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
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: