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Wizards sign Livingston, waive Pargo

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Wizards sign Livingston, waive Pargo

What's old is new again in the Wizards backcourt. Fan favorite Shaun Livingston is back.

The Wizards announced the free agent signing on Thursday while simultaneously releasing fellow point guard Jannero Pargo.

The 6-foot-7 Livingston, the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft who played 26 games for the 2009-2010 Wizards, was released by Houston during the preseason. Now he's returning to town as Washington seeks greater consistency at point guard while John Wall remains sidelined.

"We are obviously familiar with what Shaun brings both on and off the court based on his previous time here and we’re confident that he will be a positive addition to our team," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement released by the team. “His size and playmaking ability will give us more flexibility in the backcourt."

Livingston is expected to back up current starter A.J. Price. Wall could return to the court by the end of the month, though his recovery schedule remains uncertain.

During those previous 26 games in Washington, Livingston made 18 starts and averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds. In seven seasons with six squads, the 27-year old holds career averages of 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds. Last season in 58 games with Milwaukee, Livingston averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per contest. He spent the 2012-13 preseason with Houston, appearing in four games and averaging 2.5 points and 3.3 assists in 13.8 minutes.

In seven games this season, Pargo averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.6 minutes while flashing the poor shot selection that has made him an NBA journeyman. His final attempt with the Wizards symbolized the frustration.

Signed to a partially guaranteed contract on the eve of training camp following the news that Wall would miss several weeks with a knee injury, Pargo's run ended with a crucial late game miss in Washington's 107-101 loss at Dallas on Wednesday. After the Wizards trimmed a 22-point lead to three on the strength of Cartier Martin's 3-point shooting, Pargo chose to launch a potential tying shot inside the final two minutes rather than feed an open Martin standing three feet to his left. Pargo missed. Now he's not here. Draw your own conclusions, though as this link shows, Pargo's season has been historically not good.


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

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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.

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

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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:

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