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NBA AM: Evaluating The Wizards’ Early Moves

After not getting a meeting in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, the Wizards opted to improve their depth.

Lang Greene

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Basketball Insiders caught up with Detroit Pistons sophomore Stanley Johnson at the Orlando Summer League, where he discussed his development, rookie season and much more.

Evaluating The Wizards’ Early Moves

Many expected the Washington Wizards to be one of the teams in the hunt for former MVP Kevin Durant in this year’s free agency chase, but the franchise found themselves on the outside looking in at the sweepstakes.

Not resting on the perceived setback, the Wizards have started the free agency period with a flurry of activity. Whether you agree with their moves or not, it’s clear that the Wizards are determined to return to the playoffs next season and put a disappointing 2015-16 campaign in the rear-view mirror.

As of now, here is how the Wizards’ offseason is playing out.

The Wizards have added head coach Scott Brooks, center Ian Mahinmi and forward Andrew Nicholson. The team was also able to retain promising shooting guard Bradley Beal on a reported five-year, $130 million deal. The club has also reportedly obtained guard Trey Burke in a trade from the Utah Jazz.

On the other side, the team has lost forward Jared Dudley and guard Garrett Temple in free agency.

The Wizards still have plenty of players who were on their roster last season still on the market looking for a new deal such as Nene, J.J. Hickson, Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Marcus Thornton.

Brooks comes to the Wizards with a 338-207 career record in seven seasons at the helm in Oklahoma City, which includes a trip to the Finals in 2012. The addition of Mahinmi on a reported four-year, $64 million deal was a bit more puzzling with starting center Marcin Gortat under contract through 2019.

Mahinmi started 71 games for the Indiana Pacers last season, averaging 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds. However, the Indiana Pacers opted to bring in veteran Al Jefferson in free agency – leaving Mahinmi seeking a new home for next season.

There’s no question that Beal has the game worthy of big money, but can the young guard stay healthy long-term and maximize his full potential? Beal has played in at least 73 games just once in his four-year career, missing time due to a plethora of injuries. However, when healthy, he and John Wall are one of the league’s most formidable backcourts.

Nicholson has primarily served as a role player in his four-year career with the Orlando Magic. But the Wizards were looking to add a forward to replace Dudley, who served as a valuable reserve last season for the franchise. Nicholson has career averages of 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds, and he shot a career high 36 percent from three-point range last season.

One of the sneakiest moves the franchise may have pulled off is the reported acquisition of Burke – a former lottery pick – for a 2021 second-round pick. Burke came into the league with high expectations, but the Jazz opted to move in a different direction with the guard facing free agency in 2017.

The Wizards opted to strengthen their depth once they were fully ruled out of the Durant hunt.

Like the moves or not, there’s no question the Wizards are showing the ambition to get out of the Eastern Conference basement and back into the land of relevancy.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

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The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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