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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Keita Bates-Diop

School: Ohio State
Position: Small forward/power forward
Age: 22
Height: 6-9
Weight: 224
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 35

2017/18 stats: 19.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.6 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 35.9 3PT% (1.9 3PT/5.4 3PA), 79.4 FT%
Player comparison: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 26th, NBADraft.net 41st, Bleacher Report 21st, Sports Illustrated 31st

5 things to know:

*Bates-Diop is a uniquely versatile player who could fit in very well with positionless basketball. He is the size of a small forward, but has the wingspan to play bigger and the athleticism to guard multiple positions. Defense could be the way he makes his name early on in his NBA career. He has proven uniquely adept at blocking shots for his size, averaging 1.6 per game as a redshirt junior. Whether that will translate to the NBA level, however, is a question. He will be guarding bigger, smarter and more athletic players.

*He is a very good rebounder, especially for his size. Bates-Diop grabbed rebounds consistently throughout his career and as a redshirt junior pulled in 8.7 per game. He had 20 games of double-digit rebounds in college and three times had 14 in a game. He had seven offensive rebounds against Robert Morris in a game last November.

*Bates-Diop was the Big 10 player of the year for the 2017-18 season. Some recent winners of the award include Denzel Valentine, Frank Kaminsky, Draymond Green, Trey Burke and Evan Turner.

*He was able to redshirt because he missed most of his junior season with a stress fracture in his left leg.

*Bates-Diop wasn't an elite three-point shooter in college, but he did make strides throughout his career. As a redshirt junior, he shot a modest percentage of 35.9, though the volume he made them was noteworthy. Outside shooting is always important for NBA wings and Bates-Diop would benefit from developing a consistent three-point shot. He will probably need to simplify his motion because his release is a bit slow.

Fit with Wizards: Bates-Diop would give the Wizards depth at two positions where they need it. He could slide into Mike Scott's role as the backup forward, spending much of his time behind Markieff Morris as a smaller four while giving them insurance at the three position behind Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Bates-Diop would add length and athleticism to the second unit and he and Oubre could make a dynamic combination defending the perimeter. They would have over 14 feet of wingspan between them.

Bates-Diop would have to prove himself at power forward at the NBA level before he can be projected as a starter in the long-term. Right now they have small forward solidified with Otto Porter.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

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Bradley Beal misses out as All-Star starter, but can still make it as a reserve

Bradley Beal misses out as All-Star starter, but can still make it as a reserve

If Bradley Beal is going to make his third straight All-Star team, it won't be as a starter. The NBA announced the five starters from each conference on Thursday night and Beal was not one of them.

The starting guards from the East are Kemba Walker of the Celtics and Trae Young of the Hawks. They are joined by Pascal Siakam of the Raptors, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Joel Embiid of the Sixers.

The West starters are James Harden of the Rockets, Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Luka Doncic of the Mavs and both LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers. Antetokounmpo and James will be the team captains for the All-Star draft on Feb. 6.  

 

All-Star starters are determined by a voting system that includes input from fans, media and fellow players. Coaches then choose the reserves, which will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 30 next week.

That means Beal still has a path towards becoming an All-Star and there is a solid chance that happens given his numbers. He is averaging 27.5 points, 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. His points are third in the East and his assists are 10th.

Beal will have to emerge from a group of Eastern Conference guards that includes Ben Simmons of the Sixers, Malcolm Brogdon of the Pacers, Zach LaVine of the Bulls, Kyle Lowry of the Raptors and Kyrie Irving of the Nets. The fact Beal has already been a two-time All-Star should help his cause.

If Beal gets in, he will become the ninth player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make at least three All-Star teams. 

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Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Just before the 2019-2020 NBA season began, Wizards guard Bradley Beal opted to extend his career in Washington with a two-year, $72 million maximum contract that keeps him in the nation’s capital through at least the end of 2022 -- with a player option for the following year.

Before the extension, other teams across the league were reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old. But Beal never pushed for a trade, and opted to stay with the team that drafted him out of Florida in 2012.

In an appearance on Posted Up with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Beal explained his decision was deeper than money. Renewing his commitment to Washington, which he called his “second home,” was about the initial connection, his legacy and the chance for success with John Wall in the future.

“I respect the fact that they drafted me, that’s first and foremost,” Beal told Haynes. “Just being in one spot for your whole career, having your jersey in the rafter one day, being that important to an organization, those were all things that drew me.”

 

Last summer, Beal said he spoke with current and former NBA stars about his pending decision. He consulted Portland Trailblazers’ star guard Damian Lillard, who decided to stay with his original team with a supermax contract extension in June, and Ray Allen, who was loyal to the Milwaukee Bucks early in his career.

After those conversations, it was clear to him that staying in Washington was better than chasing rings through requesting a trade.

“Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out,” Beal said. “It’ll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It’s pretty much my team, I’m the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here.”

Beal’s appearance on Haynes’ podcast comes one week after he expressed frustration following the Wizards’ 116-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls -- another defeat during a difficult season.

The guard addressed those comments that underscored his mounting frustration.

“I was mad that we lost. We lost a very winnable game. And granted, I’m a big part of it, the team’s a big part of it,” Beal said. “One thing I want everybody to understand is I’m not a guy that just shifts blame on his teammates.

“I want to win. And whatever that looks like, whatever it takes, let’s go out there and get it done.”

Washington’s losing season comes with Wall relegated to the role of a spectator, as the Wizards’ franchise point guard continues to recover from a ruptured achilles he suffered last February.

Without Wall on the floor this season, Beal has averaged 27.5 points and 6.3 assists in 36 games. But Beal knows his role will change whenever Wall returns.

“When he comes back, obviously, you know, the dynamic of our team chances. I won’t have the ball all the time,” Beal said. “He’s going to have the ball, he’s going to be able to make plays and, you know, create plays for us as he always does.”

As Beal looks forward to reuniting with his backcourt running mate, he also has an eye on how the duo can advance further than it did in the past.

“What can we do differently than we did in the past?” Beal pondered. “How can we grow from where we were a few years ago -- game seven against the Celtics -- to how can we take that next step?”

In discussing Beal’s legacy, Haynes asked the Wizards guard about maintaining loyalty versus winning a ring. Beal didn’t shy away from laying out his goals to win multiple rings, but he’s also cognizant that there’s no guarantee his legacy will include that.

“There’s plenty of guys who had great careers and didn’t get one. Granted, everybody wants one. I want one; I want multiple,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t live your life or I guess you can’t basically judge your career off of that because there’s no guarantee you’ll get one.”

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