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2020 NBA Draft: Aaron Nesmith might be the best shooter in this year's class

2020 NBA Draft: Aaron Nesmith might be the best shooter in this year's class

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Aaron Nesmith

Team: Vanderbilt
Position: Guard/forward
Age: 20
Height: 6-6
Weight: 213
Wingspan: 6-10

2019/20 stats: 14 G, 35.7 mpg, 23.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.9 bpg, 51.2 FG% (7.5/14.6), 52.2 3PT% (4.3/8.2), 82.5 FT%

Player comparison: Tyler Herro, Landry Shamet

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 17th, Sports Illustrated 18th, Ringer 15th, NBADraft.net 25th, Bleacher Report 16th

5 things to know:

*Nesmith is one of the best shooters available in this draft. Though he only played 14 games this past season, his 52.2 three-point percentage on 8.2 attempts per game is extremely impressive. According to Basketball Reference, he is the only player to make that high of a percentage on eight or more attempts per game since at least 1992-93. Nesmith also had four games where he hit seven threes or more.

*His sophomore season at Vanderbilt was cut short by a stress fracture in his right foot. That's the type of injury that will raise some eyebrows during the pre-draft process, but the drawn-out timeline due to the NBA's hiatus could help his cause by giving him more time to recover.

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*Nesmith also rebounds well for his position and is considered a plus-defender. He has the size and strength to be a perimeter pest and gives a consistent effort on that end of the floor. He should at a base-level be able to thrive in a sound defensive structure.

*The knocks on Nesmith would include his relative lack of explosiveness around the rim and his still-developing handle. Nesmith could find success at the NBA level as a knock-down shooter, but as of now will have to rely mostly on catch-and-shoot plays and screens. In order to unlock his full offensive potential, he will need to get better at creating his own shot.

*Nesmith is a standout student. He was on the SEC academic honor roll and was planning to play in the Ivy League before Vanderbilt discovered him late in the recruitment process. His brother is a senior at Harvard.

Fit with Wizards: Nesmith would be a strong fit for the Wizards for a few reasons, most notably the fact he could help fill a need at the wing/small forward position. The Wizards have some decent young players in Troy Brown Jr. and Isaac Bonga, but Nesmith could push them for minutes right away and perhaps present more upside than either of them.

He would also give the Wizards another shooter. With John Wall coming back next season, they could roll out lineups with all three-point threats around him. Imagine Wall running the floor dishing passes all over the place to Bradley Beal at the two, Nesmith at the three, Davis Bertans at the four and either Thomas Bryant or Moe Wagner at the five. Pick your poison.

Ideally, the Wizards would also find a scrappy defender in a wing to pair with Wall and Beal, and it's probably unlikely to expect Nesmith to be that guy right away. That is a tough position to guard and especially for a rookie. But the long-term potential would certainly be there for him to help elevate their defense as well.

All in all, Nesmith would be a solid pick for the Wizards. He would add shooting, possibly some defense and give them another high-IQ player to build their culture with.

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Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

The NBA only taking 22 teams to Orlando for its restart had the potential for some really strange things to shake out in the standings and now that the Wizards have started out 0-4, those possibilities are being realized.

Just look at the East right now. The Wizards are technically not eliminated from the playoffs, yet they have a worse record than the Charlotte Hornets, who are eliminated from postseason contention.


ESPN.com

Notice the 'e's.' When else would you see something like that? Maybe in college football, if a team loses postseason eligibility, but continues on playing games. 

Those standings, though, are just an odd element of some extraordinary circumstances as the NBA did what it could to resume playing basketball. Things could get much more real when it comes to the draft lottery.

By losing to the Sixers on Wednesday, the Wizards dropped below the Hornets in terms of win percentage, as you see above. Washington now has the eighth-worst record in the NBA.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZ-SIXERS

But because the league changed the lottery rules for the restart, the Wizards would have the ninth-best lottery odds if the season ended today. The bottom eight teams, including Charlotte, are cemented in where they stood when the league shut down on March 11.

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What that would mean if it holds up is a strange situation on lottery night. The Wizards could have fewer ping pong balls than a team that has a better record than them. They could even slide past the Bulls if they keep losing and have worse odds than two teams with better records than theirs.

On lottery night, it will be the difference of a few percentage points, which on the face of it might not seem all that important. Here is how the odds break down for the No. 7 through 9 teams:

7th-best odds - 7.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 31.9 % chance at top-4
8th-best odds - 6.0 % chance at No. 1 pick, 26.2 % chance at top-4
9th-best odds - 4.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 20.2 % chance at top-4

As you see there, the Wizards would only be missing out on either 1.5% or 3.0% in terms of odds to get the No. 1 pick. But when you add the percentages up for the top-four selections, their odds are affected by as much as 11.7 percent. That is fairly substantial.

The thing is, however, it could work both ways. The Wizards could be hurt by the lottery odds, but still end up getting lucky by staying at ninth. The ninth spot in the lottery could yield them a really high draft pick and therefore make Chicago or Charlotte wish the rules were different.

But just consider how things went in last year's draft lottery, the first under the new system of rules. The No. 1 pick went to the team that had the seventh-best odds, the New Orleans Pelicans. The No. 2 pick went to the team with the eighth-best odds, the Memphis Grizzlies. And the team with the ninth-best odds, the Atlanta Hawks, fell a spot to land at No. 10.

The No. 1 pick was Zion Williamson, the No. 2 pick was Ja Morant and the No. 10 pick was Cam Reddish. That is a huge difference.

If the same class was available this year, and the lottery shook out the same way, the Wizards would pick 10th and come away feeling like they got robbed of Williamson or Morant, both of whom appear to be generational players. That would be a stroke of bad luck that would take years, if not decades, to get over.

This draft does not seem to have that type of talent at the top, depending on how you feel about guys like James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. But it's still an NBA draft and every year there are future All-Stars available. Most years there are future Hall of Famers to be had.

All of this may not matter much, or it could matter a lot. In the most extreme scenario, it could legitimately have a major effect on the future course of the league.

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GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has been following John Wall's recovery from Achilles surgery every step of the way and continues to now even though he is inside the bubble in Orlando while Wall is working out near his offseason home in Miami.

Sheppard gets daily updates on Wall's progress, so he wasn't surprised to see Wall throw down a 360-degree dunk the other day in a video that went viral on social media. Sheppard has seen much more than that, as he explained on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Postgame Live on Wednesday night.

"The video that John posted is nothing compared to what he's doing behind closed doors, which we're very tuned in with. We have a coach down there working him out," Sheppard said.

Sheppard isn't necessarily making some big proclamation there. What he likely means is Wall is looking good playing in scrimmage situations, that he's in good shape and gearing up to start training camp in just a few months.

RELATED: WALL'S LATEST INSTAGRAM WORKOUT AS AMAZING AS EVER

Sheppard has been keeping tabs on Wall, plus Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. Beal is out of the NBA's restart due to a shoulder injury and Bertans sat out to preserve his stock for free agency. 

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All three have been in contact with players and coaches to offer their thoughts on how the team has fared in their games so far.

"[I see] what Bradley's doing to get his shoulder right... Davis, he's working out with his national team in Latvia and doing what he's supposed to do," Sheppard said. "I have a great deal [of confidence] in that when we leave here, we have three pretty good players who aren't here. We have a good idea of what we need to do in the offseason with those guys being there."

Wall and Beal will be back next year, that we know. Bertans is a question mark given he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards consider him their No. 1 offseason priority, NBC Sports Washington was told.

If he does come back, he will play on a team that should have Wall and Beal back fully healthy and ready to go.

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