2018 NBA Mock Draft: Promises, promises

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Deandre Ayton
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Deandre Ayton /
16 of 30

142. . G/F. Texas Tech. Zhaire Smith. 15. player

Below the surface of Washington’s consistently above-average starting five, there are dozens of problems. So it’s hard to pinpoint the exact spot which the Wizards should target on draft night, but certainly Smith would be an impact player right away.

In a sense, Smith might solve more for Washington than it immediately appears. The team is already driven by two high-usage scorers in John Wall and Bradley Beal, with some solid shooting around them. Eventually, the Wizards will have to plug a hole at center when Marcin Gortat leaves, but for now they can afford another first-round shot toward the moon.

Washington needs to play small more often to maximize spacing around Wall and Beal, and neither of their starting big men provides much spacing or maintains switching skills on defense. To play small, the Wizards will need to get much more creative. It will start with playing Otto Porter at the four, but it will require a deep wing rotation to supplement Porter and Markieff Morris. Smith could become an integral part of that rotation.

And even if the Wizards play the same way, middle of the pack on either end of the floor and in pace, Smith will help. He can defend perimeter scorers when Wall or Beal is on the floor without the other, keep possessions alive on the offensive glass, and make smart plays.

Washington just doesn’t have enough players like that right now.