In their various forms – which has included the Chicago Packers, Chicago Zephyrs, Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, Washington Bullets and finally Washington Wizards – the Wizards have been around for over 60 years. Though they haven’t been the most successful team in the league in that time, having been around for so long they have unsurprisingly enjoyed plenty of success on draft night. A lot of that was closer to the beginning of their franchise’s existence, but they’ve also had a couple of big names picked up over the past decade or so. With that in mind, these are the eight best draft picks in Wizards franchise history.
8. Tom Gugliotta (Pick 6, 1992)
After missing the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, the Wizards badly needed to find a good player in the 1992 draft, and in Tom Gugliotta they found just that. Unfortunately, he would play just over two seasons with the team, going on to play the bulk of a very good career at a number of franchises. In his first two seasons, however, he still had a markedly positive impact. In his first, he averaged 14.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals, being voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as a result. His next year was even better, with 17.1 points per game coming from his 35.8 minutes. He’d play just six more games for the team, but he was traded for Chris Webber, so it wasn’t all bad for the Wizards.
7. Rasheed Wallace (Pick 4, 1995)
If we’re looking at this through the lens of how much a player contributed to the Wizards, Rasheed Wallace wouldn’t even warrant a mention. But for pure ability and the quality of the pick itself given the career with the Pistons he went on to have – not withstanding the fact that he left after just a season – this was about as good a selection as the Wizards have ever made. After a solid first season which saw him selected for the NBA All-Rookie Team, Wallace was traded in a move which saw the Wizards pick up Rod Strickland and Harvey Grant. Not a bad yield for Washington, though given Wallace went on to make four All-Star teams, they probably wouldn’t have minded hanging on to him.
6. Phil Chenier (Pick 4, 1971)
Phil Chenier was drafted with the fourth pick following the Wizards’ first ever trip to the NBA Finals, which resulted in an ignominious 4-0 loss to the Bucks. The next seven years included another sweep in the Finals in 1974, but Chenier ultimately helped to shape the team into one which would, in 1978, win its first, and to this date only, NBA championship. That was in his seventh of a little over eight seasons with the team, the first six of which saw him average over 20 points per game while playing at least 70 games each season. Unfortunately, a back injury meant he played only the early stages of that championship season, and he wouldn’t return the player he once was. Nonetheless, he played an unequivocally significant role in the continued competitiveness of the team, and ultimately had his jersey retired by the Wizards.
5. Gus Johnson (Pick 10, 1963)
As soon as he hit the NBA floor, it was clear that Gus Johnson had the potential to be. a great player in the league. He averaged 17.3 points and 13.6 rebounds in his first season, and was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as a result. Over the next eight seasons he would remain a dominant force both defensively and on the glass for the team, as evidenced by the five All-Star teams to which he was selected, as well as four All-NBA Second Teams and two NBA All-Defensive First Teams. A walking double-double, he averaged big numbers in every season he spent with the then Baltimore Bullets, including 20.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in his fourth season, and 18.2 points and 17.1 rebounds in his ninth and final year with the team. The number 25 that he wore throughout the course of his illustrious career was retired by the Wizards following his retirement.
4. John Wall (Pick 1, 2010)
Having won just 45 games over the preceding two years, the Wizards won the rights to a first pick which they badly needed in 2010, and used it on the wildly athletic John Wall. Though at times criticized for his relative inefficiency and lack of shooting ability in an era in which it was becoming increasingly demanded, he was a fantastic player for close to a decade for the Wizards. The aforementioned wild athleticism was on full display throughout his first seven seasons in the nation’s capital, and helped him to make five consecutive All-Star teams between 2014 and 2018. Averaging close to 20 points and ten assists virtually every year, Wall helped to drag the Wizards back into something resembling relevance, with the backcourt he formed with Bradley Beal leading them to four playoff appearances in those five years in which Wall was an All-Star. His career with the team, of course, ended in unfortunate fashion, with a heel injury being followed by an Achilles rupture and ultimately a trade to the Rockets after not playing for a year and a half. His time there, however, was enough to see him comfortably leading the franchise for assists and steals, while he sits in fourth in total points scored for them
3. Earl Monroe (Pick 2, 1967)
As the second pick in the 1967 draft there were some lofty expectations surrounding Earl Monroe when he entered the league, and he wasted no time living up to them. In his first season, Monroe averaged 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 82 games, numbers he would back up over the course of the next three seasons while playing at least 80 games in each of them. In his second season the team won 57 games in no small part due to his presence, while they also won 50 the year before, and though that number dropped to 42 in 1970-71, they made their way to their first ever NBA Finals that season. Monroe was a big reason for that, averaging 22.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in the playoffs, though he admittedly struggled in their sweep at the hands of the Bucks in the NBA Finals. That was all she wrote as far as his career in Baltimore went as he requested to be moved on, but nonetheless his jersey hangs in the rafters at Capital One Arena.
2. Bradley Beal (Pick 3, 2012)
Two years after the Wizards’ backcourt got a huge boost in the form of John Wall, Bradley Beal joined him to form what would become one of the more lethal backcourts in the NBA. Beal was always one of the better tough-shot-makers in the league and provided a perfect foil to the more ball-dominant Wall, but when his partner in crime went down with injury and was then traded, Beal showed that he was capable of being a whole lot more than just a dangerous, predominantly off-the-ball shooter. After his assist average hovered around three with Wall at the controls, once he was out of the picture Beal showed his capability as a playmaker, averaging 4.5 assists per game in 2017-18, 5.5 the next year and 6.1 the next. All this came while his scoring averages continued to rise without losing any efficiency, culminating in a 30.5-point, 6.1-assist season in 2019-20 and then 31.3 points the next. After 11 fantastic seasons of representation for the team, he moved to the Suns in the 2023 offseason to join a freakishly talented team after failing to ever get past the Conference Semis with Washington. Those years, however, were enough to have him third in assists, second in steals and second in franchise points, behind only the man ahead of him on this list.
1. Wes Unseld (Pick 2, 1968)
There are plenty of players who make a significant impact in their first year in the league, but few have had as good a debut season as Wes Unseld. The second pick in the 1968 draft, he averaged 13.8 points and a huge 18.2 rebounds in his rookie year to not just claim the Rookie of the Year, but also the league MVP. Not a bad start to life in the big league! 13 years later he had established himself as the franchise’s greatest player yet, a title he still holds today. Over that time, he was a 5x All-Star, but most importantly won the Finals MVP in the team’s first and only championship. After a slow start to that NBA Finals series, he averaged 12.3 points, 12 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Games 4, 5, 6 and 7, helping to solidify his legacy as the franchise’s best ever player, and the greatest Wizards draft pick in history.
Source link : https://clutchpoints.com/wizards-10-best-draft-picks-in-franchise-history-ranked
Author : James Salmon
Publish date : 2023-09-11 02:47:03
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