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NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Pierce's impact on Wizards' 1st round pick


NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Pierce's impact on Wizards' 1st round pick

Welcome to NBA mock draft 4.0, Electric Boogaloo. Just to reset the scene for the Wizards...

  • Yes, the Wizards are in the market for a stretch-4 forward. At least that's the general consensus among the players and head coach after exiting from the playoffs. While that doesn't mean they will or must select one in the first round, there are a few potential options in the 13-30 range, including Arkansas' Bobby Portis, UCLA's Kevon Looney and Kentucky's Trey Lyles. There is also free agency. In addition, Washington could re-sign free agent Drew Gooden, who served in that role, and look to give Kris Humphries a true shot at earning minutes there next season, thus allowing them to focus elsewhere in the draft. For example...

  • Point guard - The Wizards have held two draft workouts so far. The only likely first round picks to visit Verizon Center, both point guards in local product and Wizards legacy Jerian Grant and lengthy Utah standout Delon Wright. Obviously not a screaming concern because of John Wall. However, Wall is the only true drive-and-dish guard on the roster. Ramon Sessions has one-year remaining on his current deal. 

[GALLERY: To see Ben Standig's full NBA Mock Draft, click here]

  • Wing - Bradley Beal has missed significant time with injuries in each of his three NBA seasons, leaving the Wizards with a scoring void in the process. Adding another perimeter shooter who could possibly swing to small forward works regardless. Washington might need a 3-man if Paul Pierce moves on, Rasual Butler doesn't return and Martell Webster can't regain his pre-injury form. Georgia State guard R. J. Hunter, Virginia's Justin Anderson and UNLV's Rashad Vaughn are names to track.

  • Interior help- Signs point to reserve center Kevin Seraphin leaving in free agency and Brazilian big man Nene is entering the final year of his contract. Louisville energy forward Montrezl Harrell is perhaps a more powerful version of Trevor Booker, but with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. Washington center Robert Upshaw is a physical freak.

Basically, if Pierce returns, the Wizards can essentially do whatever they want with the 19th pick because the essential core of the team will be back. Otherwise, that opens a hole on the perimeter, not to mention limits their stretch-4 options. In that case, Washington probably needs to address what would be a frontcourt need in round one because they will only have so much room available for a significant move in free agency, especially if they want to keep money available for a 2016 run at you know who.

[GALLERY: To see Ben Standig's full NBA Mock Draft, click here]

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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Little information out there about Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon

USA Today Sports Images

Little information out there about Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon

Wizards fans will know a lot more about 2018 second round pick Issuf Sanon once he takes the floor next month in the Las Vegas Summer League, but for now the 18-year-old point guard remains a bit of a mystery.

There are limited highlights on YouTube and stats available to evaluate him. Most who have an opinion on the player are operating on little information. 

For now, what we have are some video compilations and quotes from the team. Team president Ernie Grunfeld described Sanon on Thursday night and says he's a player who could someday play both guard positions at the NBA level.

"[He’s a] very talented point guard, combo guard who is very athletic and he has real good upside," Grunfeld said. "Very athletic [and] very talented. [He] makes plays, he has a nice shot and he’s playing very tough competition.”

Grunfeld mentioned Sanon's athleticism many times. The Wizards saw Sanon at the NBA's international combine and love his combination of size and speed. He is 6-foot-4 and 1/2 and noticeably faster than those he competes against in the Premier A Slovenian League. 

Grunfeld likened Sanon's size and speed to Tomas Satoransky, a point guard currently on the Wizards' roster.

"He's a good ball-hander, very competitive and a lot like Tomas. We drafted Tomas at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA.”," Grunfeld said.

The highlights available of Sanon show a guy who clearly stands out above his competition. He has a knack for getting to the rim and can finish in a variety of ways. There are also many clips of him blocking shots, sometimes in the post and often from behind on the fastbreak.

NBA.com has an interesting breakdown of Sanon's most recent season in the Slovenian league from an advanced stats perspective. They applauded his defense and the numbers suggest he puts that unique athleticism to use on the defensive end of the floor.

Had a remarkable year defensively for his age. Gets in a stance and competes to help make up for his lack of experience. Pressures the ball with quick hands, but lacks a degree of anticipation to stay in front of elite athletes. Still figuring out how to handle ball screens without overthinking things, but held his own anyways for the most part. Allowed only 0.471 points per Isolation possession [92nd percentile]. A bit foul prone, but forces turnovers at an impressive rate. Has a good work ethic defensively which should serve him well as he gains experience.

Sports Illustrated raved about Sanon's motor on the court and his hard-nosed approach, two things that would seem to bode well combined with his explosive athleticism:

Rangy, athletic combo guard who plays both ends of the floor. Puts pressure on the rim. Likes to get downhill and attack the basket. Shows flashes in transition. Lots of natural talent.

Sanon spoke with Wizards reporters soon after he was drafted on Thursday night and said Russell Westbrook is a guy he models his game after. He plays at a much lower level of professional basketball, but there are similarities with Westbrook in Sanon's size and knack for scoring at the rim.

The stats only tell so much of the story, as he was going up against lower competition. It is worth noting, however, that his shooting percentage was low pretty much across the board. In 22 games during the 2017-18 season, Sanon shot 29.3 percent from three and 40 percent from the free throw line.

The Wizards have realistic expectations for Sanon, knowing it could take years before he even plays in the NBA. Many second round picks never make it at all.

Grunfeld pointed to Satoransky's career path as a possible timeline for Sanon, meaning the Wizards may not bring him over until he's in his 20s. He won't be able to help at backup point guard right away, but someday perhaps he can put his athleticism to use and actually help the Wizards.


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