It’s an exciting week for Monumental Sports & Entertainment…the NHL Draft is coming up on Sunday and the NBA Draft takes place tonight.
Our basketball operations staff has thoroughly scouted the players eligible for tonight’s draft, charting their progress in the amateur and international ranks, watching and meeting with them at various combines and conducting workouts and interviews with more than 50 prospects during the last month at Verizon Center.
But even with that much work and preparation, a little luck never hurts. Despite having less than a 5% chance to move up in the lottery, we were able to land the third overall pick (we were originally slotted eighth). In fact, only one other team has moved up from the eighth spot since the lottery expanded to 14 teams in 2004 (the Cavs jumped to No. 1 in 2008 and took Kyrie Irving).
That good fortune should bode well for tonight and into the future. Adding the first-round pick to our back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal will give us a trio of young, talented players (all selected within the first three picks of their respective drafts) who can serve as our core for the long term.
In the short term, the pick will also be able to immediately complement our current roster of players, the majority of which has been built through the draft. Of the nine players we have under contract for next season, we drafted six (Beal, Booker, Seraphin, Singleton, Vesely and Wall) and used players we had previously drafted to trade for another (Nene). That combination of players, along with key veteran acquisitions such as Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, proved to be quite a formidable group last season when we had everyone at full strength. Throwing another top 3 pick into that mix only gives us more reason to be optimistic as we head into next season.
There is still more work to be done this summer as we strive towards continuity, healthy bodies and building on the progress we saw with this group last year. The free agency period begins July 1, giving us opportunities to add or re-sign players who we feel are good fits to help us reach our goal of making the playoffs. The team will head to Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League beginning July 12, and there will no doubt be plenty of other activity between then and the start of training camp in late September. But tonight will give us the first chance to add to a team that we feel is in a very good position to take significant steps toward getting back to where we belong.