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2019 NBA Draft: Six potential draft prospects for the Wizards at No. 9

2019 NBA Draft: Six potential draft prospects for the Wizards at No. 9

The stage is finally set for the 2019 NBA Draft. On Tuesday night, the NBA Draft Lottery results were unveiled, with the New Orleans Pelicans landing the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to draft Duke phenom Zion Williamson.

The Washington Wizards did not hit the lottery jackpot on Tuesday night. In fact, the Wizards were one of the biggest losers of the night, falling back three spots despite having the sixth best odds.

Focus now shifts to the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, which begins Wednesday, May 15 in Chicago, Ill., where some of the top prospects will be performing and competing in front of coaches and scouts. The Wizards will have plenty of options with the No. 9 overall pick, meaning the front office has a lot of homework to do before the June 20 draft.

Which players should the Wizards consider? Which players fit their system the best? Here's a quick look at five potential prospects the Wizards could use their No. 9 pick on.

Cam Reddish, Duke

- 6-8 SF/PF. Freshman.
Draft fans have soured on the enigmatic Reddish, and it's hard to blame them. Reddish trod water at various times during his lone season at Duke, and really struggled from beyond the arc. But even when he was banged up, Reddish was one of the best defenders in the country, being able to guard all five positions. He has more upside than teammate Barrett but is also a bigger risk to become a draft bust. Having said all that, he makes a lot of sense for the Wizards: He's a freak athlete with limitless upside and fills a need at the wing forward. Expect Reddish to be a major slider in the first round. You may not want to use a Top 5 pick on him, but No. 9 would be an exceptional value.

Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

- 6-6 SG, Sophomore.
Like Reddish, the only chance you get Culver is if he falls, and there's not a lot suggesting he will. I had concerns that he might be too similar to Bradley Beal, but might be the most skilled shooter in the draft and is a ferocious defender. If he's there at No. 9, don't even bother using the whole allotted time. Draft Culver and don't look back.

Coby White, North Carolina

- 6-5 SG, Freshman.
Bigger than John Wall, but not quite as quick, White brings a lot of similar characteristics to the table as John Wall in the open court. He's a better shooter than Wall was when he entered the league, and while he's not the defender Wall is, his instincts and game management are way ahead of the curve. He's one of the most realisitic options at No. 9 for the Wizards, although in an ideal world, the team focuses a bit more on their need for bigger bodies.

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

- 6-9 SF/PF, Junior.
The Wizards won't need to reach for Hachimura, and they won't have to worry about him being a bust. Hachimura might not be a multi-time All-Star, but he's trending toward a long career as a starter due to his excellent basketball I.Q., elite motor, and nose for the basketball. Don't discount his touch around the rim. Hachimura might be the best, and safest pick at No. 9. Virginia's De'Andre Hunter would be an excellent pick and is a better version of Hachimura, but it's likely that Hunter is off the board at No. 9.

Jaxson Hayes, Texas

- 6-11 C, Freshman.
The Wizards have an aging frontcourt and not much depth to speak of. Hayes is a physical freak with loads of upside but is still raw and unproven. Any spot above No. 9 might be too rich for Hayes, but the Wizards landed in a good spot to get good value.

Hayes probably has the biggest bust potential of any of these prospects, which might not be the safest bet for a team with its star player still a year away from a return.

Nassir Little, North Carolina

- 6-6 SG/SF. Freshman.
Little had arguably the most disappointing season of any freshman draft prospect. But the upside and athleticism is there in spade and it was clear toward the end of the season that Little had made some major strides. There's some concerns about him being to adjust to the learning curve.

The floor and the ceiling are both at the extremes for Little, which makes him a dangerous pick, but also is the reason he'll be there for the taking. 

Other Potential Picks at No. 9

Bruno Fernando would be great for the D.M.V., but does he have more upside than Jaxson Hayes? The Wizards could trade back a handful of spots if they have their sights set on Fernando.

The same applies for Kentucky wings Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington. Both have the toughness, motor, and talent to be great contributors, but how different are they from Troy Brown?



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Rui Hachimura on guarding MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo: 'I'm not scared'

Rui Hachimura on guarding MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo: 'I'm not scared'

WASHINGTON -- There is really only so much you can do to prepare for guarding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for the first time, as Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura did on Monday night. You can watch all of the film and try to recreate what he does in practice, but part of what makes Antetokounmpo so great is that there is no one quite like him when it comes to his size, speed and mobility.

Hachimura, though, didn't do too bad in his first meeting with the Greek Freak. In fact, he helped lead a Wizards effort that limited Antetokounmpo to 22 points with eight turnovers, and that saw him foul out late in the fourth quarter.

According to NBA.com's tracking data, Hachimura forced three of those turnovers. He guarded Antetokounmpo to begin the game and very quickly set a physical tone with bump-and-run defense.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the decision to put Hachimura on Antetokounmpo, the NBA's best player, matter-of-factly.

"It's his position. He's going to have to guard a lot of good fours in this league. There is nobody better," Brooks said.

Hachimura has been much better offensively than defensively so far in his NBA career, which is common for rookies. But he was up to the challenge playing Antetokounmpo.

"I’m not scared, I just have to guard him – that’s my job," Hachimura said. "Just have to be physical."

Indeed, initiating contact was a big part of Hachimura's success against the Bucks big man. These two plays demonstrate that well.

On the first, Hachimura was aggressive in denying Antetkounmpo the ball at the rim:

On this one, Hachimura trailed him off the dribble and forced him away from the basket:

As both Brooks and Hachimura said, however, it was a team effort. Brooks said anytime you are defending Antetokounmpo, "you have to have all 10 eyeballs on him."

Antetokounmpo is, after all, the league's most dominant player. And even though he had those eight turnovers and got into foul trouble, he still had 22 points and 14 rebounds in 24 minutes. 

Success is relative with a player like Antetokounmpo. But fouling him out and forcing some miscues helped the Wizards overcome a 20-point second-half deficit and reach overtime. 

Hachimura's effort was a big reason why.

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Scott Brooks enjoys schooling his son's high school friends in pick-up on the weekends

Scott Brooks enjoys schooling his son's high school friends in pick-up on the weekends

54-year-old Scott Brooks is well past his NBA prime, but that doesn't stop him from tearing up the basketball court.

Every Saturday, Brooks says he enjoys taking on his son's high school friends in a game of pick-up at his son's old high school gym.

"He calls about 10 of his high school buddies and I beat the crap out of them," Brooks told NBC Sports Chicago. "I’m an old man game now. I post up. I foul. I set illegal screens. I’m basically Charles Oakley out there."

Brooks says he tries to play a game up of pick-up at least two to three times a week during the summer.

"I just love the physicality of the sport," Brooks said. "And I love the competition. I love to do something where I’m going to know if I win or lose and know those results in the short-term."

When he's not playing pick-up, you can find Brooks getting his exercise in from running, yoga or the elliptical machine.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.