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Wizards get a chance to watch intriguing draft prospects Keita Bates-Diop and Brandon McCoy

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Wizards get a chance to watch intriguing draft prospects Keita Bates-Diop and Brandon McCoy

The Washington Wizards held another pre-draft workout on Thursday, hosting six more players that could find their way onto the roster come draft night.

Of the six players, Keita Bates-Diop is the highest-ranked prospect. The Ohio State veteran has seen a fluctuation in draft stock, projecting as high as the middle of the first round and as low as early second round. The other player often projected in mocks is UNLV freshman Brandon McCoy. He projects as a second-round selection. 

Here are some notes on each player, as they were the two who met with the media post-workout.

Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State (6-7, 235)

Bates-Diop is known for his versatility and length. At 6-7, he projects more as a small forward in the NBA, but managed to grab 8.7 rebounds per game in his redshirt-junior season at Ohio State. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year before declaring for the draft.

“Definitely my length, I have an extremely long wingspan,” Bates-Diop said. “It helps me grab balls I normally wouldn’t get, or most guys wouldn’t get.”

Bates-Diop posted a 7-3.25 wingspan at the NBA combine, 10th highest among all participants.  His length helped him block shots at Ohio State, where he averaged 1.6 blocks per game.

During the pre-draft workout, Bates-Diop was often tasked with defending the guards, he said.

Along with his length, Bates-Diop has developed a three-point shot over the years, most recently making two threes per game at a 35.9 percent clip.

After the pre-draft workout, the Wizards pulled Bates-Diop aside for an extra, individual shooting drill. It was the first time he’s done an extra shooting drill after a pre-draft workout, he said.

Bates-Diop said he wants to prove to teams that “I can shoot the ball better than the percent I shot in college.”

Bates-Diop said up next is a workout with the Atlanta Hawks, who pick No. 19, No. 30 and No. 34 overall.

Brandon McCoy, PF/C, UNLV (7-0, 250)

McCoy was the youngest player at the pre-draft workout on Thursday but made his talent known his first year at UNLV. The 7-foot big man scored 16.9 points and grabbed 10.3 rebounds per game, just one of four freshmen to average a double-double this past season.

The other three? DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Mo Bamba.

But McCoy projects in the second round of the draft. Still, he felt like signing with an agent and leaving after a year was the right move.

“My thought is the more you stay in college, the more you become a college player and we all have aspirations of playing in the NBA,” McCoy said. “And I feel like I did enough in college and it was time to take that next step and become a pro.”

The Wizards told McCoy after the workout that he has a lot of upside and to keep working, he said. The potential is there — McCoy was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year and in addition to his double-double line, he finished with 1.8 blocks per game.

But, McCoy, who just turned 20 less than a week ago, knows he still has a lot to learn.

“You have guys like LeBron James, the best player in the world, still putting things to his game and stuff,” McCoy said. “Imagine a guy like me from the bottom, I got to learn a lot.”

McCoy will head to Dallas next and says he has four more workouts before the draft. The Mavericks have two second round picks, No. 33 and No. 54 overall.


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Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

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Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 115-104 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

Step back: The Wizards just can't crack the code of consistency or the pesky Brooklyn Nets.

After winning three straight and looking like they had made some corrections, the Wizards stumbled out of the locker room at halftime and couldn't match Brooklyn's energy. The Nets pulled away to lead by as many as 19 and handed the Wizards yet another blowout loss in a season of which are quickly piling up.

The Nets have the formula to give the Wizards fits. They are scrappy and play defense. They are cohesive and well-coached. The Wizards are susceptible against try-hards who play with a chip on their shoulder. They too often let others set the tone and that's just what the Nets did in this one. 

The Wizards are now 5-10 on the season. That matches their 15-game start from two years ago, when they rallied to win 49 games, but that only means so much, of course.

Threes were off: While their attempts are up, the Wizards have been shooting uncharacteristically bad from three this season. They entered the game 27th in the NBA, shooting just 32.8 percent.

In this game, they didn't just struggle to make threes, they had trouble shooting them at all. Brooklyn sold out to take away the perimeter and was successful doing it. 

The Wizards went 3-for-17 from three and shot just 17.6 percent. They were 2-for-13 entering the fourth quarter.

Surely, head coach Scott Brooks won't be happy about that. Three-point shooting continues to be a major point of emphasis for him.

Howard was dominant early: Perhaps we should have expected this from Dwight Howard. After all, it was the Nets, the team Howard was bought out by over the summer, right before he signed with the Wizards. 

Was three days with a franchise enough for a revenge game? Sure, we'll go with it.

Or, perhaps he's just a bad matchup for Brooklyn because they were the team he smacked around for 32 points and 30 rebounds against last season.

He didn't quite go 30-30, but Howard was unstoppable in the first half. He ate Jarrett Allen, who is a very talented young player, for lunch. Allen and the rest of the Nets' frontline were no match for Howard's strength.

Howard popped off for six of the Wizards' first eight points. By halftime, he had 17 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block.

This game was a reminder of the fact he can do things his predecessor, Marcin Gortat, cannot. Howard, really, can produce in a way no Wizards' fourth option has been able to in years.

Markieff Morris has often served as the fourth scoring option behind John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. But Morris doesn't often go off for nearly a double-double in a half. 

But, the second half:  What was strange about Howard, though, is that he barely played in the second half until the game was out of hand. Howard picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, but that didn't explain it all.

Howard played only five minutes from the start of the second half until there were less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. During that stretch, Allen found success against the Wizards' small-ball lineups and helped the Nets pull away.

By the time Howard returned, the Wizards were down 19 points. Brooks had something that was working really well and, in part because of the fouls, he went away from it a little too long. It proved costly.

Morris struggled: As good as Howard was, Morris had one of his worst games of the season. The Wizards power forward had one of those nights we see far too often where he wasn't active enough on defense or on the boards. He couldn't get anything going offensively, either.

Morris, who ended the game with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, had zero points and zero rebounds in nine minutes in the first quarter. 

While the Nets' big men were overmatched by Howard's strength, Morris couldn't keep up with their quickness. He was a step behind and had trouble matching their bounce around the rim.

Morris predictably didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. That's the way it goes with Brooks now.



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2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

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2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

The start to the 2018-19 NBA season did not go smoothly for a handful of teams. The Wizards started 2-9, but have since won three straight. The Lakers, with LeBron James leading the way, started 2-5 but have won six of their last seven games.

Even the Rockets, considered one of the top contenders for the 2018-19 NBA championship, started slow, losing five of their first six games. But since the calendar switched from October to November, the Rockets turned things around, having won six of eight.

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings

What about the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry and company lost just once in their first 11 games, but have dropped three of their last five games amid turmoil between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The Warriors are still clearly the favorites to win the NBA title again, but are they still perched atop our power rankings?

Here is a look at all 30 teams...

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings