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Zhaire Smith, Troy Brown highlight Wizards' latest pre-draft workout


Zhaire Smith, Troy Brown highlight Wizards' latest pre-draft workout

After two weeks on the road seeing prospects at workouts around the country and across the world, the Wizards' pre-draft process returned to Washington on Monday as they hosted six more players who could fit into their future one way or another.

Three of the players are possible first round picks and two in particular appear to be viable options for Washington at the No. 15 overall pick. Zhaire Smith of Texas Tech was the most heralded player, but Troy Brown of Oregon has been rising up draft boards in the past several weeks. This was the third time they have squared off in NBA pre-draft workouts throughout this process.

Here are some notes on each guy, as they were the two players who met with the media following the workout...

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech (6-5, 195)

*Smith is known for his dunking and says he demonstrated that well in the workout. He said he threw down a reverse alley-oop at one point and Wizards' executives were impressed by his athleticism. Smith was asked during the group media session about his favorite dunk in college. He cited a 360 alley-oop he threw down on the NCAA Tournament.

Here is that dunk:

That was amazing and even Smith himself couldn't believe it.

"I was like ‘oh my gosh.’ It was nasty.:

*Smith said he doesn't know too much about the Wizards because he has never been a big NBA fan. He instead watches college and his favorite players in the NBA, one of which is LeBron James.

"But I feel like I would fit good with the Wizards because I play hard and my defense," he added.

*Defense and dunking are Smith's calling cards and the NBA teams know that. He's hoping to show off the other areas of his game:

"I believe a lot of people and teams want to see if I can shoot it and handle the ball. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of showcasing that."

*Smith said up next are workouts with the Sixers, who pick 10th, and the Suns, who some believe may trade up for another lottery pick.

For more on Smith, check out our extensive draft profile on him.

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon (6-7, 215)

*Brown is only 18 years old, but displays the media savvy and maturity of a 10-year NBA veteran. He had a thorough answer for everything and gave an honest assessment of his abilities. He is hoping to show teams his versatility. Though he's listed 6-foot-7 and a small forward, he thinks he can play anywhere from one through three.

"I’m a basketball player. I’m just looking for my opportunity to get in whether it be a three, a two or a one," he said.

*Brown believes that no matter what position he plays, he will be able to set others up effectively with his passing. He has lots of experience at point guard and believes that can apply to other positions.

"I feel comfortable with the ball in my hands... Being a big guard, I can see over a lot of people and make plays for others," he said. "My playmaking ability is my first thing. Being my size and being a playmaker who can make plays for my teammates. Being able to score the basketball well. Just being that versatile, all-around player helps me out. I can squeeze in anywhere with scoring, defense and passing."

*What Brown is trying to show teams is that he can shoot. In his lone season at Oregon, Brown shot just 29.1 percent from three. That will likely need to improve if he is to carve a niche for himself as an NBA wing.

Brown thinks his shot is better than the numbers would suggest.

"I don’t think it was my mechanics. I think it was my shot selection this year. Some of the shots I was taking weren’t very good. It’s about repetition, getting in the gym and putting up shots. I feel like I’ve been doing a good job showcasing that and I feel like a lot of teams are impressed with my shooting."

*Brown will head to the Bucks and Blazers next after visiting the Wizards.

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Gilbert Arenas set to return to D.C. in June as part of the BIG3

Gilbert Arenas set to return to D.C. in June as part of the BIG3

Any Wizards fans looking to watch professional basketball over the summer should circle July 11 on their calendar.

Former Wizards star Gilbert Arenas returns to Capital One Arena on that Saturday, as part of the Enemies of the BIG3.

The BIG3 announced their schedule for the 2020 schedule on Wednesday, and all 12 teams will play in Washington, D.C. during the third week of the season.

Arenas, who joined the league last year as a member of the Enemies squad, did not play in the nation's capital last season. The Enemies did not make playoffs in their first season of the BIG3.

Other former Wizards players in the BIG3 include Rashard Lewis, Drew Gooden, DeShawn Stevenson, and Mike Bibby among others.

The fourth season of the BIG3 kicks off June 20 in Memphis, Tenn.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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GM Tommy Sheppard so far proving he is good at exactly what Wizards need

GM Tommy Sheppard so far proving he is good at exactly what Wizards need

There is an argument, and I've made it before, that John Wall's contract and injury situation combine for one of the biggest roster-building obstacles in NBA history. Never before has a player making as much money as he is suffered an injury as serious as his ruptured left Achilles. He takes up 35% of the salary cap, is not playing this season and has no guarantees of returning to his All-Star form once he comes back.

Even if Wall does return to his prime form, and there's reason to be hopeful he can, his contract includes a lot of money for the Wizards to work around. And that has created a scenario where making small moves count matter even more than they otherwise would.

The Wizards have to maximize all of their other resources, much like the Brooklyn Nets did when they ultimately overcame the disastrous 2014 trade with the Boston Celtics that left them paying a debt of high first-round picks for years. Brooklyn worked around their draft pick blackhole by hitting on late-round selections plus minor signings and trades. And they built a foundation along the way that made them surprising heavyweights in free agency. 

The Wizards have plenty of work to do, but first-year general manager Tommy Sheppard is already proving his worth in peripheral transactions, the types that turned the Nets around. They may be less-heralded acquisitions, but they can also become major separators between GMs.

Sheppard has been running the Wizards front office for less than a calendar year, yet he already has an impressive list of marginal moves. Just recently he turned Isaiah Thomas, who was a glaring detriment on the defensive end, into Jerome Robinson, the 13th overall pick just 20 months ago.

Last offseason, his first as GM, he flipped Aaron White, a former second-round pick who was stashed in Europe, for Davis Bertans, who has become one of the best shooters in the NBA. He also turned cap space into Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga, two guys with intriguing potential. Wagner, in particular, has emerged as a building block.

There are other minor moves Sheppard has made that stand out as good ones. He may have found something in Garrison Mathews, a rookie on a two-way deal who can light it up from three. Anzejs Pasecniks and Gary Payton II have been nice surprises as end-of-the-roster guys. And signing Ish Smith for less money instead of retaining Tomas Satoransky has proven to be a smart decision.

Sheppard continues to nail the smaller moves but he has also hit on some of the bigger ones. He drafted Rui Hachimura ninth overall in June and he has exceeded expectations thus far. Sheppard also re-signed Bradley Beal to a contract extension in October, a move few saw coming.

What will ultimately write the story of Sheppard's tenure as GM are decisions even bigger than those. There will also be some level of luck between the draft lottery, injuries and other factors.

But the best signs for what the Wizards should hope they get from Sheppard are already there. They need someone who can maximize all roster-building opportunities and work within the tight space of their remaining salary cap.

So far, Sheppard has done just that.