The Blue Route Mock Draft: Pick #9 – Washington Wizards

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
  6. Phoenix Suns – Coby White
  7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish
  8. Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya

The Selection:

Washington is slotted in the 9th spot in this year’s NBA draft, and with the firing of longtime General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards might finally be looking into going towards a full rebuild. They are already set in the backcourt with Bradley Beal as the team’s leader this upcoming season due to John Wall’s achilles tear, which is also right before his supermax contract. This leaves Washington in an interesting spot and can afford to pick a long term prospect, and with that in mind comes our selection. With the 9th pick in the 2019 NBA, the Washington Wizards select Bol Bol from the University of Oregon.

Why Bol Bol makes sense for the Wizards:

Like I stated above, Washington is not really hurrying to compete this season under new management. Bol Bol is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft and is a risky pick, but he provides a major upside if he lives up to his potential. Many know Bol Bol as the son of former NBA player Manute Bol, one of the tallest NBA players ever at 7’7” and a dominant shot blocker to go along with that. Bol Bol stands at 7’3” but also weighs 236 lbs. Bol could learn under one of the better centers in recent memory in Dwight Howard. While he isn’t an unstoppable force like he seemed about 10 years ago, he knows what it takes to perform at that level underneath the rim on both sides of the ball.

 

 

There is a decent amount of young depth at the other positions in Washington also, with Tomas Satoransky at point guard, Troy Brown at small forward, and Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker at power forward. While there is also Thomas Bryant at center, Bol has a much higher upside. One of the major parts of his game is he is very versatile and skilled in his perimeter game, comparable somewhat to Kristaps Porzingis but not quite at that level just yet. The major downside to his game is his injury and the potential for more.

High risk, High reward

Near the start of their conference schedule, the Ducks shutdown Bol Bol for the rest of the season in early January due to a stress fracture is his left foot. His speed and mobility is a double edged sword because it leaves him very vulnerable for injuries unless he starts to put on more weight. Some teams have been scared off for this exact reason, but Washington is the right fit for this reason. They can afford to let him ease into NBA action and won’t have to rely on him to start every night. They can get him in the weight room to put on that muscle to help strengthen his lower body until he is fully ready.

His fracture is the exact same as the likes of Michael Jordan and Joel Embiid, and while that particular injury rarely happens again, it can help lead to others and itself is a long injury to recover from. But if Embiid has shown anything, if you take the long and proper road to recovery, it will pay off.

 

 

The current state of the Washington Wizards

Washington finished with a record of 32-50, good for 11th in the East. The major negative in the organization is the current salary situation. Entering the 2019/2020 NBA season, the Wizards will be right above the cap if they renounce all of their free agents. The main issue is they are paying Ian Mahinmi $15 million next year alongside John Wall’s $38 million from his first year of the supermax contract. That is $53 million spent on players who will not be playing that much this season. Alongside Bradley Beal’s reasonable $27 million, and all of their cap space is gone. This means Washington will have to rebuild through the draft for the first time in awhile.

A new sheriff in town:

 

 

In April of this year, the Wizards finally parted ways with former General Manager Ernie Grunfeld after 16 seasons with the organization. One of the major faults was Ernie tried to keep the team afloat and doing so made them worse than they should’ve been. Constantly adding band-aids to the team to help get a late seed in the playoffs and an early exit instead of rebuilding the right way and having a solidified core. Now under new management which has yet to be hired, they have the ability to finally do what they should’ve done years ago, start fresh. While they wait on John Wall’s health, they can look for young pieces to help develop for their future, and they will hopefully look to do that with Bol Bol.

Rookie Predictions:

Barring any changes, Dwight Howard will remain the starter for the foreseeable future this season in Washington. This will allow Bol to learn his game under him and slowly be introduced to more and more minutes. While he won’t be starting, Bol can be a key piece off the bench and be a hard matchup for teams to figure out due to his interior and perimeter presence, something very few bigs can cover. While at Oregon, his averages were an astounding 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game in 9 appearances. I would not expect that level of dominance to be felt immediately in the pros, but he can eventually reach that level with a few years of preparation. Bol shows many likenesses to his father, but in other parts of his game, he is much better suited. And if he passes all the tests and develops well, he can potentially be one of the most dominant bigs in the years to come.

2019 stat predictions:

8.8 points per game

7 rebounds per game

1.7 blocks per game