Tommy Sheppard has had huge swings. Will Wizards GM pick up another one on draft night?

Tommy Shepard is not afraid of gridlock.

Since taking over the Washington Wizards in 2019, the general manager’s three first-round picks have been Rui Hachimura, Danny Avdia and Corey Kispert — all of whom are more or less in the same league. in one position. The executive also re-signed Davis Bertans to a five-year, $80 million contract in exchange for Kyle Kuzma. More strikers.

So naturally, with his fourth-round pick, Shepard wouldn’t rule out signing another forward for the Wizards in Thursday’s 10th overall pick. Deadlocks usually take care of themselves, he said: the best talent always wins.

“You could call it a stalemate, but what’s the most coveted position in the NBA right now?” Sheppard said. “So why not keep looking and see if there is anything that can be improved?”

Sheppard has a point. After missing the playoffs last season, the Wizards likely won’t be able to get their best players to pass — even if that results in some overlap on the roster. There’s a bunch of versatile wings in this year’s draft who should still be at No. 10, and Washington could use that to help.

It goes without saying that while the Wizards have invested heavily in the frontcourt over the past few seasons, Shepard and his staff have yet to pick out a real difference-maker on the wing to compete with guard Bradley. Bill partner. Hachimura, Avdija and Kispert all showed potential, but none of the three looked on the cusp of stardom.

The Wizards have found their role player. But at some point, they need to look for another star.

“Where do the stars come from? You want to say, usually you have to have one of the top three picks, but I don’t know, Giannis [Antetokounmpo] I have something to tell you, [Nikola] Jokic,” Sheppard said, referring to the last two MVPs. “They’re not even from the lottery.

“Sometimes you have to be patient. … At No. 1, I think there’s got to be a talent that can help us. Will it help right away? I don’t know, but this time last year, I thought Kispert wouldn’t help us, he did.”

Sheppard said he and his staff have narrowed their roster down to five players they feel they can play and who they would be willing to take at No. 10. Over the past few weeks, Washington has hosted a variety of prospects — including Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis, the G League’s Dyson Daniels and Baylor’s Jeremy Sokan.

All three are likely lottery picks who can slot in on the wing and play multiple positions. Sochan in particular, the 6-foot-9 forward has the same positional overlap as Avdija and Hachimura, but his defensive edge will be a huge one for a team that ranked 25th in defense last year.

“Defensively, I can play with or without the ball,” said England’s Sokan, who said he likes to be “cheeky” on the pitch.

During Shepard’s three seasons, the Wizards were no higher than 8th and no lower than 12th in the Eastern Conference. Washington’s inability to jump from the middle, however, wasn’t for lack of trying.

During the executive’s tenure, Sheppard has shown a willingness to flex his muscles — whether it’s trading former MVP Russell Westbrook or trading him to the Lakers a year later. Acquiring big man Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline is also a bold move.

Sheppard’s history makes it easy to wonder how aggressive he’ll be this year. Perhaps, is it possible that the Wizards will eventually trade a battle-hardened veteran with the 10th overall pick?

The Athletic reported this week that Washington has expressed interest in the Indiana Pacers point guard and former University of Virginia. Outstanding – Malcolm Brogdon. The former rookie of the year will fill a major need as the Wizards desperately have access to a new backcourt partner next to Beal. Last year’s deal to acquire point guard Spencer Dinwiddie fell so badly that the Wizards traded the 28-year-old to a three-year deal.

However, Sheppard seems to take pride in making a move that wasn’t leaked to the press ahead of time. The Porzingis trade took many by surprise, as did the decision to trade Westbrook to the Lakers.

The latter happened on draft night last summer. Negotiations for the deal didn’t materialize until the day of the event, Sheppard said. “We’ve always been good at closing deals,” Sheppard said, “if people want to.”

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