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Wizards landing 9th pick could have domino effect on free agents, GM search, Bradley Beal's future

Wizards landing 9th pick could have domino effect on free agents, GM search, Bradley Beal's future

The Wizards entered Tuesday night's draft lottery hoping for some luck just like everyone else. For them, there was a little extra on the line.

It was arguably their last chance for a quick, overnight fix as they teeter on the edge of a potential rebuild. If they had landed one of the top three picks, and especially No. 1, that would have given them a jumpstart. They would have been jolted back into relevancy and perhaps back into the playoffs as soon as next year.

But with how things went down, it was a reminder that this thing may take some time to fix. Whoever takes over as the long-term team president won't have a silver bullet to change the team's course. The ninth pick offers no instant-impact guarantees.

The Wizards falling to ninth in the draft instead of moving up could also have repercussions for some of their individual players. Take their free agents, for instance.

The opportunity to land Ja Morant will now not be a factor in deciding whether or not to bring back point guard Tomas Satoransky. Even if they get Coby White of North Carolina or Darius Garland of Vanderbilt, they would need another competent point guard with John Wall's long-term injury absence. Those guys are good, but not 'here's the franchise, kid' good.

Top forward prospects like R.J. Barrett or De'Andre Hunter could have changed the Wizards' outlook on Jabari Parker and Trevor Ariza. But now they are unlikely to land a ready-made franchise player at the position.

What could be interesting is if they end up with big man Jaxson Hayes of Texas. He is one of the best rim protectors in the draft and they already have Dwight Howard and Ian Mahinmi under contract with Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis as restricted free agents. 

None of those players should force the Wizards to draft for need instead of best player available, but if Hayes is the pick, it could change their thinking in the frontcourt.

Landing a top pick may have given the Wizards a bump entering free agency as they look outside of the organization, but that won't be the case. They won't have much money to spend unless they renounce all of their own restricted free agents and stretch Mahinmi's contract. Even then, it's tough to see them landing a marquee player.

Losing out in the lottery is not the end of the world for the Wizards, but it will probably extend the time it will take for them to get back to where they want to be.

That may have an effect on whom they keep in free agency. It may even alter Bradley Beal's future and the likelihood the Wizards end up trading him, as their path to playoff contention may not match up with his next contract, supermax or not.

And that is not to mention their search for a team president. Though the job is already attracting strong candidates, landing a top pick would have given the team more leverage.

Going from the sixth-best odds to ninth instead of moving up may change plenty for the Wizards in the coming years. All thanks to some ping-pong balls.


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Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

As the NBA regular season approaches, the Washington Wizards seek to finalize their roster.

The Wizards announced on Wednesday that they have waived Phil Booth, Justin Anderson and Jemerrio Jones. The team also signed 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks and small forward Jalen Jones, the team announced.

Pasecniks and Jones were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning that if they are waived, they will have the opportunity to play for the Go-Go, the Wizards' G-League affiliate. Booth was on an Exhibit 10 deal, so he will report to the Go-Go after being waived.

Pasecniks, a 7-foot center from Latvia, was the 25th overall selection from the 2017 draft. The Orlando Magic drafted him and moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for draft picks. The 76ers renounced his rights in June.

Pasecniks played on the Wizards summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jalen Jones has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games over two seasons with three teams.


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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.