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Rumor mill still connecting Seraphin, Wizards

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Rumor mill still connecting Seraphin, Wizards

NBA free agency no longer requires second-by-second attention. The superstars and coveted options now have homes. The remaining players aren't exactly leftovers, but the need to hurry with deals no longer exists. It's a buyer's market. 

Kevin Seraphin is among the players still looking for a home.

After spending his first five NBA seasons with the Wizards, the scoring center remains a free agent. Perhaps the idea that Seraphin would become something of a second or third tier hot commodity this summer was overstated. Then again, any fantasy football owner who has ever used an auction format understands that timing can change a player's value dramatically. Also, teams desiring versatile players for smaller lineups perhaps limited the big man's options. 

That's not to say Seraphin is without options. According to Michael Scotto with Sheridan Sports, the Knicks, Lakers and Wizards "continue to show interest."

In order for a return to Washington, the Wizards must open a roster slot. They currently have the maximum 15 players with guaranteed contracts. However, the backup center spot behind Marcin Gortat remains uncertain, at least until the team states Nene fills that role going forward. There also isn't much in the way of playing time up front especially with Washington planning on using Jared Dudley at stretch-4.

In terms of minutes, the Knicks might even make less sense. New York added big men Robin Lopez, Kyle O'Quinn and Derrick Williams this offseason in addition to drafting 6-foot-11 Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall selection. Factor in the likelihood that Carmelo Anthony receives time at power forward and Seraphin would need help for a consistent role.

[MORE WIZARDS One on one: Favorite Wizards offseason move]

The Lakers are another story. Los Angeles added All-Star center Roy Hibbert this offseason, but the former Georgetown star is more defender than scoring standout. Seraphin is essentially the opposite, meaning the Lakers could switch up their look depending on the situation.

The situation for Seraphin, J.R. Smith, Rasual Butler and others involves patience. Eventually teams will fill out their rosters. There just isn't a rush right now.

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Rui Hachimura is a 'late bloomer' in basketball, but the Washington Wizards like that

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USA Today Sports

Rui Hachimura is a 'late bloomer' in basketball, but the Washington Wizards like that

Rui Hachimura was introduced to the sport of basketball at 13 years old after spending his childhood on the baseball diamond, emulating Ichiro Suzuki, as many kids in Japan do. Just eight years later, Hachimura has charted his own path as the first Japanese-born lottery pick in the NBA after the Washington Wizards drafted him at No. 9 overall.

That trajectory is important to note when considering Hachimura's age. He is 21 years old, which is on the older side for an NBA draft prospect in the age of one-and-dones. But, you could say he's only eight in basketball years.

That's not a technical term used by NBA front office executives, but the fact Hachimura is a "late bloomer" was one of the biggest selling points for the Wizards. That's how interim team president Tommy Sheppard described him on several occasions the night of the draft and the day after. And even majority owner Ted Leonsis referenced it when asked about the pick in an interview with the Washington Times over the weekend.

While reason may suggest a younger player has higher upside, the Wizards are looking beyond simple age. In Hachimura, they believe they have a player who could benefit from not having the year-round strain of AAU basketball in his past.

"When you come to the game a little bit later, maybe you don't have some bad habits that you accumulate. You don't have a lot of extra miles," Sheppard said. 

"Those kinds of things resonate with us. You have to be healthy to play in the NBA, and there are so many players in this particular draft that for whatever reason, there are a lot of sad faces tonight because I think medical held a lot of people back. He has a clean bill of health, and that's exciting to us."

Sheppard could have been referencing any number of prospects who carried the label as an injury risk into draft night. With the ninth overall pick, the Wizards took Hachimura over Duke's Cam Reddish, who has several red flags, injuries among them. In the second round, they passed on Oregon's Bol Bol, who had a stress fracture in his foot, in favor of Admiral Schofield.

But health isn't the only potential benefit of picking up the game at a later age. Sheppard alluded to the development of bad habits. He thinks Hachimura is more of a blank canvas for the coaching staff and that could work in their favor long-term.

Sheppard made a comparison for Hachimura that was interesting for several reasons.

"With [Raptors forward] Pascal Siakam, you see what happens when guys come to the game a little late and what he was able to do. It's not the same, but if you ask me of someone who's story his reminds me of, it could remind you of something like that," Sheppard said.

Siakam's name was invoked over and over during the pre-draft process but more often to draw a parallel for Sekou Doumbouya of France. Sheppard was more so comparing the development track for Hachimura than the playing style, but it holds some weight.

There have been some famous cases of late bloomers in NBA history. Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan and Joel Embiid reportedly didn't start playing basketball until high school.

Duncan may be a good example of avoiding bad habits, as he is considered one of the most fundamentally sound players of all time. Olajuwon might be the most skilled big man in NBA history, and Embiid has a chance to become an all-time great.

What gives the Wizards hope that Hachimura will reach his potential and someday enjoy breakout success like Siakam has is his work ethic. The Wizards did deep background research on Hachimura, including through discussions with his college coach, Mark Few of Gonzaga.

They believe they found something in Hachimura that other teams may have overlooked.

"The things that you hope for and that you're optimistic about, they seem to be there. So, we're excited about that," Sheppard said. "It's really up to Rui and how bad do you want to be good?"

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How to watch the NBA Awards, where Bradley Beal is nominated for Community Assist

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USA TODAY Sports

How to watch the NBA Awards, where Bradley Beal is nominated for Community Assist

Despite the NBA world examining next season’s rookies and their potential in the days following the 2019 NBA Draft, we won’t know until Monday night who the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year is. 

Finally, the NBA Awards are here, and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is among this year’s nominees. Beal is one of 10 nominees for the 2018-19 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award, which celebrates players who have had an exceptional positive impact off the court. 

Working with Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, Beal’s off-the-court work included mentoring boys and young men specifically from D.C.’s Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. He made at least two visits to the all-male school this year, as NBA Cares explained:

Most notably, Bradley shadowed the principal for a day, participating in activities with his mentees, and gifted students with game tickets, basketball uniforms, toiletries and food for school’s pantry. Bradley later hosted the students to a private, advanced screening of CREED II, and led his mentees on a guided tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Joining Beal in the category are the following nominees: LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Pascal Siakam, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, Mike Conley, Tobias Harris, Khris Middleton and Dwight Powell. The winner of the award will receive a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.

Here’s everything you need to know about the NBA Awards, including how to watch. 

2019 NBA Awards

When: Monday, June 24, 2019
Where: Barker Hangar in Los Angeles
Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT

List of Top Awards and Nominees

NBA MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden, Houston Rockets

Past NBA MVP Winners

2018: James Harden, Houston Rockets
2017: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
2016: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
2015: Steph Curry Golden State Warriors
2014: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Rookie of the Year 

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Luka, Dallas Maverickssssss
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Past NBA Rookie of the Year Winners

2018: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
2017: Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks
2016: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
2015: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
2014: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Defensive Player of the Year 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Past NBA Defensive Player of the Year Winners

2018: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
2017: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors 
2016: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
2015: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
2014: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

NBA Sixth Man Award 

Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Most Improved Player

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

NBA Coach of the Year

Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers

Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award

Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Jared Dudley, Brooklyn Nets
Channing Frye, Cleveland Cavaliers
Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs
Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors
Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
JJ Redick, Philadelphia 76ers
Garrett Temple, LA Clippers
Thaddeus Young, Indiana Pacers

NBA Sportsmanship Award

Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

Lifetime Achievement Award

Larry Bird
Magic Johnson

Sager Strong Award

Robin Roberts

NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

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