NEW YORK — — They could go with the mop-haired, trash-talking forward who left his homeland of the Czech Republic four years ago to play in a basketball-crazed nation and beamed with pride as fans serenaded him after his last game for his team.
Or they could choose the shy big man from Lithuania who remains unsure about whether he will even play in the NBA next season as his agent attempts to negotiate a buyout agreement with his current team.
They could go with the confident forward from Turkey who is good friends with John Wall. Or they could pick the long-armed forward from San Diego State. If all else fails, they could take the center from Texas who hopes to be in the analysts' booth when his playing career is over.
The Washington Wizards could go a number of ways with the sixth pick in tonight's NBA draft, but the problem is they don't know, and won't know, what they will do until five other teams make their selections.
The primary focus for the Wizards going into the draft is coming out with more size. The past few weeks have helped make the options clearer for the Wizards, as they have had the opportunity to spend time with Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic and Turkish big man Enes Kanter; and they also sat down with Lithuanian forward Jonas Valanciunas during a trip to Treviso, Italy, earlier this month. All three said they could see themselves playing alongside Wall next season, but none was more adamant about his desires to play in Washington than Kanter.
But Kanter could easily be taken third by Utah, or fourth by Cleveland, which is also believed to think highly of Valanciunas at that spot. Many scouts rate Valanciunas as the international player with the most upside in this draft, but lottery teams might have a hard time trying to justify selecting a player whose buyout agreement reportedly could keep him from playing in the NBA until 2012. If Valanciunas is still around at No.6, it could create a predicament for the Wizards, who are also very high on Vesely, according to multiple sources. Vesely scored 18 points to lead his team to the Serbian title last season.
The Wizards will look to Texas freshman Tristan Thompson or San Diego State swingman Kawhi Leonard if one of their three primary targets is off the board.