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2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

2020 NBA Draft: Isaiah Stewart would give Wizards rebounding, but overall fit is questionable

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: Isaiah Stewart

Team: Washington
Position: Forward/center
Age: 19
Height: 6-9
Weight: 250
Wingspan: 7-4

2019/20 stats: 32 G, 32.2 mpg, 17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.1 bpg, 57.0 FG% (6.0/10.5), 25.0 3PT% (0.2/0.6), 77.4 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, DeJuan Blair

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 21st, Sports Illustrated 16th, Ringer 27th, NBADraft.net 26th, Bleacher Report 26th

5 things to know:

*One of the strongest built players in this draft class, Stewart is a bruiser on the boards and on the block. He was a force in college, bullying his way to the rim with little resistance. His game is currently best-suited for the interior, as he lacks an outside shot. But he has been effective at every level of basketball so far playing that style, and his high motor will help his chances in the NBA.

*Stewart is one of the best rebounders in this class, averaging 8.8 per game including 2.8 on the offensive end. He was a bit inconsistent in that area, however. Seven times he grabbed five or fewer rebounds in a game, while 10 times he had 11 or more. He had 19 boards in a game against Oregon in January.

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*Stewart was also a standout rim-protector, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Whether that will translate to the next level, however, is unclear given his height and the fact he does not appear to be an explosive leaper. He would have to rely on his length and instincts. Draymond Green makes that work, but few others have been able to.

*He hasn't shown many signs he can become a reliable outside shooter, but there are some. The fact he made 77.4 percent of his free throws is a positive. Also, he displays solid touch in the midrange. But given he didn't make many outside jumpers at all in college, he will be docked for his shooting in the pre-draft process.

*Stewart was a big-time recruit just one year ago. A McDonald's All-American and the high school player of the year, Stewart was ranked second in his class by Rivals and third by ESPN. The only player rated higher than him by Rivals was James Wiseman of Memphis.

Fit with Wizards: There are some things to like about Stewart's fit with the Wizards, especially the fact his two biggest strengths - rebounding and rim protection - happen to be arguably their most glaring weaknesses. His high energy and physical style of play would also be a nice change of pace on their roster.

If the Wizards drafted Stewart, he would likely slide into their bench as a back-up to Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. He could play the four alongside Moe Wagner or the five in small-ball lineups, perhaps with Davis Bertans at the four, if Bertans indeed re-signs.

The fact Stewart is a committed rebounder and rim protector would give head coach Scott Brooks some lineup flexibility, though it's questionable how Stewart would fit alongside Hachimura given neither would be able to stretch the floor consistently. If Hachimura develops a more potent three-point shot, then they could better co-exist.

Given where Stewart is projected to go in this draft, though, it seems unlikely he will be a fit for where the Wizards are going to pick. He doesn't have the athleticism or well-rounded game to be a top-10 selection. Unless he slipped to the second round, or the Wizards made a trade, the two sides probably won't line up on draft night.

But if he were to somehow slip to them in the second round, Stewart could make a lot of sense for the Wizards. Given his NBA-ready strength and motor, he could be a high-floor type of player with a good chance of becoming a solid rotation piece.

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Report: Bradley Beal among group of investors trying to buy New York Mets

Report: Bradley Beal among group of investors trying to buy New York Mets

Nationals-Mets games could take on a different meeting someday soon, as Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is reportedly among a group of investors trying to buy the New York Mets.

Beal, 27, was listed with a large group of athletes and celebrities headlined by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez in a report by ESPN about the investor group. Former NFL star Brian Urlacher and current Nuggets player Mason Plumlee are some of the others.

This is surprising on several levels and one is because Beal is a devout fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has supported them publicly even through some of their playoff battles with the Nationals, despite the fact he plays in Washington, D.C. The Mets, of course, are division rivals of the Nats.

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Beal, though, loves baseball and has money to invest. He has already made over $100 million and just in his NBA salary. That does not include endorsements and other business ventures.

