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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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Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Rui Hachimura continued his dominance in international friendlies Saturday as he put up 31 points and five rebounds in a winning effort over Germany.

After a highlight-reel performance in Thursday's loss to Argentina, Hachimura was back at it two days later.

That block at the 37-second mark is just filthy. It would also be goaltending in the NBA, but FIBA rules allow players to touch the ball at pretty much any time once it's made contact with some part of the hoop. Nevertheless, the athleticism to make this play is what stands out.

But Hachimura wasn't finished.

He looks more like Steph Curry leading that breakaway, dribbling behind his back and finishing at the rim himself than a 6-foot-8 forward.

With the international friendly schedule at its end, Japan will tip off the 2020 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Turkey. After a matchup with the Czech Republic, Hachimura and Japan will take on his future NBA opponents when they face the United States on Sept. 5.

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Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a blockbuster summer that saw them land Anthony Davis, before he won the NBA Finals as a role player with the Golden State Warriors, and before he averaged double-digit scoring and won the NCAA tournament at Duke, Quinn Cook was a star point guard at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Cook was in town this week for his fourth annual youth basketball camp at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover. NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller sat down with the former Stag, who he’s known since the now-Lakers guard was 14 years old, on the Wizards Talk podcast.

Miller talked with Cook about why he feels connected to kids in the local community and what it was like losing his father as a teenager. One of his closest friends is fellow DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, who helped him get through the loss of his father Ted when he died suddenly in 2008 after going into a coma following a colon procedure.

“My best friend Norman and Victor, their parents took them out of school, and they were with me for two weeks,” Cook said. “At the funeral, [head coach Mike] Jones had the entire DeMatha basketball program…come to the funeral and all sit together [with] their uniforms on.”

Cook also went on to talk about his time at Duke, the viral video in which he convinced some people at the mall he was J Cole and his obsession with winning before going into how he landed in Los Angeles this offseason.

“When Golden State withdrew their qualifying offer, I became unrestricted and had some teams call me and the Lakers thing, it just happened quick,” Cook said. “I had talks with them, AD called me, [LeBron James] called Rob Palinka for me, and Coach K called them, talked to Bron and stuff and we got it done.”

Check out the full podcast below and listen to Miller talk hoops every week on the Wizards Talk podcast.

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