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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Goga Bitadze

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Goga Bitadze

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: Goga Bitadze

Country: Georgia
Position: Center
Age: 19 (turns 20 in July)
Height: 6-11
Weight: 250
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.3 bpg, 54.8 FG% (3.9/7.2), 31.3 3PT% (0.4/1.2), 71.4 FT% (in Euroleague)

Player comparison: Nikola Vucevic, Robin Lopez

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, NBADraft.net 17th, Bleacher Report 20th, Sports Illustrated 10th, Ringer 19th

5 things to know:

*Bitadze is one of the best international players in this year's class, up there with Sekou Doumbouya. Bitadze is a skilled big man from the country of Georgia. He is projected to have a relatively high upside on both ends of the floor with the ability to score and block shots.

*He played in the Euroleague last season, which is the second-best basketball league in the world. That gives him a bit more certainty than Doumbouya, who was in a second tier league in France. Usually, the Euroleague is a decent predictor for NBA prospects. Luka Doncic, for example, dominated the Euroleague and then found instant success in the NBA.

*Bitadze's 2.3 blocks per game average in the Euroleague is a very good sign. Though the NBA requires more athleticism to play around and above the rim, blocked shots aren't as common in the Euroleague. The only other guy to average at least two blocks per game since 2007-08 is Ekpe Udoh. Bitadze's 2.3 per game represented a major outlier.

*He is considered a very good screen-setter and passer. Bitadze could thrive as a pick-and-roll centerpiece at the next level. Some, though, wonder how he will handle pick-and-rolls on the defensive end. He will have to make up for a lack of quickness with anticipation and his length.

*At this point, Bitadze does not have a reliable outside shot. He is smooth off the dribble and in the post with the ability to score in a variety of ways in the lane and on the baseline. But his range is limited and developing a respectable perimeter shot would go a long way in helping him reach his potential.

Fit with Wizards: Bitadze is not a perfect fit for the Wizards at this point. If they see him as the best player available with star potential, then it would make sense. But from a need perspective, there are several things not to like.

For one, he's more of a traditional center and the Wizards have been trying to get away from that. Secondly, they already have a logjam at the position and will to a greater degree if they re-sign Thomas Bryant.

The one way Bitadze could make sense for the Wizards, though, is if they believe he can be a top rim protector. It just seems like other guys who could be available at nine offer more of a guarantee. If the Wizards really want rim protection, they could go with someone like Jaxson Hayes instead.

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Survey of NBA general managers reportedly shows divide in how teams want to proceed with season

Survey of NBA general managers reportedly shows divide in how teams want to proceed with season

A conference call between NBA general managers and commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday revealed a divide as to how the GMs think the league should proceed if able to finish the 2019-20 season, according to a report by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

GMs were given a survey, the results of which were revealed on the call, and according to the report, they were split on several things:

  • Half the general managers voted to skip the rest of the regular season and go straight to the playoffs

  • More than half voted to reseed the playoffs 1 to 16, regardless of conference

  • About 75 percent voted in favor of a play-in tournament for bubble teams to determine the final playoff seeds; the other 25 percent voted in favor of a World Cup-style group stage

The play-in tournament was reported as a potential option by ESPN on Wednesday. Labeled as a “playoffs plus” format, it would allow teams just outside of the playoff picture like the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- all separated by just 1.5 games -- a way to play themselves into the playoffs if the regular season is in fact canceled. 

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The Wizards, currently the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference and 5.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, weren’t mentioned in the report, but it did say 20-24 teams would be included. This would likely include Washington.

According to O’Connor, teams with top seeds like the East-leading Bucks and West-leading Lakers favor the play-in option over a group stage, likely because they get an easier matchup against lower-seeded teams and a less difficult path to a title. And because teams will always vote in their own best interest, the survey isn’t an indication of what will ultimately happen.

“There was zero commitment to any one plan,” one of the GMs told O’Connor. “But it was a call to gather more information.”

On Friday, Silver will talk with the league’s board of governors to discuss formats to resume the season, a potential timeline for return, and more. But nothing is expected to be determined on that call either.

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Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks always has nice things to say about Bradley Beal, his star shooting guard. But on Thursday night's 'Wizards Greatest Hits' broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, he took it up a notch with his praise.

While speaking with host Chris Miller as they watched back the Wizards' Jan. 2019 win over the Knicks in London, Brooks shared some very high compliments of Beal.

"He is really one of the best players in the league," Brooks said. "All-around, not only at guard, he is one of the best players in the league. His game has improved so much over the past three years. He's getting better every year."

As they watched the fourth quarter of that Wizards-Knicks game, Brooks went on about how Beal can flip a switch during crunch time and how sometimes all it takes is a quick conversation between them.

"There are times where I need him to take over a game. I just say 'Brad, it's time,'" Brooks said.

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The best line from Brooks may have been when Beal not making the 2019-20 All-Star team came up. Brooks' coaching peers vote on the reserves and they famously left Beal out, which made for some history combined with his scoring average at the time.

Brooks wants to know from other NBA coaches: "If you don't think he's an All-Star, then why are you double-teaming every single time we play?"

If you get an answer to that question, Scott, be sure to let us know.

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