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Las Vegas Summer League primer

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Las Vegas Summer League primer

Not to sound all Wheel of Fortune-y, but it's Vegas week! Well, it's really Washington Wizardssummer mini-camp week, but that means the team is prepping for the Las Vegas Summer League, which tips off on Friday and runsfor nearly two weeks.The Wizards stay will encompass the first six days and Iwanted to get everyone updated regarding CSNwashingtons planned coverage.The first game is on Friday, July 13 and have no fear, we will be on the scene with a first-hand account, starting with the teams preparation in D,C, this week before heading West. There will bearticles on Jans jumpers and Beals bombs, posts on Mack mastering the point guard role, onSingletonsskill and anything about the largely unknown Tomas Satoransky. Look for plenty of updates, analysis and reaction - plus constant tweeting over at @benstandig. I will be in Vegas for the opening three games against the Hawks, Rockets and D-League All-Stars while Frank Hanrahan and Brian Jackson keep tabsfrom the home front...Mini-camp: Starting on Monday, the Wizards are assembling all the troops for four days worth of practices two daily sessions - before flyingto Las Vegas. The media willis expected to see a few minutes of the first daily practice plus talk and afterwards talk with players and coaches. I've got a few questions at theready, but if there is something on your mind, post them in the comments section.Las Vegas: While this is my second time attending the annual summer league, it will be my first doing the credential reporter thing, so, yeah, kind of excited. There will be some table-setting going on with pre-game thoughts followed by post-game analysis (and like I said, in-game tweeting), likely focusing more on the specific players than the actual results. In addition to all things Wizards, I also hope to catch up with former DMV-area college players and ex-Wizards plus other NBA folk of interest while Im out there. Schedule: The entire Wizards on-court itinerary is here, the entire Las Vegas summer league schedule is here.Roster: You can look at the Wizards expected roster here. Three current players Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack plus the two draft picks, Bradley Beal and Satoransky are the headliners and thus will receive the bulk of the attention. That's not to say if Middle Tennessee State forward and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year LaRon Dendy looks interesting or old schoolers like Shavlik Randolph or Earl Calloway have a story to tell we won't listen.What's been happening The Wizards, at least in terms of what has been reported, have been quiet on the free agent front. Of course, thats not surprising after adding the meaty contractsattached tocenter Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza. Tacking on a backup point guard remains a priority. Same goes for adding an additional shooter or two even after draftingBradleyBeal, who is getting ready for the NBA life. After writing about the possibility of signing free agent guard Courtney Lee hereand here, I think were done with updates for now unless the situation changes. Looks like the Celtics aretargeting Lee, a 40-percent 3-point shooter, now that Avery Bradley is undergoing shoulder surgery. The free agent pool of guards has already lost one of its bigger names now that Kirk Hinrich reportedly agreed to terms with the Bullsthough that move also ended guard C.J. Watson's run in Chicago. The actual signings begin on July 11. That's also when the clock truly begins on another transactional time frame onlookers have been focusing on, one that has a one week shelf life. Channeling my inner Vanna White, I'm talking about the A-N-D-R-A-Y B-L-A-T-C-H-E A-M-N-E-S-T-Y D-E-A-D-L-I-N-E. Pretty sure we know how the masses hope this plays out. While the Wizards haven't spelled out their intentions, the reading between the lines suggests The Captain could be back.

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Despite struggles at Oregon, Wizards believe Troy Brown can develop into a good shooter at NBA level

Despite struggles at Oregon, Wizards believe Troy Brown can develop into a good shooter at NBA level

The NBA is so perimeter-oriented these days that often the first statistic cited for a player leaving college for the pros is three-point percentage, regardless of the position. Even big men are expected to knock down threes, for if they can't then there is less space on the floor and like Neil deGrasse Tyson, NBA teams love them some space.

Three-point shooting, however, is not a strength for Wizards' first round pick Troy Brown, Jr., at least not yet. In his lone season at Oregon, he shot just 29.1 percent from long range. Brown can play multiple positions, from point guard to small forward, and shooting is important to be successful at all of them.

Brown and the Wizards, though, are not concerned about his potential to develop an outside shot in the long-term. Brown addressed the issue after his pre-draft workout with the Wizards earlier this month and cited a very specific reason not to worry.

