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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

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: KZ Okpala

School: Stanford
Position: Forward
Age: 20
Height: 6-10
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: 37 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.5 bpg, 46.3 FG% (5.9/12.7), 36.8 3PT% (1.1/3.0), 67.1 FT%

Player comparison: Kyle Kuzma, Gerald Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 27th, Sports Illustrated 29th, Ringer 41st

5 things to know:

*Okpala is a tall, lanky wing who loves to drive from the perimeter to the rim. He made the All-Pac-12 team this past season after improving his scoring average from 10.0 points as a freshman to 16.8 points as a sophomore. He also increased his rebounds per game average from 3.7 to 5.7.

*He is arguably one of the most athletic players in this class. At 6-foot-10 in shoes, he has great size for a wing player and measured at the NBA combine with a 7-2 wingspan. He also has an impressive vertical leap of 37 inches which would be good even for a point guard. He is also fast in the open court. Teams will be enticed with his ceiling on both ends of the floor.

*Okpala scored a lot in college but has a raw offensive game. He isn't fully there as a ball-handler and has an improving, but still inconsistent outside shot. The fact he made a leap from his freshman to sophomore year as a three-point shooter was a very good sign. His 36.8 three-point percentage on three attempts per game is encouraging but does not offer any guarantees that he can stretch the floor at the next level. His 67.1 free throw percentage doesn't help his cause.

*He is just the third player from Stanford to leave for the NBA before his junior season, joining the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, who were first round picks in 2010.

*Okpala is the son of two Nigerian immigrants. He had a 4.4 GPA in high school.

Fit with Wizards: Okpala would fill a need for the Wizards in that he is a forward and they don't have many of those under contract for next season. He would also give them a young player with high upside, something they currently lack.

But Okpala also seems to offer decent bust potential. Ever since Kevin Durant came into the league, there have been a lot of players like Okpala to come along, ones that are tall enough to play inside but prefer to work on the perimeter.

Sometimes that can work, like with Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brandon Ingram (sort of). But for every success story, there seem to be a lot of guys like Perry Jones and Thon Maker.

Okpala seems very much like boom or bust, and the Wizards may not be able to afford taking a chance like that.

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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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