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Wizards look to Buck losing preseason trend in Milwaukee


Wizards look to Buck losing preseason trend in Milwaukee

Back in town after a three-game road swing, the Wizards (1-4) hit the trail again for Saturday night's game on the Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) home court, Washington's next-to-last preseason game. As you follow the proceedings online - no television or radio coverage - or check out the box score post game, here are three points to ponder...

1) Lineup and rotation - At the start of training camp, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he would use the preseason games to try out different combinations - the early games that is. Well, we're now getting pretty late in the schedule. After facing the Bucks, only contests against the Heat and Spurs remain before the Oct. 30 regular season opener at Cleveland. With Nene sidelined until, well, a date yet to be determined and fellow center Kevin Seraphin joining him on the sideline (actually neither made the trip to Milwaukee but you get the point), Wittman continues on with a patchwork frontcourt. Trevor Booker (hamstring) and Chris Singleton (shoulder) returned to action against Toronto and participated on Friday's practice before the team jetted off for Milwaukee.

"We’re battling. We’re playing hard," Wittman said. "We went on a weeks trip. Obviously, won the game in Cleveland. Took Brooklyn down to the end, took Toronto down to the end. I like what their heart is. Toronto, we gave away. We beat ourselves. That was really the first game I really thought that after looking at the film. Because of the little things that we didn’t do. I thought it cost us the game. It is what it is. We’re obviously still shorthanded. It was good that we had Book back for 15 minutes. Chris only played seven minutes. Hopefully, again, Book is probably going to be limited a little bit in Milwaukee. I try to get Chris some more minutes. We’re trying to work guys back in and get guys healthy."

At point guard, A.J Price has started three of the five games and turned in his best work Thursday against the Raptors. Another quality high-assist/low-turnover night -could push him closer to the opening night starting gig.

2) Where art thou, Cartier? The veteran swingman played only five minutes at Toronto and 19 minutes total in three preseason games. Yes, the Wizards have played in five. Meanwhile free agent addition Martell Webster has started of late, taking a firm grasp of a potential battle for playing time between the two perimeter shooters. On some level, this is hardly news as we knew the Wizards had more bodies than minutes available at the small forward and wing guard positions. On the other hand...

3) Final roster surprise? The Wizards can keep 15 players for the regular season roster. With John Wall out for several more weeks, one can imagine Washington holding onto its three additional point guards - Price, Shelvin Mack, and Jannero Pargo - though the latter two are reportedly playing with only partially guaranteed contracts. Yet with no Nene or Seraphin for now, the Wizards projected interior options are lacking, meaning keeping another big man (Brian Cook? Shavlik Randolph?) who can play the four or five might become an opening night priority.

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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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