Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards aren't as bad as their record looks

uspw_6726376.jpg

Wizards aren't as bad as their record looks

It would be easy for Wizards fans to look at their 0-5 record, throw up their hands in frustration and say, “Same old Wizards.”

It would also be wrong.

While the Wizards have found winning basketball games difficult with John Wall and Nene watching from the bench in street clothes, they already are miles better than they were through five games last season.

Consider:

  • Through five games last season, the Wizards had been outscored by 61 points or an average of 12.2 points per game. These Wizards have been outscored by 33 points, or 6.6 point per game.
  • Through five games last season, the Wizards were averaging 85.2 points per game and allowing 97.4 points. These Wizards are averaging 88 points a game and allowing 94.6 points.

“We put ourselves in position to win every game,” coach Randy Wittman said, “even with some lapses. So yeah, are we ready [to start winning]. But we’ve got to do it. We’ve talked about confidence in individuals; now we’ve got to talk confidence as a team. But you got to execute.

At the start of training camp Wittman said he no longer considers the Wizards a young team, noting the arrivals of veterans Emeka Okafor, A.J. Price, Trevor Ariza and Jannero Pargo.

But Wittman also knows that changing the culture of a franchise does not happen overnight. Of the Wizards’ stating five, only Trevor Booker was on the roster at the end of last season and he’s only in his third NBA season.

“Randy is very patient,” Okafor said. “He’s doing an excellent job. He’s not deviating from what he does. The whole coaching staff has been doing a great job of teaching.

“We have a very young team, so they reiterate a lot of things. They go over just basic principles, and he’s doing a good job just keeping things uplifting, saying, ‘I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but we’re almost there.’”

That said, the Wizards’ next opponent could be its weakest to date. The Charlotte Bobcats are 2-3, but have not won back-to-back games since the 2010-11 season.

“I think it’s time to win,” center/forward Kevin Seraphin said. “We’ve been close the last games but we didn’t win. At the end of the day everybody wants to know who won the game. We have to play better. I have to play better. Everybody has to play better to get this win.”

Quick Links

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

ap_17300849478161.jpg
Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Little information out there about Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon

img_4775.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Little information out there about Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon

Wizards fans will know a lot more about 2018 second round pick Issuf Sanon once he takes the floor next month in the Las Vegas Summer League, but for now the 18-year-old point guard remains a bit of a mystery.

There are limited highlights on YouTube and stats available to evaluate him. Most who have an opinion on the player are operating on little information. 

For now, what we have are some video compilations and quotes from the team. Team president Ernie Grunfeld described Sanon on Thursday night and says he's a player who could someday play both guard positions at the NBA level.

"[He’s a] very talented point guard, combo guard who is very athletic and he has real good upside," Grunfeld said. "Very athletic [and] very talented. [He] makes plays, he has a nice shot and he’s playing very tough competition.”

Grunfeld mentioned Sanon's athleticism many times. The Wizards saw Sanon at the NBA's international combine and love his combination of size and speed. He is 6-foot-4 and 1/2 and noticeably faster than those he competes against in the Premier A Slovenian League. 

Grunfeld likened Sanon's size and speed to Tomas Satoransky, a point guard currently on the Wizards' roster.

"He's a good ball-hander, very competitive and a lot like Tomas. We drafted Tomas at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA.”," Grunfeld said.

The highlights available of Sanon show a guy who clearly stands out above his competition. He has a knack for getting to the rim and can finish in a variety of ways. There are also many clips of him blocking shots, sometimes in the post and often from behind on the fastbreak.

NBA.com has an interesting breakdown of Sanon's most recent season in the Slovenian league from an advanced stats perspective. They applauded his defense and the numbers suggest he puts that unique athleticism to use on the defensive end of the floor.

Had a remarkable year defensively for his age. Gets in a stance and competes to help make up for his lack of experience. Pressures the ball with quick hands, but lacks a degree of anticipation to stay in front of elite athletes. Still figuring out how to handle ball screens without overthinking things, but held his own anyways for the most part. Allowed only 0.471 points per Isolation possession [92nd percentile]. A bit foul prone, but forces turnovers at an impressive rate. Has a good work ethic defensively which should serve him well as he gains experience.

Sports Illustrated raved about Sanon's motor on the court and his hard-nosed approach, two things that would seem to bode well combined with his explosive athleticism:

Rangy, athletic combo guard who plays both ends of the floor. Puts pressure on the rim. Likes to get downhill and attack the basket. Shows flashes in transition. Lots of natural talent.

Sanon spoke with Wizards reporters soon after he was drafted on Thursday night and said Russell Westbrook is a guy he models his game after. He plays at a much lower level of professional basketball, but there are similarities with Westbrook in Sanon's size and knack for scoring at the rim.

The stats only tell so much of the story, as he was going up against lower competition. It is worth noting, however, that his shooting percentage was low pretty much across the board. In 22 games during the 2017-18 season, Sanon shot 29.3 percent from three and 40 percent from the free throw line.

The Wizards have realistic expectations for Sanon, knowing it could take years before he even plays in the NBA. Many second round picks never make it at all.

Grunfeld pointed to Satoransky's career path as a possible timeline for Sanon, meaning the Wizards may not bring him over until he's in his 20s. He won't be able to help at backup point guard right away, but someday perhaps he can put his athleticism to use and actually help the Wizards.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!