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Sessions teaches Raptors he can run the Wizards attack


Sessions teaches Raptors he can run the Wizards attack

Ramon Sessions' run of four teams over two seasons eventually landed the point guard in the playoffs. The Washington Wizards are better off for it.

The Wizards jumped on the Raptors quickly in Game 4 on Sunday night and eventually swept Toronto out of the playoffs with ease. There was however one minor moment of trepidation during the 125-94 romp. 

Washington built a 20-point lead in the second quarter, but Toronto showed some life. The margin dipped to 14 in the second quarter as John Wall headed to the bench with three fouls and 4:02 remaining before halftime. Less than 30 seconds later, the Raptors closed within 55-44. Enter the locker room down single digits and perhaps the Raptors put up a fight while ignoring their 0-3 hole.

That didn't happen even with Wall only watching. Sessions had things under control.

"John went out with three fouls and I knew I had to come in," Sessions said.

He scored two baskets inside the final 2:36 including one of his three 3-pointers, matching a career-high. On Washington's final possession of the half, Sessions caught a pass on the right wing, pumped faked a defender in the air, took a quick dribble inside the arc and before the defense arrived snapped a pass to  Otto Porter on the low block for a floating jumper. The Wizards led 66-50 and the Raptors never got closer.

"I thought [Sessions] came off the bench and gave us a huge lift," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Whether running the offense or playing opposite Wall, Sessions effectively chipped in. He scored 15 points, his second-highest total since Washington acquired him from the Sacramento Kings for Andre Miller before the trade deadline during the mid-February All-Star break.

How Sessions scored the bulk of points was a bit surprising, at least considering his reputation at the time of the trade.

Washington swapped point guards hoping the 6-foot-3 Sessions would provide the roster with another dribble penetrator besides Wall and a quality defender. He's done that with the added bonus of sinking long balls.

The eight-year veteran is a career 31 percent 3-point shooter. Sessions was far worse than that in 36 games with Sacramento, hitting only 6 of 28 (21.4 percent).

Apparently the East Coast agrees with him. Sessions went 13 of 32 (40.6 percent) from beyond the arc in 28 regular season games with the Wizards. He made his first three deep shots in Game 4. The last time Ramon Sessions made three 3-pointers in a game? December 21, 2012. 

"They're playing me for the drive now so it's leaving me (open)," said Sessions, who added three assists. "With John coming off the pick and roll and me playing some of the two, I know I'll be spotting up a lot so I'm just working on that. They're giving it to me so I've got to take it." 

Sessions thought his second career playoff appearance would take place with Charlotte last year. Three stops later, it finally did.

"Man, it means a lot," he said of the deal to the Wizards. "Last year I was with Charlotte going to the playoffs and I got traded to Milwaukee, which was a rebuilding team. This year, I was in Sacramento rebuilding and got traded to the Wizards. It's been a blessing. The start of the season wasn't the best for me, but now I'm with a team that's in the playoffs. I'm just here to contribute and get wins."

He's doing just that.

“[Ramon] Sessions has been tremendous on both ends of the floor," guard Bradley Beal said. "He accepts that defensive challenge on any guard and on top of that he is learning the offense quick. He is able to push the ball when he is in transition. He gets to the basket fine when he needs to. He is really growing a lot so we are glad to have him on board and he has been nothing but good.”

RELATED: [Morning tip: 5 reasons why Wizards won series with Raptors]

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Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

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Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

The Wizards will hold their third pre-draft workout on Thursday at Capital One Arena, this time featuring four local standouts out of the six players attending. Highlighting that group is Yuta Watanabe of George Washington, the Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

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

Phillip Carr, F, Morgan State (6-9, 205)

Carr averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds this past season at Morgan State in Maryland. He shot 84.6 percent from the free throw line, excellent for a big man.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

James Daniel III, G, Tennessee (6-0, 172)

Originally from Hampton, Va., Daniel III played four years at Howard University in D.C. before transferring to Tennessee as a redshirt senior. He was the MEAC Player of the Year in his last healthy season at Howard. Daniel III averaged 5.6 points in 35 games for the Volunteers.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Marcus Derrickson, F, Georgetown (6-7, 250)

Derrickson hails from nearby Bowie, Md. He played three years with the Hoyas and averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and shot 46.5 percent from three this past season. 

