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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

School: Kentucky
Position: Point guard/shooting guard
Age: 19 (turns 20 in July)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 180
Wingspan: 7-0
Max vertical: 36

2017/18 stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.4 3PT% (0.6 3P/1.5 3PA), 81.7 FT%
Player comparison: Shaun Livingston/Ron Harper
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 14th, NBADraft.net 12th, Bleacher Report 14th, Sports Illustrated 13th

5 things to know:

*A tall and athletic point guard, Gilgeous-Alexander was smooth and efficient running the offense at Kentucky. He scored, dished assists, rebounded very well for his position and forced turnovers on the defensive end. Gilgeous-Alexander is a smart player and seems like a relatively safe pick, especially for a team looking to start him as a backup point guard with the ability to start down the road.

*Gilgeous-Alexander has potential to be a plus-shooter at the NBA level. He shot 40.4 percent from three in his one season at Kentucky. What he will need to show beyond backing up to NBA range is the ability to shoot at a high percentage with volume. The real threats from the perimeter in the NBA can not only shoot efficiently, but can get hot enough to alter games. Gilgeous-Alexander never hit more than two threes in a single game at UK.

*Gilgeous-Alexander could be a solid perimeter defender, especially if he adds some weight to his frame. He does a good job of using his plus-wingspan to affect passing lanes and get steals. He averaged 1.6 steals per game and seven times this year had three steals or more. Gilgeous-Alexander showed his versatility on both ends in the NCAA Tournament against Davidson when he posted a line of 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals. 

*A question for teams evaluating Gilgeous-Alexander will be his ceiling. Is there All-Star potential or will he top out as a solid rotation player? He's a methodical, smooth player but sometimes teams favor the flashy, rim-rattling athletic guys in the draft.

*He is originally from Canada and his mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, represented the country in track and field at the 1992 Olympics. Gilgeous-Alexander has played for Canada at the international level in FIBA tournaments.

Fit with Wizards: Gilgeous-Alexander would help the Wizards in a variety of ways. He would help shore up their point guard depth chart behind John Wall, a problem the Wizards have been trying to solve for years. He would give the Wizards some serious height at the point guard position between Wall (6-4) and Tomas Satoransky (6-7).

Gilgeous-Alexander may also be able to play some shooting guard. He certainly has the size and length to guard opposing twos. The question would be whether he can play off-the-ball offensively. Gilgeous-Alexander can shoot, but can he shoot well enough to co-exist with Wall in the backcourt when Bradley Beal isn't on the floor? 

The problem with Gilgeous-Alexander for the Wizards would be the fact there is no long-term chance for him to start with Wall and Beal locked up at the guard position. Ideally, a guy taken at 15th overall could someday be a starter. Also, Gilgeous-Alexander may have some redundancy with Satoransky. That's no reason to pass on a really good player in the draft, but it's something to consider.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

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Kelly Oubre Jr. signs multi-year shoe deal with Converse

Kelly Oubre Jr. signs multi-year shoe deal with Converse

Wizards forward and fashion icon Kelly Oubre Jr. is helping to bring  Converse back to the basketball world. The once popular basketball brand is making a major push to get back on the scene and is signing Oubre Jr. to a multi-year footwear and apparel deal, according to ESPN.

The multi-year shoe deal comes just after Oubre Jr.'s contract with Adidas expired Oct. 1, according to ESPN which first reported the news, leaving him as an attractive choice for shoe deals that came flooding in such as Puma and New Balance. Ultimately, the 22-year-old wing decided on Converse, in a one-of-a-kind deal that has Oubre wearing the Nike-owned brand on and off the court.

Converse, most known for their Chuck-Taylor All-Stars that have made a comeback in recent years, was famously worn in the 60's by NBA and college basketball players alike. 

Oubre Jr. is no stranger to fashion. In fact, he views himself as a kind of "rock star," and brings the swagger that comes with his sense of style to the court. In an interview with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller last year, Oubre said fashion is an important aspect to his game and looks to the rapper, Travis Scott for inspiration.

"I think I'm a rock star. That's how I kind of go about it," he said. "My game kind of represents my fashion, just going hard, raging and screaming to the crowd and all that stuff. I was a rapper, I would be Travis Scott. Just know that."

Converse is known for its rock star reputation, sponsoring big names such as Tyler the Creator more recently, and Kurt Cobain in the early 90s. The Ramones famously wore them on stage and in cover art, and Wiz Khalifa, Ice Cube and The Game have all worn them. 

The brand introduced Oubre Jr. as its latest sponsorship in a YouTube video featuring the song "Attitude" by The Misfits, which Converse also famously sponsored.

The Tsunami Papi's revival of Converse will bring a certain swagger to the brand that was lost on basketball stars in the early 80's. Now, the 22-year-old Oubre will have the opportunity to bring his creativity and style to the brand.

"They have dope canvases that a lot of people can make a dope creation on," said Oubre in an interview with ESPN. "I just want to continue to create that legacy and that wave to make the brand look good."


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Three things to watch for Wizards vs. Nets, as Wizards aim for fourth straight win

Three things to watch for Wizards vs. Nets, as Wizards aim for fourth straight win

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Dwight Howard and the Washington Wizards battle Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, D'Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

Here are three things to watch...

Wizards are on a roll

Say what you will about the opponents they've beaten, but the Wizards are heating up. They have won three straight games with their last one a blowout over the Cavs. This is their longest win streak of the season.

Four in a row would be a nice number. The Wizards only had two win streaks of at least four games last season. One stopped at four and the longest ended at five. 

Nets have their number

Speaking of last season, the Wizards had a heck of a time facing this same Brooklyn team. They lost two of their three meetings in 2017-18 with the lone win coming in overtime. One of their losses was by 35 points.

The Nets, though they haven't won 30 games in each of the past three seasons, are now pushovers. They are well-coached by Kenny Atkinson and are known for trying very hard despite their lack of talent. The Wizards generally have problems with those types of teams. Winning this game could help them prove this is a new year.

Nets have some players now

Brooklyn has been ridiculed in recent years as the Boston Celtics have reaped the benefits of their high draft picks stemming from the infamous Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade. But along the way, the Nets have done a decent job of finding young talent without hitting the lottery.

Caris LeVert was probably the best example of that, though he is now nursing a serious ankle injury and will miss this game. But Brooklyn also has guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who this year is averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 assists while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three. They also have Joe Harris, who is putting up 13.4 points on a ridiculous 52.4 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from three. 

Then there's Jarrett Allen, who was acquired using a first round pick the Wizards sent Brooklyn in the Bojan Bogdanovic deal. At just 20 years old, he's turning into a nice young player. This year he's averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.