Wizards

Quick Links

Tomas Satoransky could play into Scott Brooks' plans for a more versatile Wizards' offense

usatsi_9949541.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Tomas Satoransky could play into Scott Brooks' plans for a more versatile Wizards' offense

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.

[RELATED: PODCAST - GORTAT TALKS ABOUT HIS SUMMER]

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.

[RELATED: BROOKS KNOWS RE-SIGNING STARS ISN'T EASY]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

Quick Links

Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

oubre_sketch_v1.jpg

Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

The play of Kelly Oubre, Jr. over the past calendar year had made the Wizards picking up his contract option an increasingly easy decision. On Saturday, they opted to keep him for the fourth year of his rookie contract, the 2018-19 season, and did so with a week to spare before the deadline.

Oubre, 21, has emerged as a key contributor for a Wizards team with expectations of a deep playoff run. He is still finding his trule role in the NBA, but with his youth and potential, and the fact he's still on a rookie deal, Oubre has a unique place on their roster.

John Wall and Bradley Beal have already emerged as stars. Otto Porter still has room to get much better, but has already arrived and earned a max contract. Oubre, though already established in their rotation, has plenty of room to grow.

Oubre, the 15th overall pick in 2015, doubled his minutes last season to 20.3 per game under head coach Scott Brooks with averages of 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game. He earned Brooks' trust mainly on the defensive end with his versatility and high motor.

Consistency is where Oubre needs to improve, but through two games this season he appears to have taken another step. Oubre added two inches to his vertical leap over the summer despite rehabbing from platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right knee. He also gained some muscle, allowing him to make strides as a rebounder. Oubre has 15 rebounds through two games and said it's specific focus of his.

[RELATED: WALL TALKS LONZO AND LAVAR BALL]

The Wizards are a good enough offensive team currently to where Oubre can focus on defense and rebounding. But his growing confidence on offense has been evident so far this year and especially in the preseason. He has worked on dribbling with his right hand and the result is more aggression attacking the rim. Though still not a polished product, Oubre is taking small steps to emerge as a more dangerous scoring threat.

The Wizards will have another decision to make on Oubre this time next year. One day before the 2018-19 regular season begins, they will have to choose whether to hand Oubre a rookie scale contract extension. They weren't able to beat that deadline with Porter and the next summer he received a $106.5 million max deal after hitting the market as a restricted free agent. 

Oubre at this very moment wouldn't command that type of money in free agency, but the same was said about Porter at this point in his career. Porter was able to improve significantly in his fourth season.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis said this summer that he would love to have Oubre force the issue with his performance on the court.

"He's going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I'm glad to do," Leonsis said. 

It's early in the season, but Oubre may be on his way towards making the Wizards ponder his long-term future.

The Washington Post first reported Oubre's contract option getting picked up.

[RELATED: WALL EXPLAINS WOLF SEASON]

 

Quick Links

John Wall doesn't hold LaVar Ball's talking against Lonzo, but knows 'he'll be targeted'

usatsi_10358640.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

John Wall doesn't hold LaVar Ball's talking against Lonzo, but knows 'he'll be targeted'

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley made a point to embarrass Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball in the latter's NBA debut. After dominating him on the court, Beverley said he had to "set the tone." 

On Wednesday, Wizards point guard John Wall will get a crack at Ball when Washington plays the Lakers at the Staples Center. Wall knows why Beverley went after Ball like that, but says he doesn't blame Ball himself.

"I think his dad put him in a situation where guys are going to target him," Wall said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast, referencing LaVar Ball. "Lonzo is one of those kids that is very talented. He's been a good player for years, he just don't say much. I think his dad does all the talking for him."

Ball, 19, was the second overall pick in this June's NBA Draft. He had just three points on 1-of-6 shooting against the Clippers on Wednesday, but bounced back for 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against the Suns on Friday. 

Wall thinks Ball will be fine as long as he can keep up his production on the court to back up his dad's trash-talking.

"He's a great kid from what I've seen on the outside looking in," Wall said. "A lot of people in this league are going to take it personally. It's not the son's fault. He went back and had a better game [vs. the Suns]. That's all he's gotta do is go out there and play. He's not gonna do any talking anyways. If he gets killed or don't get killed or kills somebody, he's not going to be the guy talking."

Wall is as competitive as they come and will give Ball a tough challenge on Wednesday night, but it doesn't sound like he plans to pull a Beverley and overtly embarrass him.

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

[RELATED: WALL SAYS HE'S THE BEST SHOT-BLOCKING PG EVER]