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Etou, F, Tulsa (6-8, 235)

Originally from the Republic of Congo, Etou went to high school at Bishop O'Connell in Arlington, Va. He is Serge Ibaka's cousin and didn't start playing basketball until he was 15. Etou averaged 15.0 points and 7.9 rebounds this past season.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Robinson, G, Mount St. Mary's (5-5, 150)

The Northeast Conference Player of the Year, Robinson averaged 22.0 points and 4.8 assists this past season. He was a four-year starter at Mount St. Mary's.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Yuta Watanabe, F, George Washington (6-9, 205)

One of the best basketball players to ever come from Japan, Watanabe was a defensive standout for the Colonials who developed into a solid scorer by his senior year. This past season, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He is known in Japan as 'The Chosen One' and both of his parents played basketball professionally. NBC Sports Washington first reported he would work out with the Wizards this week.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent; best chance for NBA is as defensive specialist

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

The Wizards held their second pre-draft workout at Capital One Arena on Wednesday and the theme of this session was shooting. They hosted six players, four of which shot 40 percent or better for their college careers. Not 40 percent for their final season, like they developed a shot over the years, 40 percent for their careers.

Those four would be Aaron Holiday of UCLA, a likely first-round pick, plus likely second-round picks Devonte' Graham and Sviatoslave Mykhailiuk of Kansas, and Zach Thomas of Bucknell who may go undrafted.

One of the outliers was Moe Wagner of Michigan, who shot 39.4 percent as a junior. The other was Johnathan Williams, who shot 33.3 percent from long range in college, but impressed in the workout by knocking down more shots than expected.

Wizards executives raved about the amount of made shots in this workout and the players they chose to host help demonstrate that shooting is a need the Wizards are hoping to address. Head coach Scott Brooks said as much in his final meeting with the media following their playoff loss.

Here are some notes on the players that addressed reporters on Wednesday...

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

 - The brother of NBA players Jrue and Justin, Holiday said he is aiming to find the same success as them at the professional level. Both are good defensive players and Holiday said that is a big part of his game: 

"No pressure at all. I'm here to make my own name for myself... We all like to play defense... I just try to watch how they read guys and force guys into bad plays."

Holiday was informed his brother, Jrue, had just been named All-Defense. He was happy for him, of course.

"That's awesome. That's actually really good. I thought he would do it, too. Obviously, he's a great defender. Both of my brothers do well."

 - Bringing in Holiday was interesting because he is expected to be a first round pick and plays point guard. The Wizards, of course, already have an All-Star point guard in John Wall. Holiday acknowledged that fact, but believes he can play with both Wall and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal:

"It was obviously a question of why they would want me, but at the same time I know they need help on the backend, coming off the bench and playing high minutes and producing while John and them aren't on the court. Or, even playing with John Wall out there... with John and Bradley Beal out there, I could space the court pretty well for them."

Holiday would have no problem beginning his career as a bench player, if that's what happens:

"If the coach tells me to come off the bench, play a lot of minutes and get other people involved, that's what I will do. I also can play off the ball as well. I think I fit pretty good."

The Wizards taking a point guard in the first round is not that crazy of an idea. They have long been in need of a viable backup point guard and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors showed how much a really good backup can help.

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

 - Wagner worked out with the Bulls first and has the Nets up next. He said the Wizards workout was more intense than the Bulls, which is something we heard from many prospects last year. Washington apparently puts a greater emphasis on physical conditioning than other teams.

 - A native of Germany, and a seven-footer who shoots threes, naturally Wagner grew up a big fan of Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki:

"He was kind of our MJ. He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball. He's from where I'm from, too. It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

 - Questions for Wagner surround his defense and whether he can protect the rim, as he wasn't a shot-blocker in college. Wagner said he is hoping to show teams how his mobility can help on that end of the floor:

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen. Especially with the way the league is going; switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Devonte' Graham, G, Kansas

 - Graham also worked out with the Bulls first. He has the Suns, Hawks, Rockets and Grizzlies up next. He expects to work out for 13 or 14 teams in total.

 - Graham is from Raleigh, just like Wall who was in attendance. Wall and Graham sat next to each other to chat after the workout was over:

"We're from the [area code] 919 and we all stick together. I hit him up last night."

 - Graham also knows Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. very well. They were roommates as freshmen at Kansas:

"He was a goofy dude. That was my boy, though."

 - Graham said he has been talking to Jazz star rookie Donovan Mitchell about the draft process, as he and Mitchell share the same agent.


- Diallo visits: Is the Kentucky star a good fit?
- Turgeon talks: Maryland coach talks 2018 draft
- NBA mock draft: Post combine edition

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