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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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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey makes huge donation to John Wall's coronavirus charity

John Wall is getting some major help in reaching his fundraising goal to provide rent assistance to residents of Ward 8 amid the coronavirus, as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $200,000 to the cause.

Dorsey, who has the handle @Jack, tweeted his plans Wednesday evening. His donation is two-thirds of Wall's goal to raise $300,000.

It is a very generous donation and also a testament to the work Wall is doing to help others during this time. He picked a cause, used his platform to get the information out there and has caught the attention of someone with the money to help.

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Wall's intention is to help those in the D.C. area who have been affected most by the coronavirus and the toll it has taken on the economy. Wall said residents in need will receive rental assistance for as long as possible and necessary as the country works to eradicate the virus.

For more information, go to the website for Wall's foundation called '202 Assist.'

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Brian Windhorst: 'The vote tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball'

Brian Windhorst: 'The vote tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball'

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the next news to come out of the NBA world will not be if there's basketball - it will be if it's safe to play basketball.

“We’ve had a very long run of dark days, and this is a good moment. I don’t want to rain on that moment," he told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live. "The vote of owners tomorrow is not going to decide whether or not there is NBA basketball. I know that’s what it’s going to seem like. What is going to decide NBA basketball is if the virus continues to recede…I’m already sensing that people are forgetting the whole reason it is going on this way, and that is safety.”

While global riots in response to the murder of George Floyd have one-upped the coronavirus pandemic in major news cycles, Florida, where the NBA is reportedly planning to resume play, saw it's largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-April. 

Another health concern that has risen in return to play conversations is that of physical shape -- not all players have had access to personal basketball courts and training facilities during this time of nationwide quarantine. 

“Everybody that you talk to in the NBA on the training side are worried about these players who went cold turkey or vastly reduced their normal workout loads and haven’t been able to play any five-on-five basketball," Windhorst said.  

"They all have said you have to have time to build back up.”

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After reports with more details on the timeline surfaced, the next order of business will be to figure out how the eight-game schedule, prior to the play-in games/playoffs, would be assorted. Windhorst had a very strong opinion on the proposed idea of teams just finishing out the remainder of their schedule with the 21 teams eligible to play. 

"This schedule is going to be unfair," Windhorst said. "There’s 13 teams in the West playing eight games. Guess what? Not everyone is going to play the same schedule."

"There’s going to be an inherent unfairness and fans and teams are going to complain about it and they’re all going to be right, but they’re all going to have deal with it," he continued. "My expectation is that there will be five or six games per day…I think you could have afternoon playoff basketball."

Possibly the biggest takeaway from Windhort's appearance on Lunch Talk Live was the fact that Thursday's vote should go fairly seamlessly and unanimously. 

“Adam Silver has kept (President of NBAPA Chris Paul and Executive Director of NBAPA Michele Roberts) alongside the entire way here," Windhorst reported.

"Michele Roberts is so confident in the working relationship with Adam Silver that she said she doesn’t even think they’ll take a vote."

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