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2019 NBA Draft Big Board 7.0: Defining UNC's Coby White role, Wizards fit

2019 NBA Draft Big Board 7.0: Defining UNC's Coby White role, Wizards fit

As the NBA’s evolution toward positionless basketball continues, North Carolina’s Coby White puts himself into a specific box.

“I’m a point guard.”

The Tar Heel freshman made the role-defining comment to reporters at last month’s NBA Combine in Chicago. The statement came across as more personal focus than a defiant attitude.

White entered college after becoming the all-time leading high school scorer in North Carolina history. He left Chapel Hill after setting toppling Michael Jordan’s freshman scoring record -- and with facilitating skills still considered a work in progress.

The promise is evident. Typically mock draft slotting sends White to teams (Suns at 6, Bulls at 7) seeking point guard help.

“[Like] a lot of point guards in the league, I’m a scoring point guard,” White told NBC Sports Washington in Chicago. “At Carolina, I came in as just a scorer. Coach (Roy) Williams helped me become more of a point guard. My playmaking and facilitating got better as the year went on.”

That the 6-foot-5 White is definitely a point guard isn’t a universal belief, however. ESPN’s rankings list him as a shooting guard. The very first words under the strengths (“Energetic scoring guard who can fill it up in a hurry”) and weaknesses (“Wild decision-maker”) sections highlight the 19-year-old’s current game.

What matters most are the opinions from league executives, especially those whose teams are selecting in the 5-9 range in the June 20 NBA Draft. That includes the Wizards, who own the ninth selection.

The current consensus has White off the board before Washington’s turn, though the Wizards will meet with the UNC product this week at the team’s practice facility. That’s logical -- at the Combine White estimated his draft range extended from 5 to 9 -- but also goes against recent reporting.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the guard -- oops, point guard -- skipped the second day of the Combine because he received a draft “promise” from a team with a top-6 selection. Yet White is slated to visit Washington this week.

The need for the Wizards is evident. Starting point guard John Wall will miss the majority if not all of the entire 2019-20 season following surgery on his ruptured left Achilles in February. The team’s other point guards, Tomas Satoransky and Chasson Randle, are free agents.

Washington’s offense lost the speed element without Wall. Nobody can state definitively how close the 5-time All-Star remains to his physical prime upon returning.

White, who averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists last season, offers burst with the ball. He is also working on that change-up. “I’ve been working on that a lot in workouts the past month,” White said of changing pace at the Combine. “Use my speed to my advantage, let the game come to me and it’ll slow it down for me.”

What’s interesting about White for the Wizards, beyond the talent and scoring, is the potential long-term fit with Wall and Bradley Beal. Not only could he contribute next season on-ball, but his size and shooting -- White ranked among college basketball’s top 3-point catch-and-shoot threats last season according to ESPN -- makes for an interesting pairing with Wall.

“I think it would be a great experience for me to play with players of that caliber,” White told NBC Sports Washington of possibly joining forces with Beal and Wall.

The Wizards’ roster situation is such that talent at any position trumps need. That White’s game suggests more than just a singular role makes him appealing in Washington.

  • The Wizards plan on bringing 10-12 players in for workouts with the ninth selection in mind. That’s a large pool. Some of that is simply learning more about players who might be available in free agency or trades in the future. It also speaks to the uncertainty with this selection. Most public big boards have the same top eight prospects in varying order, while the gap between players 9-20 or so isn’t considered significant.

Read the names on the Big Board below for the likely candidates stopping by. Considering the wide net cast, who doesn’t stop by Ward 8 may ultimately become more interesting than who does.

  • France’s Sekou Doumbouya is expected to meet with the Wizards in the coming days and perhaps as soon as this weekend, according to a source. Doumbouya would make plenty of sense for Washington if the immediate plan is patience over playoffs. The raw 6-foot-9 forward is the youngest player in the 2019 class and needs more seasoning before turning into a primary contributor. Doumbouya’s length and defensive versatility mesh perfectly with the modern NBA. Since the other expected options at 9 are also risk-reward types, going for this kid isn’t as scary compared to other drafts.
  • Keep in mind with these pre-draft workouts that the Wizards’ two two-way player slots are empty. They gave Jordan McRae an NBA contract and released Devin Robinson. It’s also rather conceivable an undrafted free agent makes the NBA roster considering the number of open spots and the need to add inexpensive contracts.

