What Comes After Wall for the Wizards?

Washington has three draft picks to play with tonight

APTOPIX SEC Mississippi St Kentucky Basketball

Picking John Wall No. 1 is the obvious choice. Been that way since the Washington Wizards won the lottery last month.

The draft day suspense is what Wall will wear -- and what the Wizards will do with their other picks.

Team president Ernie Grunfeld has almost an entire roster to rebuild, so he's spent as much time, if not more, focusing on what he'll do after choosing Kentucky point guard Wall first in tonight's NBA draft -- a forgone conclusion that the Wizards aren't allowed to reveal until the pick is announced by commissioner David Stern.

Grunfeld will have the 30th and 35th picks at his disposal. He wouldn't mind using them to move higher in the first round.

"We've probably had as many conversations as anybody in the league," Grunfeld said Wednesday. "A lot of other teams are trying to do the same thing. Everything starts to crystalize the closer you get to the draft, and we're going to keep working the phones and see what can develop."

The Wizards have only six players under contract, and they're trying to recover from the worst season in franchise history. Longtime owner Abe Pollin died in November, marquee player Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty to a felony and was suspended for bringing guns into the locker room, and the 26-56 record made Washington a lottery team for the second consecutive year.

"We're rebuilding," Grunfeld said, "and what better way to start a new era than with the No. 1 pick."

New owner Ted Leonsis has made it clear that he wants to build a team through the draft, without overspending in free agency. Wall is a promising first step, but much more will be needed to turn the Wizards into regular contenders again. That's why the team worked out some 30 potential lower picks in recent weeks _ compared to the one workout for Wall.

In fact, Grunfeld didn't even hold a workout for Ohio State's Evan Turner, the other possible No. 1 pick. The Wizards sound as if they're sold on Wall, who spent only one season with the Wildcats.

"His name has come up very often," Grunfeld said. "And we know that he's a very impressive young man, comes from a great program. Outstanding leader. Really understands the game. He's one of those rare players that make people around him better."

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