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NBA Draft 2019: Three draft prospects to watch at the NCAA Tournament as Wizards fans

SB Nation logo SB Nation 3/21/2019 Albert Lee
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Cameron Reddish is one of the many likely NBA Draft prospects whom the Wizards may select this summer. © Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Cameron Reddish is one of the many likely NBA Draft prospects whom the Wizards may select this summer.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s first round begins on Thursday. Here are the players whom some notable mock drafts believe the Wizards will pick.

The Wizards have very little chance of making the NBA Playoffs and they will have little room to make any considerable moves in free agency this summer due to their salary cap issues. Their lone bet to make considerable improvements is through the NBA Draft.

If the season ended today and if there are no major changes in the NBA Draft lottery, the Wizards would in the 8 to 10 range in the draft. Washington doesn’t have a sore need at the guard positions because of Bradley Beal, but they will have to shore up their frontcourt. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many low posts who are must-haves in the range.

Since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s first round starts today, let’s look at just three players who could be in Washington’s range assuming they don’t win the NBA Draft Lottery.

Using Brian Kalbrosky’s aggregate NBA mock draft from Hoopshype, let’s look at three of the many prospects who may be a fit with Washington’s first round pick.

Cameron Reddish, Duke

  • Class - Freshman
  • Height - 6’7
  • Position - Forward
  • When will Duke play in the first round? The Blue Devils’ first round game is against North Dakota State at around 7:10 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 22. You can watch it on CBS.

Reddish has also been projected to go in the Top-5 in most lists so he may be a reach. Also, the wing position is an area where the Wizards have some depth. Bradley Beal is their starting shooting guard. Jabari Parker may return. And Troy Brown Jr. will be entering his second second season.

In his first season, Reddish is averaging 13.7 points a game but also shooting 35.4 percent from the field for the Blue Devils. Even if you take solely his two-point shooting into account, it’s under 40 percent. We’ll see how well Reddish improves his shooting in future seasons.

De’Andre Hunter, Virginia

  • Class - Sophomore
  • Height - 6’7
  • Position - Forward
  • When will UVA play in the first round? Friday, Mar. 22 at around 3:10 p.m. against

Hunter is averaging 15 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Cavaliers and is shooting 53 percent from the field. Like Reddish, he’ll be a reach for the Wizards in the Top-5 unless he drops. But he’ll be a more cost-effective option as a wing player than anyone they can pick up on the free agent market in July.

I’ll put it this way. If the Wizards can draft Hunter, then there’s no need for them to re-sign Jabari Parker. We’ll see if UVA can make a deep tournament run to avenge last year’s surprising first-round loss to UMBC.

Bruno Fernando, Maryland

  • Class - Sophomore
  • Height - 6’10
  • Position - Center
  • When will Maryland play in the first round? Maryland will play Belmont at 3:10 p.m. today on TRU TV.

The Angolan center was projected to be the 9th pick in NBADraft.net’s mock but he is generally a late first rounder in other drafts. He is averaging 13.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Maryland this season while shooting over 60 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free-throw line. Fernando has been a strong low post defender and shot blocker for the Terrapins throughout this season.

If Maryland can make a run to the Sweet-16 or better this year, perhaps the rest of the mock drafts will project Fernando in the Top-10 as well. Picking up Fernando may conflict with Thomas Bryant’s position on the team, but Fernando’s addition could help the Wizards’ low post defense and perhaps a few ticket sales from the Terrapin faithful as well.

Reddish, Hunter and Fernando are just three of the many players whom the Wizards and other NBA teams may be considering to add to their rosters this summer. And we will touch on more players in the weeks ahead. Who are you rooting for in the Big Dance? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to talk about all of Thursday’s NCAA Tournament games on this space.

For more content on the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, head over to SBNation.com’s hub here.

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