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Fans expect big things from Wizards

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Fans expect big things from Wizards

A crowd estimated at 2,100 filed into the Patriot Center at George Mason University Tuesday night, lured by games of roulette, the Wizards dance team and a free performance by rapper Wale.

In between, rookie Bradley Beal and the Wizards took part in their final scrimmage game at GMU, their training camp home for the past eight days.

The Wizards are hoping the arrival of Beal, taken third overall in the 2012 NBA draft, will help cultivate new fans and turn last years skeptics into this years believers.

We believe in RG3 and we believe in Bradley, said Darnell Roberts, 16, of Herndon, who attended Tuesday nights event with three of his friends. With him and John Wall we can build a team around them.

The Wizards finished with the second-worst record in the NBA last season 20-46 and are hoping the arrivals of Beal, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and A.J. Price will lift them into playoff contention.

I think it is a playoff team, but I dont think they know that yet, said Robert Crews, 17, of D.C. They need to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The Wizards first home preseason game is slated for Thursday night at the Verizon Center and Marcos Lopez, 18, of Arlington, said hes hoping the building has a better feeling than it did last year.

Last year was so negative, Lopez said. Every time Andray Blatche stepped on the court they booed him. Thats got to change.

Wizards guard Janerro Pargo agrees, saying its important the Wizards start learning how to win games, even preseason games.

I think its important to play every game you play, Pargo said.

Crews said hes hoping the infusion of Beal into an offense featuring John Wall could make that difference, but still believes the Wizards lack something.

What we need is a superstar, Crews said. A superstar thats going to last. The Lakers got Kobe Bryant, the Heats got Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. I think we need a superstar. If Bradley Beal can step up well be all right. But we need a leader. Maybe Okafor will be that for us.

Meshailay Thomas, 35, of Woodbridge, brought her three daughters Jorden, 12, Kair, 6, and Laila, 5 -- to Tuesday nights event just to give them the opportunity to see the Wizards up close and have some fun with team mascot G-Wiz.

I think this is a great event, she said. My husband, Karl, is a big Wizards fan, so Ill be getting him some tickets this season. I think itll be a good one. Well see.

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2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday night as the newest wave of potential superstars like DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mo Bamba and Luka Doncic enter the league. Here is everything you need to know for the big night...

2018 NBA DRAFT

When: 7 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
TV: ESPN
Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: ESPN

Wizards draft picks: 15th overall in the first round, 44th overall in the second round

First round order:

1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Los Angeles Clippers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
15. Washington Wizards
16. Phoenix Suns
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. San Antonio Spurs
19. Atlanta Hawks
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. Utah Jazz
22. Chicago Bulls
23. Indiana Pacers
24.Portland Trail Blazers
25. Los Angeles Lakers
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Boston Celtics
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Brooklyn Nets
30. Atlanta Hawks

Top prospects:

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Marvin Bagley III, Duke
3. Luka Doncic, Slovenia
4. Jaren Jackson, Jr., Michigan State
5. Mo Bamba, Texas
6. Michael Porter, Jr., Missouri
7. Wendell Carter, Duke
8. Trae Young, Oklahoma
9. Collin Sexton, Alabama
10. Kevin Knox, Kentucky

Three things to watch...

Will Leonard get traded?

Last year's draft featured some big trades including Jimmy Butler going to the Timberwolves. This year, there seems to be at least a decent chance it happens with Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. He wants a trade and they have been meeting with him in recent days, perhaps for a last-ditch pitch to remain with the team. If he gets dealt on draft night, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

Who will the Kings pick?

A consensus has built for Ayton to go No. 1 to the Suns. After that, it's a major crapshoot and whomever the Kings select will produce a domino effect from there on down. Will they take Bagley, the safe pick, or go a riskier route with Doncic or maybe even Porter, Jr.? The best bet at this point appears to be Bagley, but nobody truly knows.

Where will Young and Porter, Jr. go?

The two most interesting prospects in this draft are Young and Porter, Jr. Young was a sensation in college basketball, but is undersized and appears to be boom-or-bust. He could flame out quickly at the next level or be some iteration of the next Stephen Curry. Porter, Jr. played only three games in college due to a back injury and now has hip issues as well. His talent is undeniable, but his injury history represents significant risk.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

2018 NBA Draft Preview Series

Wizards Draft Profiles


-- Keita Bates Diop, SG/SF, Ohio State 

-- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State (VIDEO)

-- Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

-- Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova 

-- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky (VIDEO)

-- Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA (VIDEO)

-- Kevin Huerter, SG/SF, Maryland (VIDEO)

-- Chandler Hutchinson, SG/SF, Boise State 

-- Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky (VIDEO)

-- Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College (VIDEO)

-- Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky (VIDEO)

-- Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State (VIDEO)

-- Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IGM Academy (Fl.) (VIDEO)

-- Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech (VIDEO)

-- Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton (VIDEO)

-- Gary Trent Jr., SG/SF, Duke (VIDEO)

-- Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan (VIDEO)

-- Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami (VIDEO)

-- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M (VIDEO)

NBA Player Comparisons


-- Miles Bridges, Draymond Green?

-- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dejounte Murray?

-- Zhaire Smith, J.R. Smith or Gerald Green?

-- Robert Williams, Kenyon Martin?

CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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

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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

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USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.

MORE WIZARDS COVERAGE