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Wizards 2018-19 roster outlook: Uncertainty for Tomas Satoransky entering important year

Wizards 2018-19 roster outlook: Uncertainty for Tomas Satoransky entering important year

With training camp starting later this month, we at NBC Sports are previewing the season for each player on the Wizards' roster.

Today, we look at Tomas Satoransky, the Wizards' primary backup guard. Entering his third full season with the Wizards, Satoransky needs to prove that he should be the Wizards' steadiest hand coming off the bench.

But with Austin Rivers now on the team, what does the future look like for the man they call "Sato?"

WIZARDS 2018-19 ROSTER OUTLOOK:  TOMAS SATORANSKY

Player: Tomas Satoransky

Position: Point guard

Age: 26

2018-19 salary: $3.1 million

2017-18 stats: 73 G, 22.5 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg, 52.3 FG%, 46.5 3P%, 78.1 FT%, 58.5 eFG%, 124 ORtg, 111 DRtg

2018-19 storyline: No player on the Wizards saw a wider range of roles quite like Tomas Satoransky did in the 2017-18 season. He began the year as the third point guard, took the second point guard spot from Tim Frazier, then served as the replacement starter for John Wall when he was recovering from surgery.

But by the end of the year, he essentially lost the backup point guard job as the Wizards signed several veterans off the street.

There were times where it looked like Satoransky was emerging as a legitimate NBA rotation player, yet the coaches and the front office clearly thought otherwise. Their signings of Ty Lawson and Ramon Sessions suggest that though Satoransky showed promise, they wanted to see more from the second-round pick before fully buying in.

Head coach Scott Brooks and team president Ernie Grunfeld have consistently praised Satoransky publicly, but have also expressed a desire for him to develop at other positions. Satoransky has been tried at shooting guard and small forward, to varying degrees of success. So far through two years in his NBA career, Satoransky has remained much more comfortable at point guard, his natural position, and with the ball in his hands.

The glimpses Satoransky showed when he was at his best this past season make him an intriguing player to watch this upcoming year. He played solid defense on several starting NBA point guards during his run from January to March. He shot 46.5 percent from three and even threw down some in-game dunks, shedding his label from teammates as a ‘practice dunker.’

Satoransky should enter this season as the backup point guard behind Wall. He is on paper the only other true point guard on the Wizards’ roster.

But, given how things have gone for Satoransky the past two years, it is not a guarantee he will have any sort of permanent role. The Wizards have Austin Rivers on the roster now and he can play some point guard. Grunfeld has also mentioned rookie Troy Brown, Jr. as an option at the position.

The Wizards could conceivably shorten their rotation and make it difficult for Satoransky to find minutes. And if the playing time isn’t there at point guard, there may not be an opportunity elsewhere like there was at times last season. They have more depth at both shooting guard and small forward this time around.

Satoransky puts in the necessary work outside of games to continue his development and he will need to be extra-determined this season, the final year of his contract. He has a chance to set himself up for a solid payday next summer in free agency, if he has a good year.

Satoransky will find himself in a position many of his teammates are tracking for. They want to shine individually with free agency looming, but will have to navigate what is arguably the deepest roster the Wizards have had in years, maybe even decades. It won’t be easy, but that type of situation could bring out the best of some players and perhaps Satoransky will fall in that category.

Potential to improve: Versatility shooting threes, on-ball defense, aggression attacking rim

2018-19 WIZARDS ROSTER OUTLOOK:

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Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

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Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

The Washington Wizards lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-111 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. It was just over a week ago the Wizards had their best win of the season against the Sixers. Saturday night was one of their worst.

They went into Memphis to play an emerging, but struggling team and got their you-know-whats handed to them. The Wizards jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first, then lost the momentum and never got it back.

By halftime the Wizards were down 15. That deficit grew to 24 in the second half.

The Wizards ended up losing by 17, but it wasn't as close as the score would suggest. It was Washington's seventh loss in eight games.

Maybe it was the three-day layoff. Perhaps they weren't sharp. Whatever the reason, that was a bad one.

2. As this game went on, it became very obvious that Memphis' gameplan was to make sure Davis Bertans didn't beat them. They swarmed the Latvian Laser on the perimeter and guarded him well beyond the three-point line.

Bertans was held to nine points on 2-for-9 shooting and 1-for-6 from three. His one three was a quick release shot from about 27 feet out. Soon after that, the defense was picking him up at halfcourt.

 

This type of treatment was inevitable for Bertans, who has been the biggest surprise of the Wizards' season so far. He has turned into one of the league's best three-point shooters and the second-best scorer on the team. Teams now know it.

3. Rui Hachimura's college teammate stole the show in this one. Brandon Clarke, who played last year with Hachimura at Gonzaga, put on an impressive scoring display highlighted by a series of vicious dunks. He measured a max vertical of 40 1/2 inches and used every inch of it to dunk all over the Wizards.

He had 19 points in the first half, including an alley-oop where his head was level with the rim and a poster dunk on the fastbreak that nearly ended Ian Mahinmi's career.

 

Clarke had 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting with four rebounds. Coming out of the draft, he was considered a good defensive player but too old (he's 23) and too raw offensively without a three-point shot.

So far, he's looking like a major steal at the 21st overall pick. 

4. The Grizzlies might not be good, but they are fun to watch and have a nice young core with Clarke alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant. Jackson is a unicorn at 6-foot-11 with the ability to drive coast-to-coast and hit threes. Morant is a force of nature, able to play well above the rim despite being 6-foot-3.

Morant nearly pulled off one of the most disrespectful plays in basketball on Bradley Beal. He tried to pull a "Michael Jordan on Ron Mercer" by snatching the ball off the glass with two hands. But he clipped the rim and was called for goaltending. Still, it was impressive because of how high he got in the air.

Memphis has an exciting young team. They might contend for a playoff spot next year with a good offseason. If they were in the East, they could really make some noise.

5. The Wizards were without several key regulars once again. Isaiah Thomas missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain and Moe Wagner was out with his left ankle sprain after playing in the past four games.

They did get back Garrison Mathews, though. The two-way guard played in his first game since Oct. 25 after sitting out due to a stress reaction in his right leg. It was Mathews' third professional game, but he made his first shot - a corner three. It happened to come in his home state of Tennessee. 

Mathews might actually get some minutes in the next few weeks because he is the second-best shooting guard on the roster with Jordan McRae out due to a finger injury.

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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