The Washington Wizards may have surprised some in the 2022 NBA Draft by selecting Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis with the 10th pick in the first round on Thursday night. It’s hard to suggest Davis was a bad pick for the franchise, especially with Bradley Beal’s future in Washington up in the air, but was the Wisconsin star really the best choice available? And does Davis’s arrival signify Beal’s departure is near?
Johnny Davis and Bradley Beal aren’t a great long-term fit
Look, it’s not that Johnny Davis is a bad selection, he appears to be a good player with a skill set that could make an immediate impact, but is he an ideal fit with their franchise player Bradley Beal? In my opinion, no.
Beal and Davis both play the same position, and while they can each slide over to point guard a bit, their best role is as the shooting guard. At 6-foot-4 for Beal, and 6-foot-5 for Davis, neither are large enough to handle small forward. They may have unique traits that separate them, with Beal being a much better shooter from distance and Davis being able to impact the game in other ways, but their positional similarities limit how many minutes they can share the floor together.
Wizards ranked dead last in three-pointers made as a team last season, and Johnny Davis isn’t going to help in that department. In two seasons at Wisconsin, Davis shot 32.5% from three, but he still managed to average 19.7 points per game.
Davis can obviously continue developing his shot, and he clearly can get buckets, but as is, having a backcourt led by Beal and Davis leaves much to be desired. This likely means Beal is the lead distributor, which is fine, he can get the job done, but it puts the Wizards in a tough spot. Beal averaged 3.4 turnovers per game, which would have ranked as the eighth-most in the NBA had he played more games.
Basically, having Beal control the ball on most possessions isn’t ideal. Maybe the Wizards are still intending to add a starting point guard this offseason, thus making this whole point moot. But adding a backup or sixth-man with the 10th pick seems odd.
I understand that it’s smart to take the best player available, no matter how they fit, and that appears to be exactly what Tommy Sheppard did on draft day. It’s not a bad decision, Davis could end up being one of the best players in the draft, but for now, it’s a bit awkward with Beal being the face of the franchise.
While Davis can help in other aspects such as his plus-rebounding ability and like Beal, a knack for picking pockets, averaging over a steal per game in college, the Wizards likely could have used the 10th pick to find a better fit for their roster, unless, Bradley Beal’s days in Washington are numbered?