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NBA Draft: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist profile

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NBA Draft: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist profile

Should the NBA lottery gods not deem the Wizards worthy of the number one overall pick, which would mean no Anthony Davis.That could also mean Davis' fellow Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist becomes the Wizards' target. In the coming days and weeks I'll offer up my own thoughts on whether the assertive small forward with a developing perimeter game is the right guy for the locals - in general, I like his spirit, but need more convincing he's the shooter they need. Until then, here's a Kidd-Gilchrist profile courtesy of Ed Isaacson from NBADraftblog.com. The post below is a meretaste of Isaacson's extensive report. I have never met Ed, but he's become a valued NBA Draft sounding board on Twitter. In terms of MKG, I'm thinking my overall take could indeed read very similar to this one...Perimeter Offense- If there is a major weakness in Kidd-Gilchrists game; you are immediately drawn to his perimeter shooting. It isnt a matter of just getting shots to fall; his form leaves him little chance of ever being a good shooter without a major change. He does a good job getting square to the basket and he has a high release. However, the motion from catch to release is not smooth at all...If he can correct his form, Kidd-Gilchrist can be a legitimate threat from the perimeter. He uses his dribble well to create space and knows how to use screens well to get good looks.BallhandlingHandsPenetration- Kidd-Gilchrist is an above-average ballhandler for his size, doing a good job with both hands and keeping the ball close to his body and low to the ground. He has a good hesitation move off the dribble and showed a decent crossover and spin move a few times during the season...The key to Kidd-Gilchrists offensive game is his ability to get into the lane. He is agile for his size, but uses his strength to force his way to the basket, and he doesnt shy away from contact. ReboundingPassing- Kidd-Gilchrist is a fantastic offensive rebounder, combining strength with an ability to know where missed shots will go and get to the spot. Fundamentally, he does most of the things you like to see from the top rebounders he uses his body well to create space, goes strong after the ball with his arms extended, and he keeps it high until the area is clear... As a passer, Kidd-Gilchrist is average. Perimeter Defense- Kidd-Gilchrist is a strong perimeter defender, with the ability to guard multiple positions. He positions himself very well, stays low in front of the ball, and has very good lateral movement for his size. His foot speed is good for the college level, but will need to be a bit quicker to guard NBA forwards. Summary & Intangibles - Gauging Kidd-Gilchrists draft range has been one of the more difficult jobs I have had this season. Popular perception has him in the Top 3, but in most cases I disagree with it. Teams picking in the Top 4 or 5, if that is where there record dictates, usually need more than a 3rd option offensively on their team, and in my view, that is what Kidd-Gilchrist will be in the NBA, a great 2nd or 3rd guy, but not a teams top guy or the guy you build your future team around. I think Kidd-Gilchrist will have a very good to great NBA career... Again, popular opinion seems to be he will learn to fix his shot, but that is far from a guarantee, and a big risk to take...While he will probably go in the 2-4 range of the 1st round, smart teams will determine his value to reflect more the 6-10 range.

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.

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Wizards GM reset: Blazers' Neil Olshey, Warriors exec potential targets?

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Wizards GM reset: Blazers' Neil Olshey, Warriors exec potential targets?

The Washington Wizards remain without a President of Basketball Operations since firing Ernie Grunfeld April 2. While several candidates met with owner Ted Leonsis, including Denver’s Tim Connelly, the pursuit continues though largely in silence.

The vibe coming out of the organization is that of patience even with the fan base growing restless as the June 20 NBA Draft looms and prospect workouts starting a week or so out.

There have been no reports of candidate interviews since Washington met over the weekend with Connelly. Speculation and logic have the Wizards considering candidates beyond the previously reported group already brought in for interviews.

We can connect some dots and land on one executive whose team is still in the playoffs: Golden State assistant general manager Larry Harris.

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations, the architect behind the Portland squad that reached the 2019 Western Conference Finals.

Before we explain both scenarios, one more thought on Connelly specifically the pursuit and big swing.

While Connelly wasn’t the first candidate meeting, it’s clear the Wizards waited for him. The 54-win Nuggets were eliminated from the second round of the playoffs May 12. Connelly flew to Washington for a meeting with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis five days later.

The Baltimore native sincerely weighed a contract offer from the Wizards before choosing to remain in Denver, sources told NBC Sports Washington.

The Wizards previously interviewed former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver and Wizards interim front office leader Tommy Sheppard.

While all three are considered credible candidates, none is an active GM or team president. None represents a big swing, the kind Leonsis hinted he would pursue in his first comments after dismissing Grunfeld.

“One thing I will say: I think this is the best job in sports,” Leonsis said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any issues in attracting really, really great people.”

Olshey, 54, began running Portland’s front office in June of 2012. Over the next 12 months, he drafted guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and hired head coach Terry Stotts. The quartet created the culture that fueled the current streak of six consecutive playoff appearances.

The 53-win Blazers advanced to the franchise’s first WCF appearance since 2000 before losing the series to Golden State 4-0.

It's uncertain the level of pursuit for Olshey from Washington, but the Wizards could face another uphill climb trying to lure the proven executive considering the similar contractual and team success to Connelly's situation. 

The general interest in Olshey began several weeks back, but the Wizards had yet to ask the Blazers for permission to interview Olshey as of Wednesday according to a source. Portland's season ended Monday with the Game 4 loss to Golden State. 

Olshey agreed to an extension in 2017 that carries his contract through the 2020-21 season. Sources believe he is open to considering other options including Washington after seven years with the Blazers.

Reporting from Portland has the franchise likely to be sold following the 2018 passing of team owner Paul Allen. 

Lillard received All-NBA honors Thursday and with it a supermax extension for four-years, $191 million dollars. If offered and signed, the contract would put constraints on Portland's salary cap structure.

As for Harris, the former Bucks GM joined the Warriors in 2008 as an assistant coach before eventually moving into the front office. He was named assistant GM in 2016.

ESPN reported Harris interviewed for the Pelicans opening in April before the NBA Playoffs began.

Note the familiar names. Gersson Rosas, who subsequently became the Timberwolves President, also interviewed with the Wizards.

The connection with the Wizards and Pelicans is Mike Forde, an outside consultant who helped both teams during their respective searches.

It’s no leap imagining Forde pushing the Wizards to meet with an executive who just spent the past five years in the NBA Finals (The Bucks never finished above .500 in five seasons with Harris, however). Waiting could mean until after Game 4 of the NBA Finals (June 7). Going the full seven games means June 16.

Another front office headliner still in the postseason is Toronto’s Masai Ujiri. NBC Sports Washington previously reported Ujiri showed interest in Washington. Expectations of high salary demands and compensation from the Raptors for their President of Basketball Operations stunted any serious movement, according to a source.

For now, Sheppard runs the show. He led the Wizards’ contingent at last week’s NBA Combine in Chicago. As for Ferry or Weaver, as of Wednesday it was considered unlikely either heard from Washington since the organization ramped up the pursuit of Connelly or learned of the Denver executive's decision, according to sources familiar with the situation.

 For now, all anyone on the outside can do is wait patiently just like the organization and see which name bubbles up next.

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