"I don’t think it was my mechanics. I think it was my shot selection this year," he said. "Some of the shots I was taking weren’t very good. It’s about repetition, getting in the gym and putting up shots. I feel like I’ve been doing a good job showcasing that and I feel like a lot of teams are impressed with my shooting."

Brown knocked down plenty of shots in his workout with the Wizards. That helped convince them to select him at No. 15, as they see a guy with potential to become at least a serviceable shooter from long range.

“We’re very confident that we can improve it," head coach Scott Brooks said. "From what I understand, he’s very coachable and he wants to get better. That’s a big part of the step in developing a young player."

Team president Ernie Grunfeld seemed to agree with Brown's personal assessment, that it's not a problem with his mechanics per se. Surely they will tinker with his shot once he gets in their development system. But they don't see the need for a dramatic overhaul.

"He's got a nice stroke," Grunfeld said. "Obviously, when you're a freshman coming up to another level there are different things you have to work on, and we have a really good player development staff and we're going to get him to work right away."

Players of Brown's ilk developing an outside shot at the NBA level is more common than many may think. Just because someone isn't a good shooter in one college season, doesn't mean they will never be able to develop the skill once they mature as a man and a basketball player.

Though Brown's scoring repertoire may seem limited, plenty of players have gone from rags to riches offensively at the professional level. Brown may have to begin his NBA career helping in other ways, like on the defensive end, before his scoring abilities round into form.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler could be seen as a best-case scenario example. He made only 36 threes in three years in college and shot just 35.3 percent as a junior. When he was Brown's age, as a freshman he averaged only 5.6 points, and as an NBA rookie he shot just 18.2 percent from three.

Through years of hard work, Butler turned himself into a 20-point scorer with a respectable outside shot, including a career-beset 37.8 percent from three in the 2014-15 season. Some guys take more time than others. At only 18 years old, Brown has plenty of time to figure it out.

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How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

While meeting with Oregon's Troy Brown during the pre-draft interview process, evaluators from the Washington Wizards issued him an on-the-spot challenge. Head coach Scott Brooks pulled out a dry-erase clipboard and a pen. He wanted to see Brown draw up a play.

This is a test Brooks has administered before to other players. Some have failed miserably.

"It sounds easy to throw a board at somebody in front of a big group and say 'okay draw a play' and I have seen many plays drawn, and I have seen it where there are not five players on the floor," Brooks said.

That wasn't the case with Brown. He didn't just draw up one play, he drew up several. One in particular came to mind when asked by reporters on Thursday night soon after the Wizards took him 15th overall in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“I think it was a situation where we were down by two or something like that," he said. "It was like a back screen into a slip, and then the fade three and they gave you a lot of various options to cause mismatches on the court for a last minute shot to either go ahead, or even attack the basket for a layup to go into overtime.”

NBC Sports Washington analyst Cory Alexander, a veteran of seven NBA seasons, demonstrated what Brown's play looked like on a whiteboard:

The Xs and Os of basketball flow effortlessly for Brown and Wizards' brass couldn't help but be impressed.

"He really understands the game. I think for a kid that is 18 years old, that is rare but he just has a good feel," Brooks said. 

"We were impressed with his character and the type of person he is and his basketball knowledge," team president Ernie Grunfeld said. "Obviously, like any young player, he has a lot of work to do but he has a lot of the intangibles that I think you need in today's game."

Smarts are a big part of what makes Brown a good basketball player. He isn't a particularly explosive athlete, with a modest 33-inch max vertical leap, but he boasts a 6-foot-10 wingspan and solid agility. Being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to operate an offense helps him make the most of his natural abilities.

Passing is where his basketball IQ comes in handy. Brown is unusually good at distributing for a 6-foot-7 small forward. He averaged 3.2 assists as a freshman at Oregon and nine times had five assists or more in a game.

He can pass like a point guard and the Wizards are excited to implement that skill into their offense.

"Passing is contagious. We’ve been pretty good the last two years and with talking about that how we even want to take another step," Brooks said. "He has the ability to make a lot of quick plays and his ball handling is pretty good for a guy his size. That is one thing I was impressed in his workout last week or when we had him. He is able to take the contact and use his strong frame to get inside the key and make plays.”

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

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