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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Rui Hachimura

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Rui Hachimura

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: Rui Hachimura

School: Gonzaga
Position: Forward
Age: 21
Height: 6-8
Weight: 230
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 19.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.7 bpg, 59.1 FG% (7.4/12.6), 41.7 3PT% (0.4/1.0), 73.9 FT%

Player comparison: Gordon Hayward, Mike Scott

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 9th, NBADraft.net 10th, Bleacher Report 23rd, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 19th

5 things to know:

*Hachimura is an athletic scorer, most effective in the midrange and in the post. He is quick up and down the floor for his size and scores a lot in transition. Due to his size and downhill speed, some have compared him to Jabari Parker, who played for the Wizards this past season.

*There are questions about how Hachimura's game will adapt to the NBA level because he could prove undersized at the four spot, without the vertical leap to make up for it, and because he doesn't currently have a consistent outside shot. Hachimura shot 41.7 percent from three this past season at Gonzaga, but on one attempt per game. He shot just 31.6 percent from long range in his college career. 

*Some evaluators also wonder about his defense at the NBA level. He has some traits that suggest he could be a plus-defender. He has quick feet and long arms, but may have difficulty in the post against bigger, stronger players. 

*Hachimura is from Japan. He is set to become just the third Japanese-born NBA player. He was just the fifth player from the country in Division I NCAA basketball history. He has a chance to become the greatest Japanese basketball player of all-time.

*He didn't start playing organized basketball until he was 14. Though he became a sensation in Japan and adapted well to the college game, he may still be just scratching the surface of his potential. 

Fit with Wizards: Hachimura could end up as the best option for the Wizards at No. 9, depending on how the board moves on draft night. He plays a position of need and would add scoring and speed to their offense.

Hachimura, though, wouldn't necessarily help the Wizards with their biggest weaknesses of defense and rebounding. And he may not offer the upside they should probably seek in their first round pick.

Hachimura may have a high floor based on his college production and style of play. But whether he has All-Star potential is a real question.

The Wizards need to hit on this draft pick either way, but ideally they would find someone who could someday make a major difference.

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Report: Deputy considering lawsuit against Raptors' Masai Ujiri

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Report: Deputy considering lawsuit against Raptors' Masai Ujiri

The sheriff's deputy who allegedly got into an altercation with Raptors president of operations Masai Ujiri has retained a lawyer and is considering filing a lawsuit against the Raptors executive, according to a report. 

David Mastagni, the newly hired attorney, told San Francisco TV station KPIX reporter Katie Nielsen and the Associated Press that the Alameda County sheriff's deputy was unable to work and had a concussion from the incident following the Raptors' NBA championship win at Oracle Arena last week.

Sgt. Ray Kelly told NBC Sports Washington last week that Ujiri wasn't wearing the proper credentials to celebrate with the Raptors on the court at Oracle Arena after his team won the final. When the sheriff's deputy tried to stop him, according to Kelly, he was pushed and struck in the face by Ujiri. 

Ujiri was eventually identified and allowed on the floor. He was seen moments later celebrating with the Raptors players on the ABC broadcast. 

Last week a Raptors spokesperson told NBC Sports Washington that the incident “is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.” When reached on Tuesday, the spokesperson said there was no further comment.

On Tuesday, KPIX's Nielsen reported that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern had reviewed body camera and security camera footage of the incident and supports the deputy. According to the report,  he is recommending the case move forward to the District Attorney for charges of misdemeanor battery of a police officer.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported earlier that the Wizards were preparing an offer to try to lure Ujiri from Toronto to take the vacant top position in the team's front office - though Ujiri, while celebrating at the parade in Toronto on Monday, might have hinted that he wasn't interested in leaving quite yet. "We will continue to win in Toronto," he told fans.

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Celtics' Al Horford reportedly will decline option, become unrestricted free agent

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Celtics' Al Horford reportedly will decline option, become unrestricted free agent

Boston big man Al Horford is reportedly not picking up his $30.1 million option with the Celtics for the 2019-20 season, qualifying him as an unrestricted free agent according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Horford is reportedly interested in working out a long-term deal with the Celtics with negotiations beginning after the start of free agency June 30.

The five-time All-Star could help free up some of the Celtics' cap space with a deal under his $30.1 million option.

Horford joined the Celtics in the 2016 offseason, leaving the Atlanta Hawks. At the time, the Wizards had been a contender to sign him before he ultimately chose Boston. 

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