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Wizards' predraft workouts begin and here's what it all means -- and what it doesn't mean

Wizards' predraft workouts begin and here's what it all means -- and what it doesn't mean

All 30 teams, even if they don't have draft picks, will work out players leading up to the event in late June for reasons that go far beyond the obvious.

The Wizards, who currently own a No. 52 pick in the second round, traded their first-round option for Bojan Bogdanovic in February.

They'll bring in six players starting today at Verizon Center with the most notable being guard Melo Trimble from Maryland. 

The most frequent question asked after the workout will go something like this: "How do you see yourself fitting in here."

It's kind of a pointless inquiry unless maybe it's the Celtics, Lakers or Sixers and the player is Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz. In Trimble's case, however, it's more valid because he's considered to be a late second-round pick, if he's picked at all.

--Scouting is done all during the college season, or seasons pending the player's experience. They've been seen in real-time pressure/game situations that can't be replicated in a workout. Very rarely will what happens in a workout override any of that. The workouts are to re-confirm previous held scouting or become more familiar with the person.

-- To have a workout, six players are needed for 3 vs. 3 drills. In some cases, a player is invited back for a second workout and a lot is made out of it. It's usually an indication of a team needing another body or position to fill out the drills. 

--Teams draft players they never work out all the time. They may not work them out because they've already talked to him at the May predraft camp in Chicago and have seen enough to draw a conclusion that he's their guy. They also might not want to tip their hand to other teams who could be interested. Working out for a team doesn't mean they want you just as not working out for a team doesn't mean they don't want you. 

--If a player has a guarantee or agreement with a team that he's going to be drafted before the Wizards pick 52nd, for instance, he may decline a workout. That goes for all teams who'll get turned down by somebody. A first-round prospect likely won't take such workouts because it's a waste of time and also, if you ask the agents, it's about appearances, too.

--The Wizards could run across a player who was off their radar and decide, "We must get into the draft earlier to take this guy." Or if a player who never was seriously under consideration wows them in a workout, then they might reconsider how they use the pick that they do possess. Only time that has happened in the last 10 years was with Nick Young in 2007. 

--The benefit to fringe players doing multiple workouts is the experience, the interview process and trying to secure an invite for summer league in Orlando, Salt Lake City or Las Vegas in July. Some players appear in at least two for different teams in hopes of earning a training camp invite which is the next step. If they go undrafted, there's still hope if they get that invite. The next step is showing well enough there to get a training camp invite from one of the 30 teams. You're not just on display to the team you're playing for at summer league which doesn't own your rights if you don't have an actual contract. Some players receive partial guarantees to attend camp. Many do not. Also, going overseas is in play.

[RELATED: Bradley Beal proved worth his max contract in first year of new deal with Wizards]

--Last year the Wizards didn't have a draft pick but still held workouts. Agents want their players' name out there and they want to be able to say they got their clients' foot in the door with workouts. It's mutually beneficial. There also was a chance the Wizards could've bought a pick and got into the draft. That didn't happen so they ended up signing undrafted free agents Daniel Ochefu, Sheldon McClellan and Danuel House. Going the free-agent route gave them more flexibility and made more sense if the Wizards believed they could get the player(s) they wanted without any committment to a roster spot.

--Even though a team might not have a roster spot available now, there's always reason to look to the future. A lot of second-tier players will be free agents or bouncing around on the market looking for a job. To have familiarity with them already makes it easier to pull the trigger when there's an injury and you need a ballhandler, shooter or a big to fill a role. 

--The advent of two-way contracts in the 2017 CBA created 60 more jobs, allowing teams to keep two extra players on the roster as they shift between their D-League team and the NBA. This option plus higher salaries in the D-League were instituted with the hope of keeping more players stateside so their parent NBA team can develop them here. So the 52nd pick has a better chance to stick around now than before. 

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Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Last night's Washington Wizards comeback would not have happened had it not been for the team's blowout third quarter. 

Of course, you can say that literally about any quarter, but if you take away the third, the Toronto Raptors outscored Washington easily, 78-66.

The Wizards won by eight and this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a performance of this magnitude from this bunch.

In that frame alone in Game 4, the Wizards broke out to 40 points, the same amount they had in the first two quarters combined. As a team, they shot 65 percent and 83 percent from deep (5-for-6).

By far that was their best offensive quarter of this series.

Of course, Bradley Beal got his due, 12 points including three three-pointers, but for the first time this series, Otto Porter Jr. became a threat on the offensive end of the court.

The 6-8 forward scored 10 of his 12 points, all of which came in a 26-14 run. First, he started with back-to-back three-pointers, both in the tail end of a transition, both a feed from John Wall. One came from the corner and the other came off of a screen that ended up being a close contest from OG Anunoby.

