Tomas Satoransky has had a tumultuous few weeks. After getting zero minutes in 13 of 18 games from Dec. 2 through Jan. 8, the Wizards rookie fell ill. An hour before their game on Jan. 10 against the Bulls, Satoransky packed his bag at the Verizon Center, wished his teammates good luck and went home. He remained there the next day as the Wizards traveled to Boston to play the Celtics.
Satoransky's nascent NBA career had hit a lowpoint. He was out of the rotation completely and now not even with the team, instead resting and watching on TV. That was not how he envisioned his first season going.
But once Satoransky started feeling better, he returned to practice revitalized. Head coach Scott Brooks saw a renewed focus.
"He came back from the flu and had a good practice four or five days ago, a couple of good shootarounds. He was active," Brooks said.
That led to Satoransky earning 21 minutes of action on Jan. 14, his first game back after being sick. That was his most minutes in nearly two months, and Satoransky made the most of them. He scored four points and grabbed four rebounds against the Sixers, showing enough to Brooks to receive another opportunity on Monday afternoon against the Blazers.
It was in that next game that Satoransky had a personal breakthrough. The Czech-native posted his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
"This number really surprised me because I'm not known for grabbing rebounds as a point guard. [Double-double], that surprised me a lot," Satoransky admitted.
Satoransky shot 4-for-7 from the field, made a three, dished out three assists and had one steal. It was his best game as an NBA player and with that came a pretty good feeling afterwards.
"I got my confidence back," Satoransky said. "I was kind of struggling with that. Obviously, once you are not in the rotation you lose your confidence. You don't want to. I'm glad the last two games have gone well for us. It helped me to feel good again."
Satoransky, 25, said his confidence was built early by making his first three shots and contributing to a few stops on the defensive end. He and the Wizards bench helped maintain a double-digit lead against the Blazers, something they haven't always been able to do this season, and Satoransky was making plays.
"I thought he made some good decisions in the open court. He gives us another live body that we can throw out there," Brooks said.
"I'm definitely well-aware, especially as a [former] backup point guard, that that's a tough position. You can have a lead and if things don't go well then it's always your fault. I've been in that position for over a decade. So my job is to continue to give him confidence. I trust when he's on the floor. He just doesn't get a lot of minutes. We have a really, really good point guard in front of him. But I like what he's doing. I like what he's going in practice."
Satoransky had a great day, but there was one error that stuck with him following the game. In the closing seconds, he reared back for a towering dunk, but got too much rim and saw the ball bounce out. He nearly put a Blazers defender on a poster, but walked away with merely a missed opportunity, one that he wished he had back.
"The guys always talk to me, saying I'm going to dunk in the warmup and at practice, but I'm not doing it in a game. So, I really wanted to make this one but unfortunately I couldn't. I was kind of preparing my steps for that," he said.
Still, a successful day for the Wizards rookie guard.