Tomas Satoransky may be a rookie by NBA standards, but when it comes to being a professional, he might be closer to the standard than any other young player on the Wizards roster.
Satoransky played 31 minutes in the preseason opener vs. the Miami Heat. It’s not that he came off the bench to contribute eight points, six assists and five rebounds that will generate optimism. It’s how effortlessly he made it happen and showed an all-around game.
“It’s a little bit about getting the respect of the guys, of the league,” said Satoransky, a 2012 draft pick for the Wizards who spent the last four years playing in Spain. “When you cannot be scared, go for it and play, I was very excited to be there playing my first preseason game for an NBA team. Tried to show off a little bit, gain a little respect because that’s what it’s all about in this league. Not to be scared of anyone.”
Whether it was the simple pass on the fast break, or the one-handed bullet bounce pass to the post to break down the defense, Satoransky did it and was one of the few bright spots in a 106-95 loss Tuesday. He exploited Miami’s weakside defense with cuts off the ball for easy layups. He didn't need plays called for him to get buckets.
“He has great experience. He’s played a lot of professional basketball overseas. He’s played in a lot of big games, big tournaments,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “He knows how to play. The thing I love about him, he plays hard. You’ll never say, ‘Tomas didn’t play with great effort tonight.’ He played hard. He plays hard every night.
“He backdoor cuts. He gets off the basketball when it’s needed. He’s working and he’s developing a good shot from the three-point line. It’s not there yet but it’s improved over the last couple years.”
Kelly Oubre’s first three-pointer was the result of Satoransky pushing the ball off a miss and finding him in the corner. Sheldon McClellan’s only field goal was created by Satoransky’s ball pressure on the opposing point guard which led to a steal.
The 6-7 combo guard contested almost every shot by the man he defended, even recovering to do so. His deflection at the rim prevented a highlight-reel dunk by Briante Weber and Trey Burke’s first field goal came from Satoransky’s feed for a layup.
Brooks projected during training camp that Satoransky eventually could play three positions, including small forward. For now, it’ll be point guard or shooting guard.
His ability to run the offense will take the pressure off John Wall, who is out recovering from knee surgeries. It also will give Brooks a chance at three-guard lineups which could give the Wizards’ a truly unique look.
“I felt good at point,” Satoransky said. “Let’s see how it develops in the preseason. I hope to play minutes at both.”
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