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White not the only second-rounder heading overseas


White not the only second-rounder heading overseas

The Wizards selected Aaron White 49th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft - or four picks after the Celtics nabbed former William & Mary standout Marcus Thornton. On the surface, there appears little in common between the 6-foot-8 forward from the Cleveland suburbs with the inside-outside game and the 6-foot-3 scoring guard who played locally for Bishop McNamara before becoming the Tribe's dazzling all-time leading scorer. 

Regardless of their particular set of skills, common ground has now been established. Both are beginning their pro careers overseas for largely the same reason: No room with their new NBA team.

The sense that White would start his career away from the Wizards began seconds after Washington selected him. The Wizards are among the teams contending for the Eastern Conference title. They also acquired wing forward Kelly Oubre Jr., the 15th overall pick. Again, not much overlap in general skill and style, except that both White and Oubre obviously lack NBA experience. Rather than have two players simultaneously cut their teeth on the NBA level and take up two of their 15 roster spots, Oubre and his guaranteed contract stay while White heads elsewhere. Specifically, to Germany.

White stated that ideally he would like to stay with the Wizards this season, but this is scenario is a win-win. He should receive meaningful playing time with Telekom Baskets. That wasn't happening with the Wizards. Granted, White could have spent his first pro year stateside in the D-League, but then he still counts on Washington's 15-player roster. In this case, the Wizards maintain his future NBA rights while using that roster spot for immediate help. 

The Wizards also don't have their own D-League squad. They share Fort Wayne with other NBA squads, which means even if they wanted to keep White closer by, they couldn't truly dictate the terms of his role.


The Celtics, who are currently over the limit with 16 players on guaranteed contracts, are among the teams with a direct one-on-one relationship with a D-League squad. There is a good chance some of their other rookies - Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey - spend some time with the Maine Red Claws this season. 

Thornton will not. He agreed to a deal with the Sydney Kings of Australia's National Basketball League. ProBasketballTalk.com pondered why:

Thornton could have forced the Celtics’ hand by accepting their required tender, a one-year contract teams must extend to keep the rights to second-rounders. That surely would have been a non-guaranteed minimum deal, and Boston likely would have waived him after training camp. That would have freed Thornton to negotiate with any team in the NBA. Right now, the Celtics have exclusive rights to sign him – a huge bargaining chip. So why did Thornton agree to forgo the NBA contract he had on the table? There are a couple logical possibilities:

1. He agreed to do so before the draft. The Celtics knew they’d run into roster-space issues, and they selected the top player on their board who promised to play overseas as a condition of being drafted. That’s quite common.

2. Boston promised him a better contract next year if he delayed signing this year. Again, that’s hardly uncommon.

That's likely the same scenario for White, though we'll see about a contract for 2016-17. Granted, the Wizards should have plenty of roster space based on the amount of expiring and team-controlled deals on the current squad, but you never what the world likes down the line. For now, both White and Thornton begin their careers somewhere in the world besides the NBA.

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John Wall offers thoughts on Wizards' biggest offseason additions including Dwight Howard

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John Wall offers thoughts on Wizards' biggest offseason additions including Dwight Howard

At his final media availability of the 2017-18 season, John Wall highlighted specific types of players he wanted to see added to the Wizards roster this summer. Most notably, he pointed to an athletic big and bench scoring.

The Wizards ended up adding those things and more.

They signed Dwight Howard and Jeff Green to free agent deals, traded for Austin Rivers and drafted Troy Brown, Jr. in the first round. Howard is the athletic big and Rivers is the bench scorer Wall coveted.

Whether coincidental or not, Wall got his wish. And he's excited for the possibilities now that the Wizards appear to have shored up some weaknesses.

In his recent interview with Chris Miller on our Wizards Tipoff podcast, Wall offered thoughts on each key addition.

On Howard: "Even though he's older, he's still an athletic big and still has respect in this league. I mean, averaging [16.6 ppg and 12.5 rpg], he's a guy who can score in the low-post and block shots, a guy that gets a lot of rebounds and a guy that can catch lobs and do things that when teams switch against us or we're attacking the paint, if they help for a second then we're throwing lobs. Now, do you get more layups? Probably. Or, you get more wide open threes because guys are going to have to crack down on him. If you don't crack down on him, that's an automatic layup or a lob. I think that benefits us a lot. It's going to help. If you look at [Clint] Capela, DeAndre [Jordan] and those types of guys that are athletic, JaVale [McGee]. Even JaVale at times, being athletic and just getting to the paint. Guys are stepping up and you're throwing lobs to those guys. We have a person that can do that."

On Rivers: "I think it's going to be fun and interesting. Austin is someone who I've always watched since high school. He's a competitive guy. He definitely can score the ball. High volume shooter, once he gets it going, he's going. I think it just gives us that guy that we've never really had off the bench, that can create for himself and can create for his teammates at the two-guard position."

On Green: "Just being able to switch one through four, a guy that can post up if you put smaller guys on him. He can guard every position. He's athletic and can run the floor with us in transition. He does the little things that a lot of people don't notice."

On Brown: "He's very poised for his age. He doesn't try to force anything. The only thing I would tell him is just be more aggressive... and make mistakes. Try to make mistakes and improve your game to get better. It's going to be hard to find minutes and at practice at times with [Kelly Oubre, Jr.] and Otto [Porter, Jr.] and those guys being there."

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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John Wall does the Shiggy for the #InMyFeelings Challenge

Instagram/ John Wall

John Wall does the Shiggy for the #InMyFeelings Challenge

In one Instagram post, John Wall has joined the newest pop culture craze.

Started as the ‘In My Feelings Challenge’ stemming from Drake’s newest album, Wall also jumped in on the viral ‘Do the Shiggy dance’ that was created by Instagram user @theShiggyShow.

Late Friday evening Wall posted a video to Instagram of his “feelings wave,” dancing in his living room to Drake’s song In My Feelings.

The Washington Wizards point guard is not the only celebrity to join the challenge. Actor Will Smith posted his submission on top of a bridge in Budapest. Even Drake himself had to join in on the dance challenge.

In the post, Wall also challenged his bodyguard David Best, who responded moments later.