to be done and a long-term view of this roster shows all options are on the table for Sheppard as the draft approaches and he tries to rebuild the Wizards into a contender.  

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