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Ariza's adjustment period taking some time


Ariza's adjustment period taking some time

The Shirelles, a girl group back in the early 1960's, sang the dejected line, "There'll be days like this my Mama said."

One wonders if Trevor Ariza's IPod has been playing this R-and-B classic on a permanent loop. His struggles since the start of his first training camp with the Wizards up through the first two regular season games have been glaring.

"It's never been this long to adjust to something for myself," said Ariza, an eight-year veteran with previous stops in five different NBA cities before being acquired by Washington this summer. Blatant misfiring, whether from near or far, is the obvious issue, though the career 43 percent shooter has never been considered a marksman.

The concern is not mechanical, but rather one of confidence - and then made more apparent because the funk is occurring at the start of the NBA season.

Asked for his take on his early struggles, Ariza recited a laundry list of frustrations that currently lack a solution. "Just trying to pick my spots. When to shoot the ball, when to drive the ball, when to pass the ball, when to do a little bit of everything. Just trying to get comfortable with what we're doing here."

Even how he acquired the shiner currently sported under his left eye is apparently unanswerable.

"We were in practice, I don't know" a shrugging Ariza said following Tuesday's practice, "Somebody hit me."

The 6-foot-8 wing forward isn't the only one offensive offensively right now for the slow starting Wizards, but perhaps the one most obviously fighting through his woes.

"He's going through that now," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It just so happens to be the first two games, the start of the season. Guys go through tough periods, whether its physically or mentally, not making shots, every you seem to do isn't right. Fight through it."

As for the solution, Wittman talked of Ariza simplifying his on-court agenda.

"He can defend multiple positions, he can rebound and he can run. That's all I care about seeing him do right now. I think if you just concentrate on that rather than so many other things, then you get into a rhythm."

Getting into a rhythm has clearly been an issue when targeting the basket.

Ariza: "I'm getting open shots, getting good looks at the basket. Just got to figure out a way to stay confident and not worry about the next one."

Even the easiest of shots are not falling, including the chippie Ariza missed against the Celtics from point-blank range.

"I've never been in that situation where I was so close to the basket and missed a layup," said Ariza, reflecting on the attempt that hung on the rim before rolling off. "That was unbelievable."

Let's not forget that Ariza is also tasked with guarding Boston's All-Star forward Paul Pierce for a second straight game. The Wizards play at Boston on Wednesday. That aspect alone keeps would-be defenders up at night, though it's also where Ariza typically shines.

The good news is obvious: the season has just begun, which means plenty of chances for better days ahead.

"Of course it's frustrating a little bit, but my teammates, my coaches have been great with keeping me in it, telling me to stay in it, keep working hard," Ariza said. "I'm going to do what I do and work hard every day. It's going to come to pass."

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson


Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

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!