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10 most exciting players to watch at the 2019 NBA Summer League

10 most exciting players to watch at the 2019 NBA Summer League

The 2019 NBA Summer Leagues kicks off July 5 in Las Vegas and NBA fans will get their first opportunities to see their squad's newest prospects take the floor at the professional level. The Wizards opted to select the first Japanese player in NBA History in Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura, and he alongside last year's first round selection Troy Brown Jr. will hope to lead this year's Summer League Wizards' squad to a championship in the desert. 

Here's the complete schedule for the Wizards Summer League:

New Orleans: 7/6 at 10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN.

Brooklyn: 7/8 at 5:30 p.m. ET, NBATV.

L.A. Clippers: 7/9 at 11:30 p.m. ET, NBATV.

Atlanta: 7/11 at 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2.

Top 10 players to watch in 2019 NBA Summer League

Rui Hachimura, F, Washington Wizards: The Wizards' lottery selection, Rui Hachimura will get to show the fans in the nation's capital exactly what he was brought here to do in Las Vegas and in their first game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Hachimura previously matched up with Zion Williamson in the Maui Invitational last November, where Hachimura's Gonzaga Bulldogs edged the Blue Devils, courtesy of his game-winning defensive stop.

Zion Williamson, F, New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson may have lost the game to Hachimura's Bulldogs, but it didn't make too much of an impact on his draft stock. The Pelicans' exciting young forward will surely sell out the gyms in Vegas, and will be the talk of the town.

Tacko Fall, C, Boston Celtics: The Celtics opted to sign the UCF big man to a deal Friday afternoon. Fall will be a fan-favorite in Las Vegas, and at 7'7', hopefully someone can get a good snapshot of him standing next to the team's 51st overall pick in Thursday's draft, LSU's Tremont Waters, who stands at 5'10'.

Fletcher Magee, G, Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks added the NCAA's all-time leading three point scorer from Wofford to their Summer League roster for some added firepower. As we saw in the NCAA Tournament, once he gets going, he's a hard man to stop.

Michael Porter Jr., F, Denver Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr. was held out of the entire 2018-19 NBA Season to rehab and is now healthy and ready to show the fourteen teams that passed over him a year ago what they missed out on.

Mike Daum, F, Portland Trail Blazers: Mike 'The Dauminator' Daum may have not heard his name called on draft night, but the South Dakota State superstar will be joining the Blazers squad in Sin City. 

R.J. Barrett, F, New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett will face off against his old Duke teammate when the Knicks take on Zion Williamson's Pelicans on Friday, July 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. It's not often that the day after the Fourth of July stacks up to Independence Day, but the two former Blue Devils are sure to put on a show.

Amir Hinton, G, New York Knicks: The nation's leading Division II scorer at Shaw University will have his chance to show that he can stack up with the best of the best.

DeAndre Hunter, F, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks moved up to No. 4 to select the UVA star and should be a fun team to watch from here on out.

Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic: Injuries hampered the Magic's 2018 first round selection but the former Texas Longhorn will hopefully be able to suit up in Sin City.


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2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Isaiah Stewart

Team: Washington
Position: Forward/center
Age: 19
Height: 6-9
Weight: 250
Wingspan: 7-4

2019/20 stats: 32 G, 32.2 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.1 bpg, 57.0 FG% (6.0/10.5), 25.0 3PT% (0.2/0.6), 77.4 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, DeJuan Blair

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 21st, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 27th, NBADraft.net 26th, Bleacher Report 26th

5 things to know:

*One of the strongest built players in this draft class, Stewart is a bruiser on the boards and on the block. He was a force in college, bullying his way to the rim with little resistance. His game is currently best-suited for the interior, as he lacks an outside shot. But he has been effective at every level of basketball so far playing that style, and his high motor will help his chances in the NBA.

*Stewart is one of the best rebounders in this class, averaging 8.8 per game including 2.8 on the offensive end. He was a bit inconsistent in that area, however. Seven times he grabbed five or fewer rebounds in a game, while 10 times he had 11 or more. He had 19 boards in a game against Oregon in January.


*Stewart was also a standout rim-protector, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Whether that will translate to the next level, however, is unclear given his height and the fact he does not appear to be an explosive leaper. He would have to rely on his length and instincts. Draymond Green makes that work, but few others have been able to.

*He hasn't shown many signs he can become a reliable outside shooter, but there are some. The fact he made 77.4 percent of his free throws is a positive. Also, he displays solid touch in the midrange. But given he didn't make many outside jumpers at all in college, he will be docked for his shooting in the pre-draft process.

*Stewart was a big-time recruit just one year ago. A McDonald's All-American and the high school player of the year, Stewart was ranked second in his class by Rivals and third by ESPN. The only player rated higher than him by Rivals was James Wiseman of Memphis.

Fit with Wizards: There are some things to like about Stewart's fit with the Wizards, especially the fact his two biggest strengths - rebounding and rim protection - happen to be arguably their most glaring weaknesses. His high energy and physical style of play would also be a nice change of pace on their roster.

If the Wizards drafted Stewart, he would likely slide into their bench as a back-up to Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. He could play the four alongside Moe Wagner or the five in small-ball lineups, perhaps with Davis Bertans at the four, if Bertans indeed re-signs.

The fact Stewart is a committed rebounder and rim protector would give head coach Scott Brooks some lineup flexibility, though it's questionable how Stewart would fit alongside Hachimura given neither would be able to stretch the floor consistently. If Hachimura develops a more potent three-point shot, then they could better co-exist.

Given where Stewart is projected to go in this draft, though, it seems unlikely he will be a fit for where the Wizards are going to pick. He doesn't have the athleticism or well-rounded game to be a top-10 selection. Unless he slipped to the second round, or the Wizards made a trade, the two sides probably won't line up on draft night.

But if he were to somehow slip to them in the second round, Stewart could make a lot of sense for the Wizards. Given his NBA-ready strength and motor, he could be a high-floor type of player with a good chance of becoming a solid rotation piece.

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NBA engaged in conversations for a late-July return at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

NBA engaged in conversations for a late-July return at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

The NBA appears to be on the path to a return.

The league is in significant talks with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 season in late July, with Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando as the lone site to resume the games.

News first reported that Orlando emerged as the clear frontrunner on Wednesday, and NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass confirmed such in a league statement.

"The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said.

"Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place," the statement concluded.


The league was also considering both Las Vegas and Houston as potential sites to resume action, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, the NBA is reported to prefer the Orlando location due to it's closed campus and ample hotel options. Commissioner Adam Silver has said he doesn't believe the NBA will need to have a closed-off, "bubble-like" environment at the resort when teams do return.

Earlier this week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA was expected to release guidelines near June 1 for how its teams can recall out-of-market players to return. Wojnarowski called this the "first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season’s resumption."

The NBA season has been paused since March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

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