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Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard on Davis Bertans: 'We intend to keep him'

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard on Davis Bertans: 'We intend to keep him'

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard wants it to be known he has no plans of letting Davis Bertans go.

While Bertans, the surprise of the Wizards season so far, has already been the subject of trade speculation ahead of the Feb. 2020 deadline, Sheppard threw some water on those rumors in an interview on the 'Off the Bench' podcast on the team website.

Sheppard was asked about Bertans and other players the Wizards brought in over the summer. He praised Bertans, spoke about other players, and then went back to the Latvian Laser to clear something up.

"We have every intention of retaining him. He's the exact type of player we want to have in our organization. I think he wants to be here. Business will take care of itself," Sheppard said. 

"There's so much chit-chat in this league that gets out there. Most of it is contrived by the teams that would love to have Davis. Well, guess what? One of the teams that would have to have him, has him. We intend to keep him. We're excited about his growth."

Bertans, 27, is second on the Wizards with 15.4 points per game this season. He is shooting 45.6 percent from three on 8.5 attempts per game.

Outside shooting is always coveted in the NBA and several contenders in need of it have already been linked to Bertans by trade rumors.

Sheppard, though, said those teams can essentially keep dreaming. Bertans is in a contract year, but the Wizards have every intention of signing him to a new deal.

(h/t @KevinFolliNBA)

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Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

“On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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