What did the Wizards get so wrong about Johnny Davis?

The Wizards took Johnny Davis with the No. 10 pick in the 2022 Draft and, so far, the pairing isn’t working out for anyone.

The 2023 season hasn’t been kind to Wizards rookie Johnny Davis. The No. 10 overall pick has scored a total of 11 points over 50 minutes of NBA action, showing zero impact at the NBA level.

Going into the 2022 offseason, Wizards GM Tommy Shepherd made it clear their main priority was to upgrade at the point guard position. There were several rumors afloat, with Washington reportedly checking in on big-name point guards Dejounte Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

However, nothing came of these rumors, and the Wizards selected Johnny Davis with the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. Six days later, the Wizards moved Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to the Nuggets for guards Will Barton and Monte Morris. Confusion arose, as it was now clear that Davis was joining a deep, experienced group of shooting guards. The group featured Will Barton, Corey Kispert, and franchise player Bradley Beal. With Davis now competing among these veterans for meaningful playing time, fans questioned if Davis would ever receive important minutes.

To no surprise, Davis received around five minutes per game to start the season, with most playing time coming in garbage minutes. The lack of playing time has clearly killed his confidence in him. Davis is passing up wide-open shots, something he never did at Wisconsin.

Davis was a prolific scorer at Wisconsin, averaging 19.7 points per game. However, he failed to contribute in other aspects of the game. He averaged 2.1 assists per game, and never showed elite defensive ability.

With scoring and shot-making being the sole facet Davis brought to the table, it’s clear he’s a player that needs the ball to be effective. This makes Davis an inherently bad fit for Washington, with Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal being quite similar (and astronomically better) versions of Davis.

Davis also has lackluster 3-point shooting numbers, something which is almost unheard of for a shooting guard selected in the top 10. Davis shot 30 percent from 3 his senior year, making his game even more questionable for NBA success. From what we’ve gathered, Davis is a shooting guard who needs the ball to be effective, struggles to shoot from 3, and is unproven defensively. What made the Wizards think this pick would pan out, or rather, what did they project Davis to be?

What are the Wizards doing to help Johnny Davis succeed?

While it’s valid to say Davis has been shorted when it comes to NBA minutes, he hasn’t shown much, if anything, that he deserves to earn meaningful playing time in this league. Davis’ struggles have been prevalent from day one when he went 1-of-9 in his first Summer League game. Instead of dominating in summer league like most highly-touted rookies do, Davis shot an embarrassing 29.6 percent from the field, posting 8.3 points per game. Davis was incredibly sloppy, logging 2.7 turnovers per game in the 24.8 minutes per game he averaged.

While his season in the league hasn’t been great, Davis also hasn’t received much help in his development. In total, Davis has played in just six G League games, where he has experienced similar struggles. Regardless, Davis should have been demoted earlier if the Wizards weren’t planning on giving him meaningful minutes at the NBA level, at least letting him play through challenges somewhere instead of sitting and watching.

Johnny Davis is another glaring example of poor talent identification and development within the Wizards organization. This hard swing and miss on this pick leaves Wizards fans wondering “what could have been” once again. Could the Wizards have packaged the No. 10 pick and more assets for a big-time guard like Dejounte Murray or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? Rookies like AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren, and Jalen Williams who were clearly better fits than Davis are what really make this whiff sting so much.

Maybe Johnny Davis has a long and productive NBA career in front of him. But he’s off to a rough start and the Wizards don’t appear to have the scaffolding, vision and or developmental apparatus around him to change his current trajectory.

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