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Morning tip: Injury catches Will Bynum off guard

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Morning tip: Injury catches Will Bynum off guard

Will Bynum hasn't played in this series with the Atlanta Hawks, and he only made one appearance in the final game of a sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the first round. But he's one of the last players to know that John Wall had five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist which could elevate Bynum into a more meaningful role come Game 3 Saturday.

After Paul Pierce, Ramon Sessions, Bradley Beal and coach Randy Wittman spoke to assembled media Thursday afternoon about the news, Bynum remained on the practice court working up a sweat with some extra repetitions. It's a common practice here with bench players who aren't getting a lot of time in the rotation. 

When was Bynum told? "Right before the game," he said, referring to Tuesday's 106-90 loss in Atlanta when Wall was a late scratch because of his inability to grip the ball with his left hand. The seven-game series is 1-1.

When Bynum was told the question was in reference to Thursday, his eyes eyes lit up. "See, I didn't even know that. Wow," he said. "Dang. I didn't know that. It doesn't change my mentality. Hopefully Witt will use me."

Sessions will get the start as he did in Game 2. For defense, the Wizards will opt for Garrett Temple. He's their best on-ball perimeter defender and the Hawks have plenty of scorers on the outside. For offense, Wittman could chose to go with Bynum, who is about seven inches shorter than Temple but can be more prone to offensive outbursts with his dribble penetration.

"Our guards have to get in the paint and create easy opportunities. We have to have great ball movement," Bynum said. "And we got to be aggressive on the defensive end. We've got to hit them first. It's pretty simple. The little things like that is the key. It's the energy, the 50-50 balls, the extra pass, the hockey assists, those are the keys to winning the game."

Sessions scored a playoff career-high 21 points in the loss. Bynum's career playoff-high came in 2009 when he scored 22 points for the Detroit Pistons. 

"Because we play Sessions and John together a lot coming down the stretch, in practice Will is getting a lot of reps a that second unit point guard," Wittman said. "He's comfortable with what we're doing and everything."

Bynum took a moment to soak in the news. The last player signed to the roster as a free agent in late March and the last to know. But if Sessions can replicate Tuesday's effort and Bynum rise to the occasion, in a strange way this could benefit the Wizards in the short-term. But that's being extremely optimistic.

"I've been playing for a long time so things happen. You have to be ready," Bynum said. "I know it's tough for John because I know how eager he was for this opportunity. I know it's tough for him. For guys like myself for whoever gets the call to be ready.

"For sure, we can still win. It's just going to be tough without him."

MORE WIZARDS: Compared to these fractures, Wall's unique (not in a good way)

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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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