Beal is also due to make another $100 million on his current contract and has the potential to earn much more throughout the rest of his career. This may be an opportunity for him to make more money with an investment and be more involved with one of his favorite sports in the process.

According to ESPN, the group is awaiting word from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on what will happen next. Current Mets owner Jeff Wilpon is also weighing a larger offer from hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen.

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'Who else gonna shoot?' Replacing Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans is no small task for Wizards

'Who else gonna shoot?' Replacing Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans is no small task for Wizards

With Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans out of the picture now, the Washington Wizards' roster in the NBA's Disney World restart will look very similar to the one they had in the Las Vegas Summer League last July. That's not taking a shot, it is stating a fact.

The majority of their rotation will have been in Vegas. The Summer League roster had Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr., Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield and Anzejs Pasecniks. Sprinkle in some Ish Smith, Shabazz Napier, Jerome Robinson and Thomas Bryant, and you basically have the Wizards' new-look team in Orlando.

This time, though, it will be obvious who is missing, as both Beal and Bertans are not participating to preserve their health for the future. And that leaves a massive hole of production the Wizards need to fill, likely with young and inexperienced players.

"I'm sad for Brad's injury and it sucks that he's not here with us," Brown said. "Brad is a big part of us. But it's one of those things where we have a lot of guys from the age of 20 to 23, so there's a lot of opportunity here."

In fact, with Beal alone the Wizards will have to replace the league's second-leading scorer. His 30.5 points per game are tops in the Eastern Conference and second only to James Harden's 34.4.

Beal is also the highest volume shooter in the NBA. He leads the league in field goal attempts per game this season, coming in at a whopping 22.9, which is the most for a Wizards/Bullets player since 1991.

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Another way to look at it is this: Beal has the fifth-highest usage rate in the league. By that metric, only four players in the league have a larger role in their team's offense than Beal: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Harden and Trae Young.

Add Bertans' numbers into Beal's and you can see just how much will be missing from the Wizards. They combine to average 45.9 points per game on 34.2 shots.

The two of them combine to take 37.6 percent of the team's total field goal attempts on average. And that number jumps in the fourth quarter, where Beal and Bertans take 44.4 percent of the Wizards' field goal attempts.

Beal and Bertans take 9.5 of the Wizards' 21.4 attempts in the fourth on average. And Beal's 6.0 shots in the fourth are second-most in the NBA.

Rui Hachimura now remains as the Wizards' leader in total shot attempts with 11.1 per game. That ranks 105th in the NBA among qualifying players.

Hachimura, though, feels like he's prepared for a larger role because of his experience as a star in college and on Team Japan in international play.

"Not only Gonzaga, but the national team, I had to be the guy. So for right now, I have more opportunity to score and to playmake. It's going to be great for me and as a team, a young team, we have a great opportunity. I'm so excited about it," he said.

Between Hachimura and the other remaining Wizards players, shots will have to be taken. The most likely result is that players like him, Brown and others will have no choice but to be more aggressive. They won't have the option to defer to veteran teammates who they are used to taking on an outsized scoring role. As former Wizards guard Jordan Crawford famously said, "who else gonna shoot?"

Napier says it will need to be a collective effort where everyone takes on a little more responsibility, not just a few stepping up.

"We have to understand that one person is not going to be able to do what they were able to do. We have to utilize everybody from the first person to the last person off the bench and understand that everybody in this league is capable of making a big-time shot or having a big-time game," he said.

"You don't have a star player like Bradley and a great player in D.B. [Normally,] you focus on them, even as players you focus on just trying to get them the ball. Your game doesn't show the way you would want to show it at times, or what you can possibly do. So, this is a great opportunity for a lot of guys to show who they are."

Head coach Scott Brooks mentioned Hachimura in particular when it comes to filling in for Bertans. For Beal, he pointed to Brown, Robinson, Bonga and the potential to play two point guards together.

He now has some time to figure it out before their first game on July 31 against the Suns.

"It's open. It's wide open. The next three weeks, guys are going to be fighting for minutes," Brooks said.

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