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2020 NBA Draft: LaMelo Ball declares for draft in expected move

2020 NBA Draft: LaMelo Ball declares for draft in expected move

The biggest name in the 2020 NBA Draft has now officially entered into the mix, as LaMelo Ball, a U.S.-born point guard from the Illawarra Hawks of Australia has declared, according to ESPN.

Ball, who turns 19 in August, is projected by most to be a top-5 pick. He is a 6-foot-7 playmaker who skipped the NCAA ranks to start his professional career overseas.

Ball is the younger brother of Lonzo Ball, who was the second overall pick in 2017. Lonzo started his career for the L.A. Lakers and now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, having been a piece in the Anthony Davis trade.

LaMelo is similar to Lonzo in size and playing style. He is a gifted passer and rebounds well for his position. He also has questions surrounding his outside shot.

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In terms of skill and athleticism, he's about as advanced as anyone in this year's draft class. Many believe he can develop into an All-Star at the NBA level.

The Wizards could be picking in Ball's range if the current standings hold and they get some luck in the lottery. And if that situation does arise, they will have to determine whether Ball can coexist in a rotation that already includes All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

With his talent and pedigree, however, Ball seems like a safe bet to be one of the first players off the board.

For more on Ball and his potential fit with the Wizards, check out our draft profile.

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Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Victor Oladipo has opted out of playing in the NBA's restart in Orlando, marking the biggest star yet who was expected to play backing out.

The news, which was first reported by the Athletic, is a health precaution as he aims to get 100 percent healthy for next season. He had played only 13 games this season after missing a full year due to a torn quadriceps tendon.

Oladipo, 28, is a two-time All-Star. His absence leaves the Indiana Pacers, the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference, without their best player.

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The Wizards happen to play the Pacers as part of their new eight-game schedule to close out the regular season. Now they won't see Oladipo, who they had yet to face this season. 

Given Oladipo's recent injury history, it is not all that surprising he would make this move. But it also could open the door for other players of his stature to decide similarly.

Oladipo is a star in the league, but not on a team expected to compete for the title. Will others in a similar boat decide not to go? Wizards guard Bradley Beal, for one, is still mulling his own decision on whether to play.

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Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Rui Hachimura 'sad' Olympics were delayed, hopes to still play in Tokyo next year

Though he understands the reasons why, Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura can't help but be disappointed in the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan later this month.

Hachimura figured to play a prominent role for the host country, as one of Japan's most famous athletes and the best player on their basketball team. The plan is to play the games in 2021, still in Tokyo, and Hachimura hopes that remains the case despite continued uncertainty for all sporting events amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm honestly so sad about it. We can't do anything about it," he said on Friday. "Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we'll see how things go."

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Hachimura had participated in some lead-up press events for the 2020 Olympics representing his country in the months before coronavirus hit. But, really, he had been looking forward to the 2020 Olympics for many years.

Hachimura has already made history as the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Olympics this year were supposed to be another major step forward for the sport of basketball in Japan.

"Japan Olympics was one of my dreams to do. It was big to me. Ever since I started in basketball, they talked about the Olympics in 2020. Then, this happened," he said.

Hachimura should be able to still participate next year as long as the schedule works out. As of now, the NBA is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season in December. That would put them on track to end in time for Hachimura and other players to play in Tokyo.

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