The 2012 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books. Time to reflect on what wewitnessed during those five games from your Washington Wizards. After reviewingJanVesely, up next, Shelvin Mack.(Literally as I submitted this post, the Wizards went ahead and signed former Indiana Pacers point guard A.J. Price, confirming the belief held by me and others that the team could not enter next season with a status quo point guard depth chart. Guess Wizards agreed. Some reasons why exist below...)2012 Summer League stats: 11 points, 2.4 assists, 40.4 FGpercent, 29.4 3ptFG percent, 3.4 turnovers.The good: Reached double figure points in four straightgames, including 14 against the D-League Select squad. Confidence rose in allaspects when shots fell and Mack worked effectively on the wings assumingothers created a given play's initial momentum. The tireless worker on defense rarely appeared flustered and his attitude is of ateam-first nature. Assist totals not helped by poor 3-point shooting throughoutthe roster.On the other hand...: Essentially what the Summer Leagie was about for Mack is summed up in this Sam Cassell quote following the Wizards second loss of the session: "We're looking for somebody who can run a ball club. You know, we got John Wall, but after John Wall, we gotta figure it out, and that's what we're trying to do."Five games should not be the end allbe all of evaluations, but Las Vegas represented Mack's opportunity to show thecoaches and management that even if his transition to point guard remained awork in progress, it was working. Not sure anyone can claim that happened. TheWizards offense frequently stagnated or turned into one-on-one ball with therising second-year guard running the attack. Mack lacks the authoritativepresence as a dribbler, passer or scorer when it comes to initiating theattack. Even when he made it past his initial defender and found the lane, issuesarose trying to get all the way to the rim or sending a pass to the right spot.The quotable Sam Cassell, on Mack: I dont think Shelvinfrom last year never really had a long stint at the point guard position. Thisyear hes going to have to do that in order to be good on this team."Forecast...: There are two issues for Mack; the minutes Washington has available are as a backup point guard and this team has made it clear a postseason push is the goal. When paired with an aggressive backcourt mate,either a true playmaker like John Wall or an assertive scorer like JordanCrawford, Mack will prove more effective as an off-the-ball performer. RookieBradley Beal showed he can take over as a floor leader, but that is not hislong-term path and one the Wizards do not need him spending tons of ton as the19-year-old adjusts to the NBA game. Realistically at times in Vegas, with the poised Beal, pass-firstCzech prospect Tomas Satoransky and veteran distributor Earl Calloway alltaking turns, Mack was the fourth best offensive point guard on the roster. TheWizards are taking their time with free agency, waiting for the market tosettle, but it would be stunning if they did not add a veteran ball handlingoption. If the postseason talk is sincere, they cannot enter the season withessentially one stable point guard and Wall is learning the craft in his ownway.Any 2012-13 roster projection should include the former Butler star with thelevelheaded demeanor, squatty frame and quality shot from distance. In theright scenario, Mack could work as a fourth guard, but based on Vegas, hard torealistically project his name among the first wave of reserves.Update: While Price provides the team a more natural point guard option, the former Connectictut star's presence should not automatically send Mack to the end of the bench - though it likely will.
The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes.
The Wizards have reached an agreement with Michael Longabardi to become an assistant on Scott Brooks’ staff, @NBCSWashington has learned. He comes from Cavs, defense is his specialty and he’s been part of two championship teams. The Post first reported he was interviewing.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) July 20, 2019
Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history.
Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.
Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."
Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.
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- He's earned it: Why the Wizards decided to make Sheppard their full-time guy
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The process took nearly four months, yet the Wizards ultimately didn't look far for their new general manager, as the team is removing the interim tag from Tommy Sheppard. The longtime NBA executive will now finally get a chance to run his own operation.
Sheppard may not have been the first choice among fans initially when it was announced he would fill in for Ernie Grunfeld, who was dismissed from his post as team president on April 2, but over the past few months he has acclimated himself well, showing in many ways he is prepared to lead a team as the top person in charge. He cleaned up the Wizards' salary cap situation as best he could, giving them some newfound financial flexibility beyond next season.
Sheppard did that while flooding the roster with young, cheap and high-upside players. And he did so by making some tough decisions, ones that helped demonstrate he can provide an organizational reset despite his role in the previous regime.
Sheppard allowed Tomas Satoransky to walk in free agency despite being central in bringing him to the Wizards, first by scouting him overseas and then by convincing him to join the NBA ranks. He let Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker leave even though he was part of the braintrust that traded for them. And he traded Dwight Howard, again despite playing a role in bringing him to Washington.
Sheppard has operated with impartiality when the team needed him to. What he has done this offseason looks a lot like it probably would have if the Wizards had hired someone from the outside.
How Sheppard navigated the Wizards through the draft and free agency was central in why managing partner Ted Leonsis decided to elevate him to the long-term post. The last several weeks were treated as a "trial run," according to a person familiar with the process.
Sheppard worked closely with the team's ownership group, giving them written proposals for his plans that addressed goals, budget and contingencies. It was a collaborative effort to make the Wizards' roster younger, cheaper and harder working. They also set out to add more international players and accomplished that by drafting Rui Hachimura and by trading for Davis Bertans, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga.
Sheppard impressed Leonsis especially during the effort to re-sign Thomas Bryant. Bryant has become a favorite of Leonsis' for his consistent effort, character and enthusiasm. Sheppard and the Wizards were able to agree with Bryant on a new contract the night free agency began. It was quick and painless.
Sheppard himself will be signing a new contract, NBC Sports Washington was told. And there will be major changes to the organizational structure announced this coming week. In the basketball operations side, the team will heavily expand their investment in analytics, by "triple" according to a person familiar with their plans. They will also beef up their scouting department with an eye on Africa and Latin America.
Sheppard has done a nice job for the Wizards but the real work in many ways about to begin. Dismantling an NBA roster is not as difficult as building a contender. Now he has to find pieces to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal that can help the team win something of substance.
Sheppard will have to do that within the constraints of Wall's supermax contract. And he will have to sort out Beal's future, which could take a turn later this month.
On July 26, the Wizards can officially offer Beal a contract extension worth approximately $111 million over three years. But there is a long list of clues that suggest he will not take the offer.
How Sheppard, Beal and the Wizards handle the fallout in the event he turns them down would be a test in itself. Maybe they spin it simply as Beal betting on himself. If he makes All-NBA next season, he could make well over $200 million with a five-year supermax.
For Sheppard, the hard work is about to start. He is set to guide the Wizards into a new era, one he and the team hope can reach a higher peak than the last.
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