- Here’s a list of the best Washington Wizards draft picks in franchise history.
- Earl Monroe leads the list of players Washington selected through the draft.
- Other notable players include Wes Unseld and John Wall.
The Washington Wizards joined the league in 1963 as the Baltimore Bullets, and the franchise made four trips to the NBA Finals, where they won one title in 1978. Washington avoided the list of the 11 NBA teams that have never won a championship, and part of that success was due to drafting players that greatly boosted their NBA championship odds.
A few notable players that the Wizards were able to draft were Gus Johnson, Walt Bellamy, Juwan Howard, Jeff Malone, Manute Bol, and Bradley Beal. However, three Washington draft picks stood out, making them the best picks in team history. Find out the top-three players below.
In 1967, the Baltimore Bullets selected Earl Monroe as their second-overall pick in the draft in the hopes of consistently contending in the league and eventually winning a championship. The 6-foot-3 guard out of Winston-Salem State instantly led the team in scoring in his first season with averages of 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Because of these remarkable numbers, Monroe captured the Rookie of the Year honors in 1968.
Good work! Bing, Elvin Hayes and Earl Monroe all went into the Hall of Fame in 1990! We'll pick a random winner. pic.twitter.com/KazUHZyIC7
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 18, 2016
“Earl the Pearl” continued and maintained his stellar play in the next four seasons, as he helped the team qualify for four straight playoffs, including an NBA Finals appearance in 1971. Unfortunately, they were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks. Before his infamous trade request in 1971, Monroe racked up a career average of 23.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 328 games across four-and-a-half seasons with the Bullets.
In 1968, the Bullets were again awarded the second-overall pick in the draft and used it to select Wes Unseld. Since the team already had a scoring machine in Monroe, the Louisville standout focused on crashing the boards and led the team in rebounding. Unseld’s double-double output of 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds with 2.6 assists in his first year was enough to win him the Rookie of the Year award and the league MVP award in 1969.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 24, 2021
But unlike Monroe, who requested a trade from the team, the 6-foot-7 center stayed with the Bullets and played all 13 seasons in the NBA with them. This loyalty was rewarded as they won a championship in 1978, where he also won NBA Finals MVP. Apart from leading the franchise to the promised land, Unseld also represented them in five NBA All-Star Games, and he finished his career with averages of 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
John Wall was one of Washington’s few first-overall picks in the NBA Draft, and he immediately became a key member of the franchise when they selected him in 2010. The Kentucky product quickly became the Wizard’s leading playmaker, producing a rookie average of 16.4 points, 8.3 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. Although Wall couldn’t secure the Rookie of the Year award in 2011, he was named to the All-Rookie 1st Team.
John Wall Wizards highlights are a thing of beauty 🤩✨ pic.twitter.com/FWzd8NgxNd
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 1, 2021
The 6-foot-4 point guard kept up his fine play, and because of his consistency, he was named to five straight NBA All-Star Games from 2014 to 2018. His explosiveness was his primary weapon when scoring and setting up his teammates. Before “Optimus Dime” suffered multiple injuries that derailed his career, he accumulated 19.0 points, 9.2 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in 573 games for the Wizards across nine seasons.
Basketball Odds at BetMGM
BetMGM is the premier online sportsbook for updated basketball odds.
Available for thousands of college basketball, NBA, and international games each year, basketball betting allows you to get closer to the action and take your entertainment to the next level.
Visit the sportsbook to build an NBA parlay, browse college basketball moneylines, and/or use a sports betting promotion.
Sign in to your account today — or, if you don’t have an account, sign up today with a sportsbook welcome offer — to start betting. And always check your new account for updated sportsbook promos and bonuses.