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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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Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal has been snubbed yet again.

First All-NBA, now Beal was not even included in the NBA 2K20 top 20 rankings, which were released on a livestream on Monday.

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard topped the rankings, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden. 

In what we're sure was a completely scientific poll, SLAM Gaming asked its followers if NBA2K got the rankings right. And, at least as of post time, nearly two-thirds of participants said no. 

Ahead of Beal in the rankings included Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler. Zion Williamson was the top rookie in the ratings. 

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season. That's clear above Mitchell (23.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game) and Butler (18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game).

The ratings are reportedly determined by a statistically based formula, though that hasn't ever stopped fans from expressing their ire at the game's rating gurus. 

Including John Wall in 2017. 


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Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

The 2019 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books and this one was much more interesting for the Wizards than they have been in recent years. This year, they had a host of first and second-round picks play for them, as well as some players they recently acquired in their trade with the Lakers.

Here are some superlatives to put a bow on the Wizards' time in Vegas...

Best player: Troy Brown Jr.

Though he only played one game and one quarter before he was shut down with a left knee contusion, Brown was quite clearly the best player on the Wizards' Summer League roster. In his only full game, he put up 18 points and 15 rebounds. Though he only shot 40.6 percent in his brief time in Vegas, he looked like a guy who was advanced beyond the league's level of competition.

For Brown, the question is how much it matters because he essentially did what he should do as a second-year player. It is encouraging and he should draw confidence from the experience. But now he has to show he can produce like that in real NBA games.

Best newcomer: Rui Hachimura

Hachimura only played three of the Wizards' five games and in his first two outings produced uneven results. But his third game was pure dominance, as he posted 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He proved a quick learner by adjusting and improving game-by-game.

All in all, it was a solid start to Hachimura's career. He displayed versatility and smarts both on offense and defense. It should give Wizards fan hope he can contribute as a rookie.

Most improved: Isaac Bonga

Many of the players on the Wizards' roster were not returning from last summer, but Bonga showed a nice leap year-over-year from what he did for the Lakers in 2018. Though he wasn't one of the Wizards' best players, he ended up with solid numbers of 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field in 20.2 minutes of action.

The best thing Bonga showed for the Wizards is his athleticism. He is a full 6-foot-9, yet has the mobility of a guard. He is a long ways away from being NBA-ready, but at 19 years old gives the Wizards an intriguing prospect to stash in the G-League.

Needs improvement: Issuf Sanon, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield

It wasn't the best Summer League showing for Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second-round pick. He only played a total of 48 minutes in four games and shot 18.2 percent with 1.5 points per game. The Wizards were experimenting with his position, playing him both at point and off the ball, and he didn't look comfortable doing either.

Granted, Sanon's biggest strength at this point is his defense, but he doesn't seem to have any NBA-ready offensive skills. Unless he gets up to speed quickly, he will have to become really, really good on defense to make the leap overseas.

Like Bonga, Wagner debuted after coming over in the Lakers trade. But Wagner didn't have the best time in Las Vegas, as he shot just 31 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three. It was a small sample size of just four games, but Wagner is known as a shooter and didn't look like one in the Summer League. He also had trouble on defense against quicker match-ups.

Schofield, the Wizards' 2019 second-round pick, shot poorly (38.5 FG%, 22.2 3PT%) and struggled to find his role on defense. He has some intriguing qualities, but it might take him some time to figure out how to compete against NBA athletes while lacking height and quickness to play the way he did in college.

Biggest surprise: Jemerrio Jones

Perhaps this should not be surprising because it is what Jones is known for, but his rebounding really stood out. He played only about 27 minutes in three games, yet pulled in 13 boards. That breaks out to 4.3 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game, or about one rebound every other minute. He averaged 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Keep in mind he is only 6-foot-5. Based on efficiency, Jones was the Wizards' best rebounder and he is the size of a shooting guard. He has a lot to improve on before he can stick around in the NBA, but it will be fun watching him grab 15-plus boards on the regular this season with the Go-Go. 

Biggest disappointment: Wizards' opponents

If there was one prevailing theme in the 2019 Summer League it was teams holding out their top draft picks either due to actual injuries or the fear they will suffer one. The Wizards saw this firsthand. They even did it themselves by keeping Hachimura out of two of their games.

The Wizards played the Pelicans without first overall pick Zion Williamson or Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick, or even Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick. They played the Hawks without De'Andre Hunter (fourth pick) or Cam Reddish (10th pick). And the Nets and Clippers didn't have any top draft picks of note.

The Wizards did get to see third overall pick R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in their final game. New York also had Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, as well as Iggy Brazdeikis, who was a Summer League standout. But neither Hachimura or Brown played in that game for Washington.