That run resulted in the Wizards’ first lead of the game from a corner three courtesy of Beal.

Speaking of Anunoby, he was silent in that quarter for the Raptors. Granted in the first half he was taken off the court after getting pinned under Marcin Gortat, but the Raptors’ guard played for nine minutes and the only thing he recorded on the stat sheet was a foul.

Serge Ibaka, who has also been a pain in the Wizards’ side also disappeared. One rebound, two points from the free throw line, and one block was all that the 6-10 forward managed. With Porter on the court and producing, it pushed Ibaka to set up outside the paint, clearing the lane for Wall to generate movement on the offense.

All this being said, Toronto actually didn’t have a bad quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field and DeMar DeRozan had 14 points.

But the Wizards were simply better. They out-shot one of the best all-around offensive teams in the league.

Rolling with the punches in transition, not passing up open looks, Wall dealing out six assists; that is the Wizards’ team that knocked off some of the top teams in the NBA this year. No one shot more than five times in the quarter and the team combined for 10 assists on the 15 made baskets.

They erased a 14-point deficit and were tied at 80 heading into the fourth.

If you look back to the last 40-point playoff quarter for Washington, there are many parallels. It was another series where the Wizards were down 0-2 to the Celtics. They were dealing with an offensive driven team and the physicality became a prevalent story in the series.

Had it not been for those 12 minutes of basketball, the Wizards would be down 3-1 and face an insurmountable climb to get back into their First Round series. Now they are at a fresh slate in a best-of-3 series. With all the momentum, Washington is just two wins away from getting back to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, this time is a little different than the last.





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Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

All along as Kelly Oubre, Jr. wilted from the three-point line down the stretch of the regular season, his head coach Scott Brooks would deflect the attention to other areas of his game. Brooks was sending a message to his young forward that he can still make an impact in other ways, and as long as he did Brooks would overlook the shooting woes.

Through four games in the Wizards-Raptors series, Brooks' mantra with Oubre has proven prescient. Just like the Wizards as a team, Oubre has his swagger back and for him it's had nothing to do with hitting threes.

Oubre was a sparkplug in both Games 3 and 4 as the Wizards earned consecutive victories to send the series back to Toronto locked at 2-2. Game 4 on Sunday night well illustrated just how effective Oubre can be even if he isn't scoring.

Oubre had 10 points and shot 2-for-6 from the field, a modest scoring night. He did everything else well.

Oubre drew two offensive fouls, notched two steals, grabbed give rebounds and dished two assists. He was aggressive attacking the rim and earned seven free throw attempts as his reward.

Oubre was personally most pleased with forcing turnovers. In true Oubre fashion, he offered a unique explanation why.

"Yeah, man. You got to be different. I'm just trying to be different, man. Trying to get extra possessions for my teammates," he said.

Oubre's defense was essential in Game 4. He helped hold DeMar DeRozan to just 10 field goals on 29 attempts. Though DeRozan ended up with 35 points, he needed to attempt 18 free throws to get there.

The Wizards can live with DeRozan scoring a lot of points, even 35, if he shoots 34.5 percent from the field. He also had four turnovers.

Oubre's most important moments came in the final five minutes of the game. Star shooting guard Bradley Beal fouled out with 4:58 remaining and Brooks had nowhere else to turn. Tomas Satoransky's role has been diminished in the playoffs, Ty Lawson gives up size on defense and Jodie Meeks, the primary backup shooting guard for most of the season, is suspended.

Oubre was contributing all night, so Brooks put him in there alongside John Wall, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. It worked.

Wall scored eight of their final 14 points as the Wizards closed out the victory, but Oubre did several things to help seal it. He hit three free throws, grabbed a rebound and stole the ball from Kyle Lowry with 12 seconds to go and dribbled it out.

Two of Oubre's free throws came with 22.5 seconds left and they extended the Wizards' lead to 104-96. He was fouled in the final second of the shot clock and the Raptors called a timeout, perhaps hoping to ice him.

After the team gathered, Oubre walked to halfcourt to wait for the break to end. Veteran Jason Smith, who did not appear in the game, walked out to chat with him. 

Smith stood next to Oubre and gave him an extended pep talk. He sensed the moment and knew Oubre needed to calm his nerves.

Smith led Oubre through deep breaths to slow everything down. Oubre nodded his head and followed along, then he knocked down both shots.

"I've been there before," Smith said. "I've gotta stay active and impact the game any way I can. That was my little tidbit."

Oubre was clutch for the Wizards when they needed him most and got some sage advice as he helped the Wizards push over the finish line.

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