With little playing time currently offered at the NBA level, the Wizards sent rookie swingman Sheldon McClellan to the Delaware 87ers of the D-League on Tuesday.
McClellan, they hope, will benefit from extra minutes and be able to work on things he can't necessarily hone in practice.
"It's a great opportunity," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We definitely don't look at it as a demotion or a punishment. It's an opportunity to improve. When you get into the NBA season, it's December and January is coming up, you don't get a lot of practice time. And when you do, it's very short and it's not the intensity that you need to get better as a young player. He's going to be able to get minutes and get practice time. He needs to be able to improve on all parts of his game. I think he can be a pretty good player."
McClellan, 23, made the Wizards out of training camp as an undrafted rookie. He has appeared in seven games this season and averages 4.6 points in 11.1 minutes per game.
The majority of those numbers came from the two starts he made on Nov. 12 and 16. He played 35 minutes against the Bulls on Nov. 12 and scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. McClellan has logged just one minute in the Wizards' last nine games.
McClellan is the second Wizards player to spend time in the D-League. Fellow undrafted rookie Danuel House also went there in mid-November. He averaged 15 points in 27.3 minutes across two games with the 87ers.
House and McClellan know each other well having both grown up in Houston, Texas. They remain close and House gave his friend some advice before he left for Delaware.
"I personally told him just go there and have fun. Have fun and be a good guy like you are," House said. "Just play, just play the game the right way. You don't have to shoot everything. I also told him to enjoy it because this is your only chance to be the superstar because when you come back, you've gotta join the rookie crowd. But I also told him to help someone get better down there, too."
The Wizards will keep a close eye on McClellan and review film of his games. House said that can present a good opportunity for young players to show the coaching staff something they haven't seen in practice.
"What I tried to do is picture myself as a coach, what I would like to see down there with my player to go in and compete hard. Just showcase his talent and showcase the stuff that he's been working on," he said.
NOTES: Ian Mahinmi was out again on Tuesday night with the Magic in town. It was his 18th game missed this season overall and his fifth straight since he was diagnosed with a sore right knee. Brooks said on Tuesday that Mahinmi underwent an MRI last week that cleared him of any structural damage:
"He's practiced, that's a test. He did on Sunday. He's feeling better, that's all I can keep saying. he's feeling better. He's going to do another workout tonight. He did get an MRI a week or so ago. Everything was fine. Just some soreness. We need to be able to control it and monitor it and hopefully we can get rid of it so he can get on the court and play some consistent minutes for us."
Mahinimi, 30, signed a four-year deal worth $64 million to join the Wizards as a free agent this offseason.