There comes a point in the draft where team need gets thrown out the window; we're nestled in that zone right now. Another wing might not be the most pressing need from Washington's perspective, but the Wizards get great value at 19 in Kentucky's Devin Booker.
I was tempted to sabotage this pick in honor of frenemy-of-the-blog Andrew Sharp, but the sanctity of the mock draft weighed too heavily on my mind. Booker has slowly risen into consideration in the top 10 by many draft experts, and that might be a bit a bit strong, but he's a lottery-caliber player at the very least.
His value comes down to his signature skill -- shooting. Booker was Kentucky's designated marksman last season, shooting 41 percent from deep in his only season at UK. There's plenty of reason to believe he'll be able to duplicate that at the next level; he was efficient despite teams knowing he was often their only capable shooter, which speaks to his quick release and overall ability. His scoring efficiency extended to the free-throw line (83 percent) and on two pointers (52.7 percent), which bodes well.
His length and quickness are a bit of a concern, and they might hamper his ability to make good contests at the next level. That's reflected in his block/steal/rebound numbers, which are dreadfully low compared to the rest of his peers. He's not an explosive athlete either, which would be the closest thing he has to a "red flag" when all that is considered as one package.
Still, he possesses a strong frame and a willingness to defend that many players his age lack. He's never going to be a stopper, but he's intelligent enough that he can get by. In fact, his court sense should carry him in a few areas where he might be lacking "wow" factor; he's not going to put up bad shots or make many stupid plays. On a team where the "core" players are already identified, picking a player who can step right into a role is a major asset.
Lacking the ability to create his own offense would be a burden too great for teams picking higher in the draft, but the Wizards have no such problem with John Wall at the helm. They may have discovered an effective small-ball identity in this year's playoffs (if Randy Wittman will commit to it), and adding another young shooter to the mix would give them a variety of lineups to work with. Anything that means less minutes for Drew Gooden in 2015-16 is a good thing.
Booker has the dreaded "safe" tag that would make him a pariah around these parts, but he works for the Wiz. Not much to think about with this pick.