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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Darius Garland

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Darius Garland

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Darius Garland

School: Vanderbilt
Position: Point guard
Age: 19
Height: 6-2
Weight: 175
Wingspan: 6-5
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 53.7 FG% (5.8/10.8), 47.8 3PT% (2.2/4.6), 75.0 FT%

Player comparison: Collin Sexton, Dennis Schroeder

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 6th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 6th, Sports Illustrated 6th, Ringer 6th

5 things to know:

*Garland played only five games in college due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. It was announced in late November he would miss the rest of the season. There is reason to believe the long absence was just precautionary with the draft in mind, as meniscus tears generally do not require a long recovery.

*Garland, though, also decided to skip the NBA combine. Maybe that is as simple as he doesn't feel like he needs to go. Perhaps he even got a promise from a team in the lottery and feels confident he will be picked high. But it won't dissuade any of the injury concerns until he proves otherwise.

*He has a very strong Wizards connection. Garland played AAU ball for Brad Beal Elite. He also lists Beal as one of his favorite basketball players in his USA Basketball team bio. So, if the Wizards need to do some background research on Garland and his character, they know who to ask.

*Garland is considered a scoring guard with a proven ability to knock down outside shots at every level he has played. Though his time in college was brief, he shot an impressive 47.8 percent from three on 4.6 attempts per game. He has also drawn praise for his speed with the ball and creativity as a passer. Defensively is where his biggest concerns lay, as he is going to be undersized at the point guard position, at least until he puts on some muscle. 

*His father played seven years in the NBA. Winston Garland, also a 6-foot-2 guard, spent time with the Warriors, Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets and Timberwolves. He was Scott Brooks' teammate on the 1992-93 Rockets. So, another Wizards connection.

Fit with Wizards: Garland's fit with the Wizards is not perfect, as he plays point guard and employs a shoot-first style. With John Wall signed to a supermax contract, the Wizards would really have to believe that Garland is the best player available at No. 9 to take him.

Garland, though, would have a big opportunity to prove himself early on, as Wall will likely miss more than 50 games this upcoming season. Garland could step right in as the starter, depending on what happens with Tomas Satoransky.

Long-term, the Wizards also may need a replacement for Wall, depending on how he recovers from his ruptured Achilles. They have to think in terms of insurance policies and Garland could fit the bill.

But given the Wizards have other needs, it would not be surprising if they fielded trade calls on draft night if Garland fell to them. He's good, but not Ja Morant good and it seems like other players would be better fits for what they need.

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Wizards reopen practice facilities after closing for two-plus months due to coronavirus

Wizards reopen practice facilities after closing for two-plus months due to coronavirus

After closing down for nearly three months due to the coronavirus, the Wizards are back up and running at their practice facility in Southeast Washington.

The team began holding voluntary individual workouts on Friday with a set of strict guidelines to protect everyone's safety. Each player can work with one coach on each halfcourt at the facility. Everyone in the building has to wear masks, save for the players when they are in the middle of workouts.

All equipment will be sanitized and cleaned after each use. And players and staff will undergo symptom and temperature tests before entering the building.

No media or general staff will be allowed in the building. Anyone who does enter is advised to wait in their car once they arrive and be brought in one at a time by trainers.

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This is just the first step for the Wizards as they aim to resume games at some point. The NBA is mulling a variety of scenarios to continue the 2019-20 season, most of which would include the Wizards playing more games, either in the regular season or an expanded playoff tournament.

The Wizards had to wait longer than most NBA teams to open their practice facility due to their local stay-at-home order. Earlier in the month, it appeared May 15 would be the day they would reopen, but D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city's social distancing guidelines.

When the Wizards will next be able to play a game, or even scrimmage, is not yet clear. But on Friday they took one step closer towards returning to action.

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Richard Hamilton on the time teammate Michael Jordan prevented him from getting 50 points

Richard Hamilton on the time teammate Michael Jordan prevented him from getting 50 points

Being Michael Jordan's teammate on the Wizards had to be one of the more unique situations a player has ever found themselves in while playing in the NBA. You were playing alongside the greatest of all-time and a guy who had joined the team from the front office where he had previously served as your boss.

Basically, Jordan was all-powerful and players had no choice but to defer to him, even when it was difficult. Richard Hamilton recalled an example of that this week on an episode of Showtime's 'All the Smoke.'

Hamilton remembered a night where he was on fire, but had to essentially stop shooting per Jordan's request.

"Allan Houston was killing me. He killed me in my first two years. So, when MJ came my third year, now I feel like I've grown up... I've got big bro, I've got the bully in the room. So, I'm a little bit more confident. So, we're playing against New York in Washington and the first half, I go out and I give Allan Houston 30 in the first half," Hamilton said.

"I'm geeked. I'm like 'for all the times this mother-f-----'s been killing me and getting me in foul trouble, I'm in his ass right now. So, we're in there at halftime and we're talking. Coach talks, does his speech. MJ comes up to me. He's like 'hey man, hey young fella, you had a great half. But big bro is gonna take over the second half, so don't worry about it. I've got you.'"

Hamilton would soon find out that meant step out of the way, it's Jordan's time to get the ball.

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"I only had two shots in the second half," Hamilton said. "At the end of the game I was like 'damn, man this was my perfect opportunity to kill this dude. This dude killed me my first two years and now I've got you on my side.' He was like 'don't worry man, you'll get another opportunity' ... That story always sticks with me because that was my opportunity to go out and get 50."

Hamilton added the Wizards would go on to win the game, so Jordan's move was more at the expense of him than it was for the team. Looking at box scores, this appears to be the game Hamilton was referring to. Hamilton had 34 points, while Jordan had 19 and the Wizards beat the Knicks by double-digits.

Hamilton ended up being traded to the Pistons after that season. He was traded for Jerry Stackhouse, who recently complained about Jordan dominating the team's shot attempts, so a similar tale.

The good news for Hamilton is he did end up scoring 50 in a game, just not until 2006. Amazingly, it came against the Knicks.

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