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Wizards sign point guard Ty Lawson to roster in time for playoffs

Wizards sign point guard Ty Lawson to roster in time for playoffs

The day after their regular season wrapped up, the Wizards signed veteran point guard Ty Lawson to add more backcourt depth to their roster before the playoffs. Yahoo! Sports first reported the news.

Lawson, 30, gives the Wizards a fifth point guard behind John Wall, Tomas Satoransky, Tim Frazier and Ramon Sessions. Given that dynamic, it's hard to see him getting much playing time, especially considering he's joining a new team just days before the postseason begins.


Lawson comes to the Wizards after spending most of this season with the Shandong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Associaton. He last appeared in the NBA with the Kings during the 2016-17 campaign and through seven NBA seasons has also played for the Nuggets, Pacers, and Rockets.

With the Kings in his last season, Lawson appeared in 69 games and averaged 9.9 points, 4.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals. He shot 45.4 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from three.

During his prime NBA years, Lawson was known for his speed and ability to score on the fastbreak. In his mid-20s he helped lead some good Nuggets teams with borderline All-Star numbers.


It is unclear what Lawson can still provide and we may not see much of him at all in the playoffs. The only scenario where would see the floor is if the Wizards plan on moving Tomas Satoransky to the wing and to the extent where he can't be the backup point guard anymore. That would open the door for one of the remaining point guards to be Wall's primary backup.

In the four games, Wall played to close out the season, head coach Scott Brooks tightened his rotation to the point where neither Sessions or Frazier played, and neither did primary backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks. The Wizards instead rolled with Satoransky as their third guard and made do with that trio.

What we do know is that the Wizards had been interested in Lawson going back to February when they began their pursuit for free agents to fill out their roster. Lawson was considered when the Wizards signed Sessions, but they kept tabs on him and ultimately struck a deal.

Now Lawson gets another chance in the NBA and it happens to be with his hometown team, as he is from nearby Clinton, Md.


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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out our in-depth preview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: KZ Okpala

School: Stanford
Position: Forward
Age: 20
Height: 6-10
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: 37 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.5 bpg, 46.3 FG% (5.9/12.7), 36.8 3PT% (1.1/3.0), 67.1 FT%

Player comparison: Kyle Kuzma, Gerald Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 27th, Sports Illustrated 29th, Ringer 41st

5 things to know:

*Okpala is a tall, lanky wing who loves to drive from the perimeter to the rim. He made the All-Pac-12 team this past season after improving his scoring average from 10.0 points as a freshman to 16.8 points as a sophomore. He also increased his rebounds per game average from 3.7 to 5.7.

*He is arguably one of the most athletic players in this class. At 6-foot-10 in shoes, he has great size for a wing player and measured at the NBA combine with a 7-2 wingspan. He also has an impressive vertical leap of 37 inches which would be good even for a point guard. He is also fast in the open court. Teams will be enticed with his ceiling on both ends of the floor.

*Okpala scored a lot in college but has a raw offensive game. He isn't fully there as a ball-handler and has an improving, but still inconsistent outside shot. The fact he made a leap from his freshman to sophomore year as a three-point shooter was a very good sign. His 36.8 three-point percentage on three attempts per game is encouraging but does not offer any guarantees that he can stretch the floor at the next level. His 67.1 free throw percentage doesn't help his cause.

*He is just the third player from Stanford to leave for the NBA before his junior season, joining the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, who were first round picks in 2010.

*Okpala is the son of two Nigerian immigrants. He had a 4.4 GPA in high school.

Fit with Wizards: Okpala would fill a need for the Wizards in that he is a forward and they don't have many of those under contract for next season. He would also give them a young player with high upside, something they currently lack.

But Okpala also seems to offer decent bust potential. Ever since Kevin Durant came into the league, there have been a lot of players like Okpala to come along, ones that are tall enough to play inside but prefer to work on the perimeter.

Sometimes that can work, like with Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brandon Ingram (sort of). But for every success story, there seem to be a lot of guys like Perry Jones and Thon Maker.

Okpala seems very much like boom or bust, and the Wizards may not be able to afford taking a chance like that.

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Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

After Tim Connelly decided to re-join the Nuggets rather than take the Wizards' vacant front-office position, Washington has been forced back to the drawing board.

The Wizards have interviewed Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver, former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and Wizards interim team president Tommy Sheppard.

In addition to those names, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported the team could have interest in Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

That option was eliminated Friday when Olshey signed an extension to remain with Portland. 

With Connelly and Olshey off the table, there are fewer high-profile candidates left for the Wizards to consider as replacements for Ernie Grunfeld. 

Standig noted that Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris could also draw interest from Washington. 

The franchise is running out of time to find their new front-office leader with less than a month remaining before the NBA Draft.