2019 NBA Draft Big Board

1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

5. Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

7. Coby White, SG, UNC

8. Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

9. Sekou Doumbouya, PF, International

10. Nassir Little, SF, UNC

11. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

12. Bol Bol, PF, Oregon

13. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

14. Goga Bitadze, C, International

15. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

16. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

17. PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

18. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

19. Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky

20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Va. Tech

21. Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia

22. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

23. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

24. Cameron Johnson, PF, UNC

25. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

26. Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Fla. St.

27. Nicolas Claxton, C, Georgia

28. Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

29. Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

30. KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford

31. Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

32. Admiral Schofield, PF, Tennessee

33. Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

34. Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State

35. Darius Bazley, SF, USA

36. Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova

37. Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont

38. Jalen Lecque, SG, USA

39. Louis King, SF, Oregon

40. Isaiah Roby, SF, Nebraska

41. Tremont Waters, PG, LSU

42. Jordan Bone, PG, Tennessee

43. Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

44. Naz Reid, C, LSU

45. Brian Bowen, PF, USA

46. Jalen McDaniels, PF, San Diego State

47. Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

48. Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College

49. Shamorie Ponds, PG, St. John’s

50. Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn

51. Zach Norvell, SG, Gonzaga

52. Deividas Sirvydis, F, Lithuania

53. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest

54. Charles Matthews, SF, Michigan

55. Miye Oni, F, Yale

56. Ignas Brazdeikis, PF, Michigan

57. Terence Davis, SG, Mississippi

58. DaQuan Jeffries, SG, Tulsa

59. Cody Martin, SG, Nevada

60. Yovel Zoosman, F. Israel

Others: Quinndary Weatherspoon, SG, Miss. St; Dedric Lawson, F. Kansas; Jordan Poole, SG, Michigan; Marcos Louzada Silva, SF, Brazil; Terance Mann, G, Florida State


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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

While protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, the world's biggest sports figures, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James, have used their platforms to make it clear where they stand on the numerous social issues fueling the protests.

You can now add the Washington Wizards to that group. Early Monday morning, the Wizards posted a "united statement" on social media in response to Floyd's death and the protests that have followed.

Included in the post are four separate statements.

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura were among players to share the same statements on Instagram.


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Athletes react to death of George Floyd, ongoing civil unrest in Minneapolis, other cities

Athletes react to death of George Floyd, ongoing civil unrest in Minneapolis, other cities

The death of George Floyd has caused outrage across the country, with thousands protesting in several American cities demanding justice.

Several prominent athletes, including former NBA legend Michael Jordan, Lakers forward LeBron James, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and many others, have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the ongoing protests and civil unrest.

Jordan released a statement on Sunday sharing his thoughts on the situation. 

James sent out this tweet early Sunday morning asking "Why does America not love us?"

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence sent out a pair of tweets on Friday, stating that "love must outweigh hate."

United States national team midfielder Weston McKennie, who plays in the German Bundesliga for Schalke 04, sported an armband during his club's match this weekend that read "Justice for George Floyd."

After scoring a goal during Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga match on Sunday, English winger Jadon Sancho took off his jersey and revealed his undershirt, which read "Justice for George Floyd."

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sent out several tweets regarding Floyd's death and the protests.

Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler, a Minneapolis area native who played three seasons for the University of Minnesota, offered his take on the situation:

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett tweeted he "doesn't feel safe" in America after Floyd's death.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tweeted this:

Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens shared his thoughts on the situation.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz:

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle shared his thoughts with this post, captioned "#BlackLivesMatter."

Wizards guard Bradley Beal engaged with several of his followers on Saturday, sending off multiple tweets about an array of topics surrounding the impact and style of the protests.

Mystics guard Natasha Cloud wrote a powerful piece in The Players Tribune, emphasizing that those who are staying silent during this situation is "a knee on her neck."

Monumental Sports and Entertainment said this on Sunday: