Just because the Wizards traded for a more experienced backup point guard in Tim Frazier does not mean Tomas Satoransky will have to take a back seat as the third option. In addition to opportunities at point guard, much of Satoransky's success with the Wizards both in the short-term and the long-term could be predicated on his development at other positions.
Head coach Scott Brooks knows Satoransky, 25, is more comfortable at point guard and that he was asked to do some things he hadn't done before as a rookie in the 2016-17 season, challenges that he handled with varied success. But Brooks wants Satoransky, who averaged 12.6 minutes in 57 games as a rookie, to expect more of that in the future.
"Regardless of how you feel as a player that 'I need to play this position,' I think those days are done," Brooks said. "I know he likes that he's been a point guard all his life, but the way we play and the way the NBA is, you need playmakers on the court. Sometimes we all, even myself, we get caught up in his he a one or is he a two? No, they're basketball players."
The Boston Celtics have drawn attention this offseason to the strategy of so-called 'positionless basketball.' Head coach Brad Stevens is building a system around ball-handlers, wings and big men. They are doing away with the idea of a traditional one-through-five lineup, from point guard to center.
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That goal is evident in their offseason additions. The Celtics loaded up on small forwards by adding Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris. With Jaylen Brown already in store, they have four guys who are big enough and athletic enough to match up with many different players on both ends of the floor.
Brooks isn't sure if the Wizards are going as far as the Celtics in that respect. He even said: "everybody is using the term positionless basketball. I don't know if we're going to get to that," but Brooks does believe the 6-foot-7 Satoransky fits well into adjustments the Wizards plan to make.
"I think he can do multiple positions. I think he can play one, two and three. He has the size to do that," Brooks said. "We want to have a system where we have a couple of guards and a couple of forwards and a center out there. You can argue that we can have three guards on the court at the same time. With John [Wall] and Brad [Beal], they both can handle the ball. They both can play pick-and-roll. You can have Tomas and Tim in the game. You can have Tomas and John in the game. They both handle the ball. You need multiple playmakers in the game."
Brooks and the Wizards found success last season on defense with a small-ball lineup featuring Wall, Beal, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre. Those four could switch from position-to-position on defense. In a season where defense was not a strongsuit, that combination stood out. Satoransky, Brooks hopes, can help provide similar value particularly on the offensive end while playing alongside other guards and without the mindset of only being a point guard.
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