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2019 NBA Draft: Five prospects with too much risk for Wizards

2019 NBA Draft: Five prospects with too much risk for Wizards

The Washington Wizards lucked out of the NBA Draft Lottery. Despite entering with the sixth best odds to land the No. 1 overall pick, the organization exited with the No. 9 overall pick in the June draft.

The 2019 NBA Draft class is not very deep in terms of lottery picks. While the No. 9 spot has yielded some excellent results in recent history, finding success at No. 9 in 2019 might not be so easy. The Wizards could decide to trade out of the pick, an idea gaining traction and one with real merit.

But if the Wizards do make it to draft night still in the ninth spot, they will have a bevy of options to choose from. We've already identified six players that make sense at No. 9. 

Here are five players that don't make sense.

Bol Bol, Oregon

- 7-2 C. Freshman.
It's hard not to be enamored by a 7-footer with deep range and excellent ball-handling skills. It's hard not to be impressed by what the son of former Bullets star Manute Bol did in just seven games as a member of the Oregon Ducks.

But the Wizards are in no position to take a risk at No. 9, and with Bol Bol still unproven, recovering from an injury and lacking a frame capable of withstanding an 82-game season, it would be ill-advised to take the leap here. No matter how tantalizing his abilities are.

Kevin Porter Jr., Southern Cal

- 6-5 SG/SF. Freshman.
The Wizards aren't just trying to stockpile talent, they are trying to rehab their togetherness and team spirit.. There is no denying Porter Jr. has the talent and size to be a feared scorer at the NBA level. But his decision making, both on and off the court are major red flags. Multiple sources close to the Southern Cal program confirm Porter Jr. was a major cause of headaches within the team, with his maturity issues playing a major factor in the team's lack of cohesiveness. 

There are several teams in the lottery that can take a leap of faith on Porter Jr. The Wizards, however, are not one of those teams.

Romeo Langford, Indiana

- 6-6 SG. Freshman.
Langford has an NBA-ready body, but he also has a season's worth of underperformance at the high-major collegiate level. Langford looked lost at times on the court despite his unparalleled athleticism and talent. he also struggled from beyond the arc, making just 27 percent of his 3-point attempts. He's not an incredibly efficient player either, often times careless with the ball or taking ill-advised shots. 

Langford checks all the buzzworthy boxes: Verticality, wingspan, potential, and upside. But what he lacks is what makes an NBA player an NBA player.

Nickiel Alexander-Walker

- 6-5 SG. Sophomore.
The Virginia Tech star has local cache and would provide the Wizards with immediate energy. There were games in which Alexander-Walker was a one-man wrecking crew, but others in which he was invisible. His lack of size was particularly evident during the Hokies' NCAA Tournament run. 

The Wizards wouldn't be fools for drafting Alexander-Walker, but it's hard to forecast how much impact he will have both immediate and long-term. He would also be competing for minutes with the team's 2018 first-round pick, Troy Brown.

Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

- 6-2 PG. Freshman.
The top 20 recruit in the class of 2018 played in just five games for the Commodores before a meniscus injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Garland has a solid frame and wingspan despite being only 6-2, and has exceptional ball-handling skills. He's excellent at creating space and is an adept shooter from multiple spots on the court.

But the Wizards are already without their star point guard for what's expected to be almost the entire 2019-2020 season. Taking a risk on talented, but unproven guard still rehabbing from a knee injury is not the best use of their pick. Having two elite point guards in no good if neither can stay on the floor. North Carolina freshman guard Coby White would be the smarter play for the Wizards if they are looking for their next point guard. 

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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has been all smiles in public when discussing his rehab from Achilles surgery. He has even remarked how smoothly this recovery has gone compared to others he's underwent in the past.

But his road back from a ruptured left Achilles has not been entirely free of obstacles. He revealed to NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast recently that he dealt with an infection that delayed him getting out of his walking boot.

That was already weeks after he first had surgery to remove bone spurs from his heel in January. He had a series of infections following that procedure, one of which helped doctors discover his Achilles had torn during a fall in his home.

Wall can admit now after the fact it was a difficult time for him.

"I've just put in a lot of hard work," he said. "For me to be where I'm at right now, with all the setbacks and infections and then finding out my Achilles was ruptured and then going through another infection, it was like 'man, when can I ever get past that point of just getting out of the boot and walking?'"

What made that last part particularly frustrating was where Wall makes his offseason home. He summers in Miami, a place notorious for its humidity.

"I was in Miami during the summertime in a boot. Like, man, I don't want to be in hot Miami in a boot, sweating," he said.

Nowadays, things are much better for Wall. He is doing on-court work at the Wizards' practice facility. He can shoot jumpers and do individual ball-handling and passing drills. He can jog and lift weights.

After months of waiting to just have his walking boot come off, Wall is very appreciative to simply be able to do anything on the basketball court.

"Just to do the ball-handling and be able to shoot and do the weight-lifting, that's a great aspect [of my progress]. It makes it easier for me because I'm in a great space where it's fun," he said. 

"I'm able to do what I'm able to do, even if I'm not playing at a high speed and running up and down, I'm able to shoot and do ball-handling. That's what I love to do."

Wall continues to make progress, now nine months removed from the Achilles surgery he had on Feb. 12. He is likely to be out at least three more months, and he could miss all of the 2019-20 season.

At some point, Wall may get restless, but he continues to preach patience towards his return. When asked by Chris Miller if he will start bothering the coaches soon to play, he said he's just happy to be back on the court in practice.

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