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Wittman: I can rebound better than Wizards' 'supposed big men'


Wittman: I can rebound better than Wizards' 'supposed big men'

Wizards coach Randy Wittman didn't imply anything. He called out his big men, namely Marcin Gortat, for not committing enough to defense or rebounding in Tuesday's 125-101 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of the second sellout crowd at Verizon Center this season.

It was a performance that was so bad that Wednesday, which likely was going to be an off day, is now a practice day with their next game not until Saturday vs. the Orlando Magic.

"It looked like it we didn't believe we could win, to me. You'll have to ask them that. When you lose a couple key guys to the team we still have guys that can play and play to win the game," said Wittman, referring to Bradley Beal (left shoulder) and Nene (back spams) who missed their first game of the season. "If you come out like we did, we're just too soft of a team right now.

"I might as well stick four guards and a center out there and play because we're getting beat on the boards with my supposed big men out there. We let teams take it to us the last three games. You can't blame turnovers tonight for not defending. We don't defend. Guys drive by us at will. We don't have any toughness. We don't hit anybody and rebound the ball. We had guys that played 27 minutes get one defensive rebound."

That would be Gortat, who had just three rebounds total as the Wizards (3-4) were pounded on the boards 53-41. Kris Humphries only had five. By contrast, point Russell Westbrook had 11 for the Thunder (5-3) in just 27 minutes. The wiry-thin Kevin Durant had 10 and he didn't even play in the second half because of a left hamstring strain.


"I can get a rebound, I guarantee you . If you give me 27 minutes on Saturday I'll get you a rebound," Wittman said. "That's what it boils down to. Fifty-fifty balls. The dirty stuff. We don't get dirty. That's on me. We got three days to find the guys that'll play that way."

When told of Wittman's comments, Gortat didn't object.

"We got our ass punked again, bottom line," Gortat said. "We played without pride, without any character. That's what happened. We would like to play just as OKC was playing today. We're not on their level yet.

"It's definitely my fault. I've got to take the blame. It's my part of the game where I have to rebound and that that challenge. I got no explanation. I just wasn't in a good position. Their bigs were actually crashing the boards harder than us. ... I got to do a better job, a much better job."

The Wizards gave up 68 first-half points. They gave up 72 in the first half in a lost to the Boston Celtics last weekend. They allowed 73 in the second half to the Atlanta Hawks the night after that. 

"Everybody wants to say they want to play but they're not playing the way we have to play and the way we're capable of playing. Defensively we're non-existent. We gave up 68 tonight," Wittman said. "Three games in a row. We're not taking any pride in it. Until we get pissed off as individuals, take a little pride, taking a stand for a defensive standpoint, it's going to be like that."

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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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