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Seraphin building on strong close

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Seraphin building on strong close

One might think, even in the world of basketballing giants, it hard for a wide-bodied 6-foot-9, 275-pounder to fade into the background. During the infancy of his NBA career, Kevin Seraphin largely managed to pull that off.

Over the close of his second season and through the opening days of training camp, it's been the opposite for the now 22-year-old center.

Funny what a little confidence can do.

With the media able to watch the entirety of Wednesday's split-squad scrimmage, the rising third-year center stood out for a "blue" squad that lost decisively. According to Seraphin's coach, that's been the norm this week out at George Mason University.

"Kevin has done good. He's been consistent, which I love," Randy Wittman said on hump day. "I haven't gone back any one day and thought I didn't notice Kevin out there. That's good."

During the scrimmage, Seraphin snagged multiple offensive rebounds in traffic. With the ball in his sizable mitts, he assertively and successfully took aim on the basket, whether a short jumper from the high post or quickly turning a rebound into a shot opportunity. The French Guyana native showed he's building on last season's impressive climax when he averaged 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 53.3 percent from the field over the final 16 games.

"I saw a lot of what I saw at the end of last year, which is positive," Wittman said. "Saw a lot of good things at the end of last year and we're seeing those same things here."

With Nene (plantar fasciitis) sidelined, Seraphin and Emeka Okafor are expected to handle the primary minutes in the middle for Washington during Sunday's preseason game at Charlotte. Even when Nene returns, Seraphin should not have his playing court time majorly curtailed if at all as the Wizards will look to impose their size on opponents.

Whether that playing time begins with the opening tap - or more likely as the first interior big man off the bench, the former first round pick and newly minted Olympian is ready.

"I have better confidence now. A year ago I wasn't playing. Now I'm playing. Now I have chance to prove some things," said Seraphin, who played sporadic minutes as a rookie and early last season. He became a lineup fixture following the midseason trade that brought Nene to Washington and shipped JaVale McGee out, scoring at least 10 points in each of his final 15 games.

"When you have confidence, you got more time on the court. Even if you have the same time, you feel like you have more time. Without having confidence, you try to make everything good. That's when you start to make things bad. When you've got confidence, you just play."

In addition to aiming for a playoff spot, Seraphin listed starting as one of his individual goals ("For sure, if I can be in the starting lineup, why not?"), along with wanting to be voted the league's Most Improved Player. With his self-belief brimming and having daily battles with his veteran mentors, why not.

"Those guys are really strong. Playing against Emeka and Nene every day, I can only get better."

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes has confirmed. 

Sheppard had been serving as Washington's interim GM since the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2. He oversaw the Wizards' 2019 NBA Draft selections of Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as their offseason transactions this summer. 

According to Hughes, the Wizards will announce the decision next week, with more changes to follow. 

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