Four years in the making, but Tomas Satoransky will finally achieve his NBA dreams.
The Wizards officially announced the signing of Satoransky, who turns 25 in October, Thursday after agreeing to terms on a three-year, $9 million contract.with their 2012 second round pick earlier this month.
"I was just very excited to finally sign with the Wizards," Satoransky said during a media teleconference Friday about his emotions once he put pen to paper. "I told everyone it was a dream come true for me. I just can't wait to get started with the new season."
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This wasn't the first time Washngton wanted the high-rising 6-foot-7 point guard stateside. Satoransky appeared in the 2012 NBA Summer League with the Wizards, but then he went back to Europe. For a few reasons, this was the first time Satorasky felt the timing was right.
"I've been in touch with Washington all the time since I've been drafted," he said. "I think the last year I wasn't in a situation where I can contribute in the NBA right away. I felt like I can still improve in Barcelona ...This summer was a little different. I felt there was really big interest from Washington and I felt like there was a pretty good chance to help the team right away. It was time for me to go try out the NBA."
In previous years, the Wizards had clear backups behind starters John Wall and Bradley Beal, including Ramon Sessions last season. Washington entered this offseason with zero backup guards. Recognizing the playing time and growth in his own game, Satoransky made the move.
"I think I'm a competitive person. I'm looking forward to the challenge," said the Czech native. "The four years [playing overseas] since I was drafted really helped me to get experience, which I needed."
In the same season Washington selected Beal third overall, the franchise drafted Satoransky with the 32nd pick. Now the two will work in the same backcourt with Satoransky possibly serving as the first guard off the bench behind John Wall and Beal, who is expected to sign his 5-year, maximum contract extension in the coming days.
How Wizards coach Scott Brooks chooses to deploy the versatile weapon on the second unit or with the starters will be one of the more interesting storylines entering camp. Satoransky explained he often played without the ball in Barcelona, running the baseline, but also worked as a creator for his national team. "What I think I can help right away, I can create for the others off the pick-and-rolls, off the dribbles. I hope -- I think I'll be able to do that right away. ... I will try to help in any possible way."
Satoransky averaged 10.7 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 43.9 from three-point range in 43 games for Barcelona in the ACB League (Spain) last season. He also averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 assists in 29 games of Euroleague action.
Having studied the NBA game, having watched former teammates, including ex-Wizard Jan Vesely and Knicks forward Krystaps Porzingis, make the transition from overseas to the NBA, Satoransky realizes an adjustment period is coming. The NBA game uses a deeper 3-point arc than the Spanish league. The game speed and athleticism is at another level or two beyond as well.
Then there is the real life stuff, like moving far, far away. Satoransky and his girlfriend of five years will make the journey in the coming weeks. At least he's not going in blind, having visited a couple of times including after the 2012 NBA Draft. "It's a great city. I really liked Washington, D.C." He added, "It's a lot of change."
In more ways than one.