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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jarrett Culver

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jarrett Culver

The Washington Wizards will have a first-round 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: Jarrett Culver

School: Texas Tech

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 20

Height: 6-6

Weight: 195

Wingspan: 6-10

Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 18.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.6 bpg, 46.1 FG% (6.7/14.5), 30.4 3PT% (1.3/4.2), 70.7 FT%

Player Comparison: Joe Johnson, Kerry Kittles

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 8th, NBADraft.net 7th, Bleacher Report 4th, Sports Illustrated 4th, Ringer 4th

5 things to know:

*Culver is one of the best wing prospects in this year's class. He's a 6-foot-6 slasher whom mock drafts project to go anywhere from fourth to eighth. Culver wasn't considered a top prospect entering his sophomore year, but shot up draft boards after posting a season that earned him Big 12 player of the year honors.

*He helped lead Texas Tech to the NCAA Tournament final where they fell to the University of Virginia. It was the furthest Texas Tech has ever gone in school history. Culver had some big games along the way, including 29 points in the first round, and was named both All-Tournament and All-Region. But he struggled in the final game, managing only 15 points in 41 minutes and went 0-for-6 from three.

*Culver is an interesting case to evaluate when it comes to outside shooting, which will be important for his success at the next level. Though he only shot 30.4 percent from three as a sophomore, he made 38.2 percent from long range as a freshman and on 3.9 attempts per game. That said, he also only shot 68.7 percent from the free throw line in his college career. That's a very mixed bag of numbers. Anyone who does what he did as a freshman has the potential to be a good shooter, but he has to be more consistent.

*He is a versatile offensive player, able to be effective with or without the ball. He is excellent in the open court with the ability to score and set others up in transition. A common criticism for Culver, though, is his lack of moves off the dribble. Like most players his age, he will need to develop his shot-creating skills.

*Culver is more than a scorer. He did a good job in college of filling up the stat sheet with 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. As we have seen over the years, some guards take time at the NBA level to diversify their games and become more than just scorers. DeMar DeRozan and Bradley Beal have done it, while Andrew Wiggins has yet to. Culver could prove ahead of the curve in that regard.

Fit with Wizards: Culver isn't a perfect fit for Washington based on the fact he's a shooting guard. If the Wizards have one place on their roster solved, it's that one. They already have a perennial All-Star two-guard in Beal.

Culver, if he joined the Wizards, would have to prove he can co-exist on the floor with Beal. It might require the team going small with him at the three and Culver may have to gain some weight to play that position.

The Wizards, though, aren't in a position to draft for need. They have to take the best player available, even if that is a shooting guard.

If Culver is the best player on the board, though, that could convince the Wizards to trade back. The Wizards have only one pick in this year's draft and don't own a second-round selection until 2023. They could trade back, pick up more assets and likely still get someone who offers the upside that Culver will.

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Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

The Wizards closed their 2019-20 preseason schedule with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, which means up next is the regular season opener on Wednesday night in Dallas. Now that the exhibition schedule is (finally) over, here are five takeaways from what we saw...

Injuries have added up

The Wizards entered this preseason with a lot of things to sort out in their rotation due to the significant roster overhaul they went through in the summer. But injuries complicated things further for head coach Scott Brooks, who wasn't offered anything close to a full cupboard to work with.

The most notable injuries were to Isaiah Thomas (thumb) and Troy Brown Jr. (calf). Both players will be key members of the rotation when they recover, but are each on track to miss the start of the regular season. The same goes for C.J. Miles, who has a foot injury. There is also Ian Mahinmi, who has an Achilles issue, though he is not likely to play a big role on the team this season.

Hachimura looks the part

The early returns on rookie Rui Hachimura have been good. The 2019 ninth overall pick has not looked timid or out of place on an NBA floor. He has shown he can attack the rim assertively and has even made a few threes. Those two areas will be key to watch for him this season; how he can adapt to NBA interior defenders and shooting threes from a longer distance.

Hachimura is a likely starter for the Wizards this season and should get ample shot opportunities. He is going to have a chance to be a focal point of the Wizards' offense and probably a long enough leash to play through his mistakes. As a young player, you can't ask for much more than that.

Also impressive this preseason were Moe Wagner, who was much better than he showed in the Las Vegas Summer League, and Thomas Bryant, who looks like he is going to take another step from his breakout season last year. Bryant is more confident knocking down threes and has been a force on the glass. Don't be surprised if he averages a double-double this season.

Small forward is a question

The Wizards had Brown penciled in to be their full-time starting small forward, according to a person familiar with their plans, but his injury is expected to keep him out to start the season. He did a post-practice workout the other day and wasn't moving very quickly, either due to discomfort in his calf or to be extra cautious in fear of a setback.

Either way, he is still rehabbing and so is Miles. The Wizards also released Justin Anderson, leaving them with no obvious choice to start at the three. At this point, it looks likely they will have to either put someone there that is probably best suited for another position like Hachimura, Davis Bertans or Jordan McRae, or roll with someone who is very inexperienced like Bonga or Admiral Schofield. The odds seem better they choose the former.

Final roster spot?

The Wizards now have to decide who gets their final roster spot. The safe money at this point is probably for point guard Justin Robinson and wing Jordan McRae to be the 14th and 15th players on the roster and for Chris Chiozza to have his contract converted to a two-way deal.

The Chiozza part has been speculated for weeks and it is the direction the team is leaning, NBC Sports Washington was told. If Chiozza did get the two-way contract, he could remain with the team to start the season and help fill the void at point guard while Thomas recovers from his left thumb surgery. Chiozza would have 45 days allotted at the NBA level, but that clock would not begin until Oct. 28 when G-League training camps open.

Beal's commitment

This season took on an entirely different tone with Thursday's news Bradley Beal would sign a contract extension with the Wizards. This year had the potential to be overshadowed by Beal's uncertain future, but now that has been put to rest. The trade rumors can be set aside as Beal has made it official his commitment to the Wizards' plan.

Now, that could get interesting late in the year if losses are piling up. He ultimately wants to win and it will bear watching how he shows his frustration if the team isn't playing up to his standards.


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Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

The Washington Wizards and Mystics join in on Nike’s NBA and WNBA Game Growers program. The Game Growers program is meant to provide eighth grade girls with the skills and assets they need in order to grow their participation in sports in their communities. 

With this new program, the Wizards and Mystics can contribute to expanding the game of basketball for young DMV girls. Along with that, the Washington Mystics just won the WNBA Championships, this is perfect timing for them to introduce the sport to the next generation.

Today, the Game Growers Program officially was put into action, on a YouTube video stream. The video stream had Las Vegas Aces forward A’Ja Wilson, actress Sky Katz, the Director of Operations for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association Terri Jackson featuring in it. They discussed the advantages of being an athlete beyond going professional and encourage girls to apply.

In order for the future basketball stars to get in on the action, they must apply to GameGrowers.com by submitting their ideas on how to grow the game of basketball in their communities. The application opened today and will close on November 15, 2019. The winners will be made public in December 2019. 

By January 2020 two girls will join alongside the Wizards and Mystics in going to Training Camp at Nike’s World Headquarters in Washington County, Oregon. This event won’t only be run by Nike and professional basketball players, but will also have GENYOUth (a youth empowerment organization) tag along as well. At the Training Camp, the girls will have an opportunity to polish up their ideas with Nike and NBA and WNBA teams. 

If lucky, some Game Growers teams will be chosen to exhibit their ideas at the 2020 WNBA Draft, which will be in New York City this April.