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Could Wizards' 2015 second-round pick Aaron White finally be arriving in the NBA?

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Could Wizards' 2015 second-round pick Aaron White finally be arriving in the NBA?

The time for Aaron White joining the Washington Wizards might be finally upon us.

The key word is might, but the path is more apparent than ever since the Wizards selected the 6-foot-8 forward 49th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Buzz of White, Washington’s 2015 second-round selection, joining the Wizards surfaced in April based on sources to NBC Sports Washington at the time. Problem: The Wizards did not have a general manager to make such a call. They still do not, though Tommy Sheppard continues serving as the interim leader of Washington’s front office.

Now that the University of Iowa product completed his fourth professional season overseas, noise from across the pond about an NBA appearance surfaced.

The idea of White, 26, coming stateside is not new. He spent the last two seasons for the Lithuanian based squad Zalgiris Kaunas. The 6-foot-8 forward expressed interest in signing last off-season with the Wizards, who still maintain his rights. White actually joined the team in Las Vegas last July to chat and watch Washington’s Summer League entry.

However, the Wizards effectively filled their roster around that time by signing Jeff Green and Dwight Howard. White returned overseas and helped lead Zalgiris to a Lithuanian league title over the weekend and a Final Eight appearance in the prestigious EuroLeague after reaching the Final Four in 2018.

This time the decision is a bit more in White’s hands. The Wizards certainly have the roster space, need for rotation pieces, and according to sources, interest. More than half of the 2018-19 roster is entering some form of free agency this summer. None of the players under contract for next season play forward (Washington is not expected to pick up Jabari Parker’s $20 million team option).

The Wizards own the ninth pick in the June 20 NBA Draft but are without a second-round selection.

It remains possible that White receives a contract offer from an international team that tops one financially speaking from the Wizards. White and his representatives are expected to explore such options before the Wizards can make the forward a formal offer. The timing also allows White's side to see how the Wizards fill their front office vacancy and whether that decision alters thinking toward adding the forward for the upcoming season.

White addressed the scenario Tuesday via his Twitter account:

“Every day a new story,” White tweeted, adding the image of a facepalm emoji to express a level of frustration. “Let’s just let free agency play out and I will decide what is best for my family and me.”

White scored 13 points in the series-clinching win for Zalgiris over the weekend. In 34 EuroLeague games this season, he averaged 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.

If he joins the NBA, White would become only the second player drafted by the Wizards to play for them since 2012 selection Tomas Satoransky.

Washington selected guard Ussaf Sanon 44th overall last year. The 19-year-old Ukraine guard played professionally in Slovenia this past season.

White’s general skill set, including an impressive vertical leap, is that of a stretch-4, though his 3-point shooting percentage in EuroLeague dropped from 39 to 33 over the past two seasons.

Last summer he told the reporter, then with The Sports Capitol, “I feel like I needed all three years (overseas). Every year was a different situation. They asked me to do different things. I feel like I got some experience under my belt. I’m more used to the pro game. Obviously it’s (not the NBA), but still playing professional (basketball). I felt great after my third year and ready to explore some options.”

Exploring options remains the play after his fourth year with the Wizards’ in the mix.

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John Wall ranked ninth-best top pick since 2000 by Bleacher Report

John Wall ranked ninth-best top pick since 2000 by Bleacher Report

All Wizards fans remember that faithful November 2nd night back in 2010. The Verizon Center was packed to the brim in anticipation of the 20-year-old phenom out of the University of Kentucky.   

The air was electric, and all fans rejoiced when the name "John Wall," was announced as the starting point guard of the Wizards, as they were set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Fast forward to 2020: Wall is a 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA selection, and 1x All-Defensive selection, but how does he measure up to the other No. 1 overall picks of the 2000s?

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Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey recently ranked the No.1 overall selections of the 2000s and he placed Wall ... ninth.

Bailey spelled out an intricate explanation of the methodology he used to rank these players, but I'll give the SparkNotes version before we dive into his reasoning. 

  • Box plus/minus, win shares per 48 minutes and player efficiency rating
  • Usage percentage
  • Both regular-season and playoff numbers
  • Championship points and MVP shares
  • A fan vote to "add a little subjective flavor"

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Now let's get into why Bailey slotted Wall at 9.

Bailey starts off acknowledging something that true fans of basketball are aware of: Prior to his recent injuries, Wall was one of the best guards in the game.

"He was one of the game's most dominant point men before that," Bailey said. 

"From 2013-14 to 2016-17, Wall averaged 20.0 points, 9.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game," he continued "In that stretch, the Wizards were plus-3.1 points per 100 possessions with Wall on the floor and minus-5.2 with him off."

I like the path you're on, Bailey, but don't forget to mention Wall was also an All-Star in every single season mentioned above. 

Bailey then went on to address the drop off in Walls production because of injury, which is fair, due to the fact that "Wall's only managed 73 appearances since the start of the 2017-18 campaign."

The eight players  ahead of Wall on the list are Derrick Rose, Karl-Anthony Towns, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James, respectively,

The nine slot for Wall isn't terrible seeing as though he's virtually missed the past two seasons of basketball. The bigger question is: When it's all said and done, how far can Wall catapult up this list? 

RELATED: WHERE DOES A HEALTHY JOHN WALL RANK AMONG NBA'S TOP 10 POINT GUARDS

Does he have to claim an MVP title to jump Rose? Will an NBA Championship place him above/below Irving? 

We'll just have to wait and see. 

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NBA's latest return-to-play plan would include Wizards in 22-team format

NBA's latest return-to-play plan would include Wizards in 22-team format

The NBA is reportedly targeting July 31 as the date to resume the 2019-20 season, but how the league will return to action is still under consideration.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, numerous members of the NBA's board of governors are in favor of a 22-team format that would likely include play-in games to compete for playoff spots.

In the proposed format, teams that are within six games of the final playoff spot would be invited to compete at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., where the league is planning to resume the season in a "bubble-like" format.

That means the Wizards, who currently sit 5.5 games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, would be the only team invited from the East that currently doesn't hold a playoff spot.

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In the West, four teams -- the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- are all within six games of the conference's final playoff spot. 

This news comes after general managers expressed their interest in expanding the playoff field from 16 to 20-24 teams earlier this week.

The NBA has yet to decide how the final playoff spot will be determined, whether that be based on multiple regular season games or a play-in style tournament, according to Wojnarowski. Regardless, the league is adamant about playing multiple regular season games before entering the playoffs, according to the report.

Commissioner Adam Silver indefinitely suspended the NBA season on March 11 when Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the league has been on hiatus ever since.

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