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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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John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

As people around the country continue to protest police brutality and racial injustices against black people, athletes continue to add their powerful voices and experiences to the cause.

Wizards guard John Wall joined in the conversation, discussing the fear he continues to have about being pulled over by the police. For many black Americans, the reality of racial discrimination makes the mere thought of being pulled over more daunting than it should be. Apparently that anxiety doesn’t dissipate just because you’re a star athlete.

“If I get pulled over right now, I’m terrified,” Wall said on Thursday’s episode of The Athletic’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “To be realistic. If I’m in a dark area, or a back street, I’m not stopping. I’ll go to a high-speed chase to get to a spot where it’s a grocery store, or somewhere where there’s a lot of lights at, because that’s how terrifying it is.”

To some, it may be jarring to hear a recognizable, millionaire athlete discuss his fear of the police, but the money and acclaim don't provide a shield from racism. And for many black people, the fear is instilled at a young age, either through personal experiences or those of people with the same skin color. In the age of camera phones, more and more incidents are being recorded for the world to see.

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George Floyd was suffocated and killed by a white police officer in Minnesota who put a knee to his neck for over eight minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times and killed in her own home by police in Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death by a white father and son while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood.

“You’re telling me if I want to be a black kid to jog in a neighborhood, and I say, ‘Ok, I want to cut through this white neighborhood, this rich neighborhood,’ and then all of a sudden, I’m targeted to get killed?” Wall continued. “Because I don’t belong there? Those are the kind of things I grew up with, like you wouldn’t go to this side of town where you wasn’t allowed. Why? We breathe the same air.”

Wall, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C., said the constant acts of racial discrimination have been frustrating and that all people want to see is justice. 

“I feel like this has been going on for decades, been going on for so much longer than the time I’ve been on this earth,” he said. “But if we didn’t have social media or camera phones right now, we wouldn’t be able to see this act going on.”

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

The NBA now has a concrete plan to return to action, but there are still obstacles that will need solving when play resumes. One of the most important will be the health and safety of players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the league will need to know how to handle the possibility of a positive COVID-19 virus diagnosis. With a large number of individuals destined to be in close proximity in Orlando, could one player testing positive derail the entire plan? Would that team then have to be eliminated due to the potential risk they carry?

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that will not be the case.

“The answer is we don’t believe we would need to," Silver told Charles Barkley on TNT's Inside the NBA, referring to the idea of having to eliminate a team due to a positive coronavirus result.

Silver's confidence stems from the vast amount of research and preparation the league has done to get to this stage in the return process. Not only have NBA officials detailed plans of action, but SIlver and others are working closely with health experts in Florida to make sure things go smoothly.

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Based on what they've heard so far, one positive test won't be the end-all for the NBA. If a player were to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the league knows the exact procedure to keep others safe.

“The view is that if we are testing every day and we are able to trace, in essence, the contacts the player has had," Silver said. "We are able to, in essence, contain that player and separate that from his team.”

The commissioner explained that the NBA is continuing to test on a daily basis, and that won't change anytime soon. The threat of coronavirus impacting the league's return is strong, but Silver and the NBA are confident that they'll be able to overcome any issues and have the season play out in a safe manner.

"The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive," Silver said. 

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