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Wizards 2017 NBA Draft prospect profile: SF Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson

Wizards 2017 NBA Draft prospect profile: SF Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson

The Washington Wizards hold the 52nd overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Who will they take? Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select. Check back for more as we continue to get closer to the draft...

Name: Jaron Blossomgame
School: Clemson
Position: Small forward
Age: 23
Height: 6-7
Weight: 214
2016/17 stats: 17.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.9 bpg, 49.8 FG%, 25.5 3PT% (0.7 3P/2.8 3PA), 71.3 FT%
Projections: DraftExpress 54th, NBADraft.net 43rd

5 things to know:

*Blossomgame proved himself as a scorer in the tough ACC as a four-year player for the Clemson Tigers. He enjoyed a breakout season last year as a junior by averaging 18.7 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting from the field. As a senior, those numbers dipped to 17.6 points per game on 49.8 percent shooting, still very good for a guy who was the focus of every opposing defense.

*He is an excellent rebounder for a small forward. He averaged 6.5 boards per game in his four years at Clemson, including 8.2 as a sophomore. Last season he grabbed 6.3 per game. He had 20 double-digit rebounding games in his career, including seven games with 12 or more.

*Blossomgame's shooting ability is an interesting case to evaluate. He was not a threat from three-point range for three of his four years, but as a junior he knocked down 44.1 percent from three on 3.3 attempts per game. The next year, however, he took a major step back and posted an ugly 25.5 percent from beyond the arc. Blossomgame became consistent at the free throw line (72.3% for his career) after shooting just 59.6 percent as a freshman, so that trajectory is encouraging.

*He is the second-oldest player in DraftExpress.com's top 100 prospects group. That said, his athleticism should convince teams he has a high ceiling to tap into. He is a full 6-foot-7 with shoes, boasts a 6-foot-10 wingspan and a decent 35.5-inch vertical leap.

*He redshirted as a freshman due to a compound fracture in his leg that he suffered late in his senior year of high school. He then had another surgery on that leg the following year in 2013.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards may not need a player like Blossomgame if they have plans to re-sign Otto Porter and/or Bojan Bogdanovic. But if they expect to let either go, Blossomgame could represent an intriguing scoring option off their bench to offset Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s defense. Blossomgame could also play some at the four position in small-ball lineups.

RELATED: What type of career can we expect from pick No. 52?

Best highlight video:


Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas

Tyler Dorsey, SG, Orgeon

Josh Hart, SG, Villanova

Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State

P.J. Dozier, PG/SG South Carolina

Dwayne Backon, SF, Florida State

Cameron Oliver, PF, Nevada

Wesley Iwundu, SG, Kansas State


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John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

In just a few months, Nationals star Bryce Harper could become one of the biggest free agents not just in baseball history, but sports history. He will decide whether to stay in Washington with the team that drafted him and oversaw his development as a young player, or to leave for another city.

Wizards guard John Wall has twice faced the prospect of free agency and twice has decided to sign contract extensions to stay in D.C. Though the salary structures of baseball and basketball are different, there are some parallels between the two. 

Wall has a unique perspective on the call Harper has to make and gave his opinion on the matter in a 1-on-1 interview on the latest episode of our Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"Well, it’s kind of tough. It depends on if you want to do it off of loyalty, or if you want to do it to make sure you make the most money you can make. That’s the toughest decision that you can have. I have the opportunity here where I have loyalty and I can also make the money, so that was a bonus and a plus for me in both situations," Wall said. 

Wall noted how as an NBA player he can have the best of both worlds. The league's collective bargaining agreement allows teams to pay players they drafted significantly more money.

That, however, has not stopped NBA stars from changing teams. Wall in many ways is an outlier as many superstars have left money on the table to depart their original teams. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George have all done that, to name a few. Kawhi Leonard could be next.

Harper, though, may also be able to make more money elsewhere. The Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox or some other team could conceivably offer more money than the Nats and there are some cities like L.A. and New York that could open up more endorsement opportunities.

There's no question it pays to be the best player on the Yankees. Look at Derek Jeter and how his stardom was boosted by that distinction.

Loyalty is also going to come into play for Harper and the past few days have shown he is a sentimental person, as he has talked about all the people he has connected with over the years and how much the Washington community means to him.

Wall took all of those things into account when he decided to stay in D.C. and not look elsewhere via free agency or trades, which have become commonplace for All-Star players in the NBA.

"It was how much what the city means to me is the reason I wanted to stay and what I want to bring here is a championship, it’s what I promise and I hope I can do that," Wall said. "My dad’s from here. Just the way they welcomed me from the first day I came here. Sticking with me through the tough times, when we wasn’t winning early on and then we started to win. The city just embraced me and I embraced the city back. It feels like home and I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else."

Though the difference in money likely won't be as drastic, Harper will have to choose how much loyalty and the human connection he has with people in Washington matters in his free agency decision. Wall knows the feeling.

Hear Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says


Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.




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