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Wall on Webster: He’s a different guy -- and we needed him


Wall on Webster: He’s a different guy -- and we needed him

Teammates since 2012, but John Wall hasn't played a live NBA game with Martell Webster since last season. That's not happening any time soon and if it does in the future, it's likely not on the same side.

The Wizards announced Monday they waived the veteran forward and signed center Ryan Hollins. Webster had season-ending hip surgery in November.

"That’s very devastating," Wall said of Webster no longer part of the roster. "[He's] somebody that will always be like my brother. Somebody that came and helped us in a big year for us (in 2013-14). He’s proven what he can do when he’s healthy when he came to us. One of those players you wish he could stay healthy."

Webster provided 3-point shooting during his first two seasons with the Wizards, serving as one of the primary options for Wall, a pass-first point guard. However, back surgery, the third on his medical chart, before the 2014-15 season limited his availability. Despite some initial optimism, Webster never could get his body right heading into the current season.

"It was a tough last two years injury-wise," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Webster, his starting small forward for most of the 2012-13 season. "He did everything he could to try to get back to playing. Had one of the best summers I’ve seen. He came here in the best condition that I’ve seen. And then basically right off the bat gets hurt again."

If only Webster suffered an injury, perhaps he remains with the team. On Saturday against Toronto, five of Washington's 15 players were unavailable, including big men Nene (calf) and Drew Gooden (calf).

"It’s tough but we needed a spot with five guys down," Wittman said. "We needed to get bigger moving forward so it was a decision that needed to be made for the team. We’re still going to support Martell, be there doing what we can to help him in his rehab moving forward. That won’t change.”

Wall added said of Webster, "This year he came in with a great mind-set and better shape than from last year when he wasn’t in the rotation. He tried his best to all type of workouts to try to get to playing. When he went down it was kind of tough because you’re like, we need a position, a body. It’s tough to see him go. He helped us that one big year. He was going to be a big part of what our team needed."

Part of what Webster provided throughout his run in Washington and particularly those first two seasons wasn't about X's and O's unless the "O" stood for oddball. From changing hairstyles to humorous comments to simply viewing the world from a different lense than most -- and not being shy about letting you know that -- Webster, who turns 29 in December, helped keep the locker room mood light.

“He’s a different guy," Wall said. "We all accepted him. It was great for our team. He was who he was. He wasn’t trying to be anybody different.”

[RELATED: Antawn Jamison excited to join Wizards broadcasts]

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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

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

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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