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SBNation NBA Mock Draft: Pick No. 17

2007 NBA Mock Draft
Overall Pick: 17

Washington Wizards
Chosen by: Bullets Forever
DERRICK BYARS
SG/SF, Vanderbilt, Sr.


This Wizards obtained the 17th pick by trading their 22nd and 47th picks to the Nets. Mike from Bullets Forever selects Derrick Byars for the Wizards. Mike lays out his reasoning for the back-to-back picks for the Wiz.
Defense is the biggest priority for the Wizards after they allowed the third-most points per 100 possessions last season. Two tenets of a great defense are a strong defensive center and a solid wing defender. Although getting both cost the team their best interior defender in Brendan Haywood, we feel we've made a defensive upgrade with our two selections. Jason Smith is a polished post presence that produced solid numbers in college on both ends of the floor. Spencer Hawes has more hype, but Smith totally outperformed him last year, even though it was in a worse conference. The fact that he's a white center obscures his solid defensive ability, and his versatile offensive game is tailor-made for the Wizards' Princeton offense.

Byars, on the other hand, was a real coup for this team. The biggest criticism with Byars seems to be his lack of athleticism, and many feel he's just a great college player, but these are criticisms I personally don't understand. The types of college players who's success doesn't translate to the pros tend to mostly be combo guards and unskilled big men, but Byars is neither of those things. You don't win SEC Player of the Year without being a phenomenal performer, and he nearly led a mediocre Vanderbilt team all the way to the Elite 8. Not only is Byars a fantastic offensive player, but we also like him because he's an excellent defender, which is a character trait this team desperately needs. He also doesn't need the ball to be effective, and he always seems to come up big in big moments. He reminds me of Brandon Roy, who, oh by the way, won Rookie of the Year last year for an up-and-coming Trailblazers team.

Next up: Golden State Warriors