Wizards

Quick Links

2019 NBA Draft Best Available: Three big men the Wizards could take at No. 9

2019 NBA Draft Best Available: Three big men the Wizards could take at No. 9

The 2019 NBA Draft is full of exciting talent, but some of the headline-grabbing names may be off the board by the time the Wizards take their pick at No. 9. 

Who are the best players Washington could realistically draft? Here's a look at three big men that could still be available with the ninth selection, and Chase Hughes' perspective on their fit with the Wizards.

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Age: 21
Height: 6-8
Weight: 230
Wingspan: 7-2

2018/19 stats: 19.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.7 bpg, 59.1 FG% (7.4/12.6), 41.7 3PT% (0.4/1.0), 73.9 FT%

Chase's Take: Hachimura could end up as the best option for the Wizards at No. 9, depending on how the board moves on draft night. He plays a position of need and would add scoring and speed to their offense.

Hachimura, though, wouldn't necessarily help the Wizards with their biggest weaknesses of defense and rebounding. And he may not offer the upside they should probably seek in their first round pick.

Hachimura may have a high floor based on his college production and style of play. But whether he has All-Star potential is a real question.

The Wizards need to hit on this draft pick either way, but ideally they would find someone who could someday make a major difference.

Jaxson Hayes, Texas

Age: 19
Height: 7-0
Weight: 219
Wingspan: 7-4

2018/19 stats: 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.2 bpg, 72.8 FG% (3.8/5.3), 00.0 3PT% (0.0/0.0), 74.0 FT%

Chase's Take: Hayes is one of the best fits for the Wizards among the players who could be available with the ninth pick. He does what they arguably lack the most, which is play defense and more specifically protect the rim.

The Wizards allowed the most field goals within five feet of any team this past season and the third-highest field goal percentage in that range. They desperately need someone who can block and alter shots.

Hayes would likely be the Wizards' best shot-blocker Day 1. But whether he can help them in other ways is a question at this point.

Hayes would represent a bit of a project for the Wizards and may not have All-Star potential because of his offensive limitations. Still, he remains one of their best options in the first round. Long-term, he could transform their defense and form a strong pick-and-roll partner for John Wall.

Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

Age: 22 (turns 23 in September)
Height: 6-8
Weight: 207
Wingspan: 6-8

2018/19 stats: 16.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 3.2 bpg, 68.7 FG% (6.8/9.7), 26.7 3PT% (0.1/0.4), 69.4 FT%

Chase's Take: The Wizards like Clarke, as evidenced by their interview with him at the NBA combine. And there are reasons to suggest he would fit in quite well with what they are looking for.

He would be plug-and-play and provide an instant impact at a position of need. Depending on what they do with their free agent forwards, he could even start as a rookie at the four.

They also need a complete overhaul defensively and he would help them improve on that end of the floor. He would provide rim protection and help shore up their midrange defense as well. 

Clarke plays smart, team-oriented defense and the Wizards need more of that. He could help them change their mindset on that end of the floor. Clarke seems like the type of player good defensive teams like the Bucks and Pacers would covet, that too often in recent years the Wizards have overlooked.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Rui Hachimura will take the 2020 Olympic stage for Team Japan

Rui Hachimura will take the 2020 Olympic stage for Team Japan

In exactly one year, all eyes will be on Tokyo as the Summer Olympics officially begin.

All Wizards fans' eyes will be on Rui Hachimura. The rookie will have the home-court advantage and see Olympic playing time, since the host country automatically qualifies for the games.

Playing for Team Japan is a dream come true for Hachimura.

"It has been always my goal to play the Olympics and it is next year, it's crazy," he told NBC Sports Washington. "I remember I always see the calendar and it says three years, four years, five years and now it is the next year."

This is a big deal not only for the rookie but also for his home country.

"Next year in Tokyo, it's a big thing we have been waiting for. Since, you know, when people started to talk about it when I started playing basketball." 

Assuming the USA Men's National Team will qualify for the Olympics, Hachimura may compete against one of his teammates. Bradley Beal was named to the 2018-2020 Men's National Team 35-man roster.

The USA Men's National Team boasts an Olympic record of 138-5 and has medaled in all 18 Olympic appearances. This will be the first Olympic appearance for Team Japan since the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Canada. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ted Leonsis expects Bradley Beal to take his time to consider new contract offer

Ted Leonsis expects Bradley Beal to take his time to consider new contract offer

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- There has been no mystery for the Wizards and their intentions to offer All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal a contract extension this Friday, July 26, the first day that they can. General manager Tommy Sheppard told ESPN their plan to offer Beal the full max, projected at $111 million over three years, a contract that would begin with the 2021-22 season.

Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis then reiterated as much following the team's press conference on Monday to introduce their new front office leadership.

"Brad is such a high integrity person and he wants the best for our fans and the best for our organization. So, of course, we will go pay respect to him and his management team and his family," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington.

What Leonsis is not certain of, however, is whether Beal will actually sign the contract. There are reasons why he won't – like the fact he could make over double the money in a five-year deal if he bets on himself, makes All-NBA next season and qualifies for a supermax.

Beal was apprehensive about signing a supermax this summer when asked about it in April. He said he needed to see the direction the organization was going because he wants to win more than he wants to squeeze every dollar out of his next contract.

Beal shared those thoughts about a contract that was expected to be worth $194 million over four years. Now it's less money the Wizards can offer.

Leonsis doesn't know what Beal will ultimately decide, but he does believe it will take time before the team hears his verdict.

"I don't expect Bradley Beal to say 'thank you' and sign the contract when Tommy goes to see him on the 26th," Leonsis said.

The challenge for the Wizards when it comes to selling Beal on their future is that they just reset the organization for the long-term. They restructured their front office to add Sashi Brown as chief operations and planning officer, beefed up their medical staff with Dr. Daniel Medina and created a new athlete development and engagement department led by John Thompson III. 

But these changes won't bear fruit immediately. They need Beal to see what they see down the road, how the foundation they have laid could lead to a winning basketball team.

Leonsis said he kept Beal updated on the process of finding new executives every step of the way. Leonsis, Sheppard, Brown, and others now need to get Beal on board with the long-term vision.

"All those things are put in place to show him that we're tooling this together for the long-term," Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington.

"Everything we're putting in today will be exponential. It is a commitment to grow and for a long time, not just for today or this summer for free agency. This is for the rest of your career."

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: