The 2023 NBA draft officially concluded on June 22 with the Washington Wizards cementing themselves as a rebuilding team for the next several years.
The Wizards traded picks with the Pacers, moving up one spot to select Bilal Coulibaly, a versatile forward who went through a height spurt and played alongside Victor Wembenyama in France. While raw in his abilities, he possesses considerable potential for growth and has been compared to Raptors forward OG Anunoby. Coulibaly has also compared himself to Mikhail Bridges and Paul George.
Tristan Vukcevic was drafted at 42 by the Wizards. He recently won an Adriatic Basketball Association championship, and his potential to be a big man that can stretch defenses to the three-point line would be a huge boon for Washington.
With these selections alongside large amounts of long-term cap flexibility generated by trading star guard Bradley Beal, the Wizards are now planning to be one of the lower performing teams in the league with long-term upside and ability to plan for the upcoming years. The Wizards have the opportunity to fill holes in their rotation, particularly at the big man role, in free agency.
There are multiple big men who went undrafted, including Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, who would have the opportunity to get quality minutes in Washington and potentially earn long-term contracts to ensure they remain in the league for years to come. Daniel Gafford and Mike Muscala, recently acquired in a trade, are the only big men currently on the roster. Jordan Poole and Tyus Jones, both acquired during recent trades, are likely to be the starting guards.
This draft may be regarded as one of the most stacked drafts in recent memory.
Wembenyama, drafted first overall by the Spurs, may redefine the big man role in the NBA.
The Thompson Twins, Ausar and Amen, were drafted 4th and 5th overall. They are the first set of brothers taken in the first five slots in the NBA draft.
Cam Whitmore, a DMV native, was drafted at number 20 by the Houston Rockets. Whitmore has versatile guard skills that will serve the Houston Rockets well as they determine how to use the variety of young players they have at their disposal.
Gaithersburg native and DeMatha High School grad Jordan Hawkins was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 14th pick in the draft. Hawkins is the cousin of LSU star Angel Reese, who congratulated him via Twitter after he was drafted. Hawkins is expected to be a shooter with extended range.
The Wizards still have Delon Wright, Monte Morris, and the expiring contract of Kyle Kuzma as potential pieces during free agency. Rumors of Kuzma being signed to a long-term contract and traded to teams including Sacramento and Dallas have persisted through the week.
Former Washington Wizard Davis Bertans was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for moving up two draft positions in the first round. While Burton’s contract is not fully guaranteed, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the cap space and roster room to give him a spot and see if his abilities meet team needs as they prepare for a playoff push.
Source: Washington Informer