Wizards

Kispert on his NBA debut and going viral

Wizards

While Corey Kispert will never forget his NBA debut, which came on Friday night in a win over the Indiana Pacers, Wizards fans may remember it for a particular facial expression he made. After Davis Bertans hit a go-ahead three with 35 seconds remaining in overtime, Kispert shot him a look as he returned to the bench for a timeout and the screenshot immediately went viral on social media.

"I remember giving him a look. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw it [later that night]," Kispert said. "He’s a bad man. That was a crazy shot. I had to make sure he knew about it."

Though Kispert said he wished he had gone viral for making a great play on the court, the time will come for that. This was his first taste of a real NBA game that counts after playing some in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League and the preseason.

It was a small step to where he wants to go. He scored two points in 10 minutes with a rebound, an assist and a steal. 

But it also represented a lifelong dream, to play in the NBA. Kispert said his sister flew in to attend the game, making it even more special.

"It was great to get in there and just kind of get my feet wet. I made good plays, made bad plays. Did good things, made mistakes. Now it’s all about growing and building each time I get out there," Kispert said.

 

Kispert, 22, said what stood out to him the most about playing his first NBA game, besides the speed and talent of the players, was how much longer the games are than in college. There are an extra two minutes per quarter, so eight more minutes per game.

As he now understands, a lot can happen in eight minutes of game time. It doesn't take long for a team to go on a run and change the momentum of a game.

Kispert said he's also learning by asking his teammates questions on the bench. He's a bit self-conscious about asking what he calls "dumb questions," but is doing whatever he can to learn the ropes.

Part of that process is observing how his teammates go to work, including Bertans. Kispert was drafted 15th overall by the Wizards because of his three-point shooting and, in particular, his ability to catch and shoot. Bertans happens to be one of the best outside shooters in the NBA and has led the league two consecutive years in catch-and-shoot threes.

"Just the way he prepares, the way he gets himself ready. His work ethic day in and day out is really something I’ve tried to look at and model," Kispert said. "He does the same thing every day and he’s really particular about how he shoots it and when he shoots it and how the ball goes through the rim. Like super small details, he’s looking at it through a microscope."

Kispert flashed his potential during the preseason with a game-tying catch-and-shoot three against the Knicks in the final minute of the fourth quarter. He came off a screen and smoothly dropped in a long range shot in a big moment for him, considering his inexperience.

Right now, he has to wait his turn with the Wizards boasting considerable depth and especially at his position. He understands that, but has confidence he will get to where he wants to go in due time.

"Each day I’m going to get better and better and the game is going to slow down. I believe I have a chance to be really special, absolutely," Kispert said.