Wizards

Quick Links

Tomas Satoransky is changing Wizards' outlook ahead of trade deadline and beyond

Tomas Satoransky is changing Wizards' outlook ahead of trade deadline and beyond

The four games since John Wall went down with a left injury have been one, big best-case scenario for the Washington Wizards. Losing Wall was devastating news, but it hasn't slowed them down one bit.

They have won four straight games to match a season-high streak and have done so with conviction. They have left no doubt in two blowout wins over lottery-bound teams and have risen to the occasion with pristine performances against two of the best teams in the NBA.

Many players have been involved in the effort, but the play of Tomas Satoransky is most newsworthy. As the replacement starter for Wall at point guard, Satoransky has big shoes to fill. But through four games, he has proven he's no average backup point guard.

That was emphatically displayed on Saturday night when Satoransky set a career-high with 19 points in a win against the Orlando Magic. He had six assists, three rebounds, two steals and just one turnover. Satoransky shot 7-for-9 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range. 

RELATED: BEAL SAYS 'EVERYBODY EATS' IS NO SHOT AT WALL

On defense, Satoransky helped hold Magic point guard Elfrid Payton to just 14 points. Payton's previous two games against the Wizards this season were his No. 1 and No. 2 scoring games of the year. In one he dropped 30 and the other he had 27. Satoransky bucked that trend.

Satoransky has taken the opportunity provided by Wall's absence and has thrived. In four games, he has provided more than the Wizards could ask for on both ends of the court. Offensively, he has been superbly efficient, averaging 11.0 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 60 percent from three, all while carrying an offensive rating of 135. Defensively, Satoransky has helped limit Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry (through three quarters), Dennis Schroder and Payton.

Four games is a very small sample size, but Satoransky has made an impact for the Wizards throughout this season despite dealing with an evolving role. His 125 offensive rating is best on the team. He is fourth in field goal percentage (50.6), second in three-point percentage (42.9) and second in effective field goal percentage (56.8). He leads the Wizards with a 4.03 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Satoransky's improvement at shooting threes changes everything. He shot just 24.3 percent from long range last season and has nearly doubled that mark this year. That alters how opponents guard him and opens up space for him to take advantage of his size and athleticism.

PODCAST: MCCULLOUGH ON BEING ONLY WIZARD WHO LIKES CATS

Satoransky can play above the rim at 6-foot-7 with a substantial vertical leap. Though he needs to improve as a finisher, he is getting better at beating opponents off the dribble. 

Satoransky is developing versatility as a scorer with a consistent three-point shot, a burgeouning midrange game (he shoots a team-best 56.7% from 3-10 feet) and the ability to challenge most at the rim. He is proving to be adept on defense, big and long enough to give smaller guards problems and experienced enough to bait them into help from his teammates.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

Satoranksy's development is a fantastic sign for a Wizards team that, given their luxury tax state, currently has little choice to improve from within. At just 26 years old, Satoransky is thoroughly outplaying his contract of just $3 million this season. He is set to make only $3.1 million next year, a bargain for a guy who is proving dependable and has a high ceiling due to his size and athleticism.

Satoransky is breaking through at an interesting time for the Wizards, who must decide how to handle the Feb. 8 trade deadline with Wall out of the picture until at least the month of March. Satoransky's play and their success with him running point could convince the Wizards they do not need to make a major addition. Not only do they have enough to compete without Wall, but Satoransky could be the key to them being a better team once Wall returns.

The Wizards are currently just a half-game out of third place in the Eastern Conference because they have not skipped a beat with their best player out due to injury. That's an impressive feat and Satoransky has been a big reason for why.

RELATED: DUNK, 3-POINT CONTEST PLAYERS ANNOUNCED

Quick Links

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

ap_977435999414.jpg
Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

Quick Links

Remember Ramon Sessions? Wizards bring back familiar face, sources confirm

Remember Ramon Sessions? Wizards bring back familiar face, sources confirm

For the Wizards, with a tough stretch coming and with John Wall still sidelined, depth and health is of the utmost importance.

With the team set to begin the second half of the 2018 NBA season on Thursday night against the Cavaliers, Scott Brooks and company decided to make a move to shore up their backcourt depth, a commodity the team cannot have enough of.

Veteran guard Ramon Sessions, who spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in Washington, D.C., has been signed by the Wizards to a ten-day contract, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller confirms.

RELATED: NBCSW'S MIDSEASON NBA AWARDS

The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN . Sessions played in 110 games for the Wizards over the course of his two seasons, playing in all 82 games during the 2015-16 season.

He joins the Wizards again having been waived by the New York Knicks on Jan. 13. Sessions averaged 12.8 mpg in 13 games for the Knicks.

Sessions is rejoining a former team for the third time in his career, having played in Milwaukee and Charlotte on two separate occasions.