Quick Links

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wonders if NBA will expand draft with G-League continuing to change

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wonders if NBA will expand draft with G-League continuing to change

The Washington Wizards proudly announced on Friday night the name and revealed the logos for their nascent G-League franchise, the Capital City Go-Go which will take the court next fall for the 2018-19 season. When they begin play, they will become the 27th G-League team. The following season, the Atlanta Hawks will have a team in College Park, Ga. making it 28.

With 30 teams in the NBA, the G-League is quickly becoming a robust minor league system where sooner than later each NBA franchise will have an affiliate. Each year the G-League resemble more and more the well-established development programs in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wonders how a more developed minor league system will change the NBA. When the Wizards announced the Go-Go, he twice wondered if an expansion in the NBA Draft is inevitable. He told Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards-Pistons broadcast that a three- or four-round draft sounds realistic.


He reiterated that in a press conference about the Go-Go's branding.

"I'm sure at some point there will be a change in the rules," Leonsis explained. "Maybe the draft will get deeper and it will be very, very exciting where maybe one day if you can sign somebody out of high school or it's a one-and-done world and the draft is deeper, then you put them on your G-League team and now you're promoting and you're saying go to St. Elizabeth's and go watch our future."

The NBA has the shortest draft of the four major sports at two rounds, a product of there being smaller rosters by comparison. MLB has a 40-round draft while the NHL and NFL have seven rounds.

The NBA used to have a much deeper draft. Back in the 1970s there were 10 rounds. Over the years that was pared down to a two-round draft, established in 1989.

Leonsis thinks the NBA and its players could benefit from more prospects being not only given a chance, but a real system of development to hone their skills. That would include direction from NBA coaching staffs, state-of-the-art facilities, nutritional guidance and other things to help them reach their potential.

"You want the G-League to be the second-best basketball league in the world. Right now you would say that the AHL in hockey is the second-best hockey league in the world. That should be our goal as a league," he said.

The more the G-League improves, the more it will affect the NBA and the Wizards are ready to reap those benefits.


Quick Links

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.




NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Beal and Porter need to step up and so does the defense


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Beal and Porter need to step up and so does the defense

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the Wizards' 0-2 deficit and how Bradley Beal and Otto Porter need to play better.

They went into the potential change in the starting lineup, why the Wizards are doing so poorly on defense and the historical odds the Wizards are now up against.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!