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2012 Media Predictions: beyond the answers

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2012 Media Predictions: beyond the answers

This week I posted results from 15 questions about the Wizards upcoming campaign yours truly and other media members answered. While I wouldn't task those doing me a solid for detailed responses, I thought I'd share my work as it were on each response and what the questions and answers suggest about the just started campaign. My answers are in parenthesis following each question and you can find all media responses here.

1) How many games will Nene play? (60)

2) How many games will John Wall play? (64)

These questions ask the obvious. When will Washington's top two players return? And the subtle, which is: do the Wizards have a chance at thinking about the postseason?

Even if fully healthy, even if all the new pieces blend as hoped with the returning players, even if Wall becomes an All-Star and Bradley Beal Rookie of the Year, the playoffs are no lock. The Eastern Conference is not top heavy but has a rather bloated middle with teams thought to be poised for extra games (New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Derrick Rose-less Chicago) and those poised for a standings rise (Milwaukee, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland). Washington is in the latter pack right now - assuming Wall and Nene are back ASAP  - but not necessarily in the back of it. If Wall and Nene are available for at least 70 games each, my position is the Wizards are in the mix for the eighth seed. If the number of games played for one (especially Wall) or both drops into the 60's (or, gulp, worse), then it will be all about the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery, again. 

3) How many points + assists will John Wall average? (16.6 + 8.5 = 25.1)

Seriously, can someone explain to me how on a team loaded with chuckers, knuckleheads and those with low basketball IQ among its primary rotation Wall doled out eight assists per game last season? With legitimate shooters now on the wings, a full-ish season with a quality low and high post threat like Nene and a smarter overall roster, Wall should easily surpass last season's average.

As for the scoring, I projected Wall scoring slightly better than last season 16.0. If his 3-point percentage climbs from last campaign's unfathomable 7.1 percent to the 29.6 percent he shot as a rookie, Wall could score closer to 20 a night. Whether that's a good thing is another story. As long as the point guard doesn't compromise his assisting, have at it.

4) How many points + rebounds will Emeka Okafor average? (10.0. + 8.5 = 18.5)

Okafor is a career double-double performer so there is justification for projecting such an output, not that I did. Considering he hasn't reached that level in four seasons - not even close the past two - there was indeed reason to go under. Want another? From a personnel standpoint, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Wizards season opening loss Tuesday night came in the middle.

Despite no report of an Okafor injury, Wizards coach Randy Wittman used journeyman Earl Barron in the middle for the entire fourth quarter. There were in-the-moment reasons for the call to be sure; Barron's part in the fourth quarter rally, Okafor's part in not being able to keep Anderson Varejao off the boards. Still, the former overall No. 1 pick is by far the most accomplished center available and the highest paid player on the team. If Wittman was willing to go down this route in the opener, what happens to Okafor's minutes when Nene and Kevin Seraphin return from injuries?

5) What percentage will Trevor Ariza shoot from the field? (39.9)

Mention the name of the former Lakers starter and casual NBA fans recall the player who knocked down perimeter shots during Los Angeles' 2008-09 championship run. Truth is, that player doesn't exist, never really has outside of those playoffs when Ariza sank 48 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Before that stretch, the slick 6-foot-8 wing largely scored in transition, a facet of the game is agility is ideally suited, especially playing with led foot point like John Wall.

Even though he launched 3's with regularity during that championship season, Ariza took an extra 1.5 per game in the postseason. In fairness to Ariza, he was making them. Since then, not so much; Ariza is a 33 percent shooter from deep over the last three seasons plus one game and his overall accuracy has suffered. Should his 2012-13 field goal percentage live south of 41, you can guess too many 3's and not enough drives were to blame. Ariza's defense will keep him on the court and his opening night effort exceeded much of his brutal preseason work. However, the Wizards have other small forward options should the misfiring become intolerable.

Part 2 (questions 6-10) on Thursday, Part 3 (11-15) on Friday.

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2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

Something that used to be a rare occurrence has now happened four years in a row.

The Phoenix Suns had the best odds of winning the NBA lottery, and they did, landing the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. 

Over the last four years, the team with the NBA's worst record has landed that top spot each year. Before this stretch though, dating back to 1985, only four teams that had the worst record still won the lottery.

Nine teams have also jumped at least five spots to get to No. 1 during that period as well.

Now the order is set (until any trades of course) and teams have had a chance to check out many of the top players at the combine.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT 

This draft is loaded with big man prospects too, from DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley, and Mohamed Bamba, along with countless others likely going in the top-14. 

There's also the very intriguing Luka Doncic, who most still believe won't go back to Real Madrid, even with him leaving the door open. 

A few names jumped into the first round since the last mock draft, which is something we always see after the combine. 

As for the Wizards, we know they need an athletic big man, and sitting at pick No. 15, they may just get one, although he brings a lot of mystery. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT 

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tomas Satoransky

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tomas Satoransky

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tomas Satoransky's season...

Player: Tomas Satoransky

Position: Point guard

Age: 26

2017-18 salary: $3 million

2017-18 stats: 73 G, 22.5 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.2 rpg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 52.3 FG%, 46.5 3P%, 78.1 FT%, 58.5 eFG%, 124 ORtg, 111 DRtg

Best game: 2/10 at Bulls - 25 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 10-for-12 FG, 5-for-6 3PT 

Season review: Following a rookie season where he could never quite earn an extended role in the Wizards' rotation, Tomas Satoransky broke through in his second NBA season and did so when an opportunity was presented due to injury. 

Starting point guard John Wall missed two weeks in December and Satoransky was pushed into the backup role behind Tim Frazier. Satoransky then outplayed Frazier to earn the primary backup role once Wall returned.

Satoransky got an even better chance to shine once Wall missed two months from late January to late March as he stepped in to start a stretch of 27 straight games and 30 of the Wizards' final 34 regular season games. He thrived as a starter, averaging 10.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 53.2 percent from the field.

Satoransky was confident and assertive for much of his time as a starter. He found success running the offense and defending tough point guards like Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry. The Wizards won 10 of their first 13 games when Wall went down and Satoransky got much of the credit for helping them stay afloat. If he didn't step up, the Wizards may have missed the playoffs.

But Satoransky then had trouble adjusting back to his previous role as a backup. The Wizards signed point guard Ty Lawson and moved Satoransky off the ball. That change appeared to affect Satoransky's aggression on offense. At times, he played timid and the coaching staff went away from him for much of their playoff series against the Raptors.

Satoransky may have to get used to an evolving place in the Wizards' rotation. Though he is most comfortable at point guard, the Wizards see him as much more than a floor general. They want him to play shooting guard and small forward.

Now that Satoransky has more experience at those positions at the NBA level, perhaps he can put it all together and find consistency next season, his third in the NBA and his last under contract with the Wizards.

Potential to improve: Shooting off dribble, aggressiveness, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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