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Jerome Robinson's shot the latest young player success story for the Wizards

Jerome Robinson's shot the latest young player success story for the Wizards

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have become the land of opportunity, a place where second chances are given to NBA players too young to be considered reclamation projects. 

Shooting guard Jerome Robinson is the latest to be thrown into the mix. He was the 13th overall pick in 2018, but couldn't get minutes with the L.A. Clippers. Now he's in Washington with an opportunity that wasn't there for him when he was at the end of the bench on a title contender.

The Wizards, though, have a place and a role for him and that translated to the biggest shot of his NBA career on Wednesday night, as he made a go-ahead three with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift Washington to a 110-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

“I had a really good look. At that point, when I saw it was wide-open, I had to take it," Robinson said. "At that point you just got to have all the confidence and let it go.”

Robinson sank the three, then on the next possession reeled in a rebound and made two free throws after getting fouled. All within about 10 seconds, he made three plays to give the Wizards the win.

But the shot stands out above all and it was a unique situation for a player of his level of experience. Star shooting guard Bradley Beal passed him the ball and in doing so showed a lot of trust in a player who hasn't proven much at the NBA level.

Robinson, though, didn't look like he was new to the moment. He knocked it down like a pro.

"Jerome didn't hesitate," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He has a tendency to hesitate and I'm telling them, 'he who hesitates doesn’t make shots.' I like that. He caught it, had confidence, he took the shot."

Being too timid with his shots is apparently a thing for Robinson. Brooks wasn't the only one who mentioned it.

"We've been telling him all night...it was a few where he was hesitating. We didn't bring him over here for no reason," Beal said. "If Coach [Scott Brooks] has you on the floor there's a reason you're out here."

“I remember the coaches were telling him [not to hesitate] and you have to shoot if you’re open," forward Rui Hachimura said. "We know he’s a good shooter. The last minutes, the last play, he didn’t hesitate, that’s why I think he made it.”

Robinson, 23, is still trying to build confidence, holding career averages of 36.6 percent shooting from the field and 30.7 percent from three. It is understandable why he would be a little unsure of himself when taking shots.

But after Wednesday, he has reason to believe. The Wizards gave them an opportunity and he seized it.

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Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Coming off a nail-biting win over Donovan Mitchell in the first round, Rui Hachimura lost to Suns star Devin Booker in the quarterfinals of the NBA 2K Players Tournament Thursday night. 

The Wizards' rookie forward played with the Clippers, while Booker went with the Mavericks. Not only did Hachimura have the more talented team in this matchup, but it looked like he had a coach sitting near him the whole time too. 

Hachimura's biggest challenge in this one was finding easy points against Booker's defense. Booker did a good job using his center to close down driving lanes while leaving Hachimura's big men wide open in the corner.

The Clippers bigs aren't great outside shooters, so outside of a few surprising makes from Montrezl Harrell, it was a rough night offensively. Hachimura tried to go with a small-ball lineup with Marcus Morris at the center spot, but then he started giving up way too many offensive rebounds. 

On the flip side when Hachimura tried to do the same thing to Booker, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber were able to knock those shots down. That left the door open for Luka Doncic to get open looks and that's how Booker eventually pulled away in the second half. 

It was a good run for Hachimura in the tournament. He knocked off the four-seed in Mitchell and delivered one of the more memorable moments of the first round. He just ran into a buzzsaw in Booker, who may have a decent chance to win the whole thing. 

The semifinals and finals of the 2K Players Tournament will begin on Saturday. 

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GM Tommy Sheppard says Wizards plan to retain Shabazz Napier in free agency

GM Tommy Sheppard says Wizards plan to retain Shabazz Napier in free agency

With the NBA season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the extra free time has given teams an opportunity to reflect on the first 64 games of the 2019-20 campaign. 

Whichever direction the league decides to go with returning to play, the 2020 NBA draft and free agency period loom large once the season is over. For the Wizards, they have a pair of key players set to hit the open market: Davis Bertans and Shabazz Napier. 

John Wall's return significantly elevates expectations surrounding the Wizards next season and will make the team's offseason decision-making process that much more important. In the case of Napier and Bertans, Washington's general manager Tommy Sheppard talked highly of both in a Q&A with Dave Johnson Thursday

"I think with [Napier and Bertans], when we acquired them not as rentals we acquired them to stay here," Sheppard said. "I think the players that we acquired, they're here to show that they can be here for the future. With Davis and Shabazz, they showed enough to us that certainly we would love to retain them. We plan to."

What Sheppard had to say about Bertans isn't necessarily new. He maintained the stance all year that the Wizards intended to keep Bertans this summer and held true to it when Washington reportedly turned down offers including first-round picks at the trade deadline. 

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Napier's future with the team, on the other hand, has not been talked about publicly by someone like Sheppard. The Wizards acquired him from the Nuggets in exchange for Jordan McRae at the trade deadline and the six-year veteran appeared in 15 games for Washington before the season was suspended. 

Napier started eight games and averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 43.1% from the field and 38.1% from three. Based on production alone, it's not that surprising Sheppard wants to bring the former UConn star back. 

However, if the Wizards can re-sign Napier this summer, they'd have quite a lot of viable point guards on their roster going into next season. Wall will be back and Ish Smith will be in the final year of his two-year contract.

Napier would figure to be either the third point guard or Washington's backup shooting guard depending on how you look at things. Then you have to ask how comfortable you are with Napier potentially taking minutes away from Jerome Robinson and ball-handling opportunities from Troy Brown Jr., both young wings the Wizards need to take a step forward next year. 

But shooting and playmaking are at a premium in the NBA today, and as defensively challenged as an Ish Smith-Shabazz Napier backcourt would be off the bench, there's no doubt Washington's second unit would be able to put up a ton of points. 

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