Southeast Notes: Wizards, Schnall, Longstaff, Hawks

The Wizards will have plenty of draft options after landing the No. 2 pick in this year’s lottery, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. General manager Will Dawkins, who was inside the lottery drawing room to learn his team’s fate, admitted there was some slight disappointment in not getting the top selection, but he’s confident about adding another valuable piece to the rebuilding process.

“I would say that there’s a lot of optionality at the top of the draft, and there’s probably not the same level of instant gratification that you can see in year one with some of these rookies,” Dawkins said. “But if you really dive down and have some patience and have a forward-thinking outlook, these players are going to be pretty good players in the NBA a few years from now.”

Last year’s selection of Bilal Coulibaly, who Washington traded up one spot to get, indicates that the front office is prioritizing players who understand the game and possess a strong work ethic, Robbins adds. He identifies G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis, Connecticut center Donovan Clingan, French wing Zaccharie Risacher, French big man Alexandre Sarr and Serbian point guard Nikola Topic as players in this year’s draft class who fit that description.

Coulibaly offered a scouting report on Risacher, whom he faced in France last season.

“Risacher, he’s got a lot of talent, a lot of talent,” Coulibaly said. “I played against him, like, two times last year. A great shot-maker. He can create his own shot. Yeah, a really good player.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • There wasn’t any lottery luck for the Hornets, who had the third-best odds for the top pick but dropped to No. 6 when three teams leapfrogged them, notes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Even though he didn’t get the result he wanted, co-owner Rick Schnall enjoyed his first look inside the lottery room. “It happens really fast and they run it in an incredibly efficient way,” he said. “And your disappointment comes really quickly. But it was interesting and it was good to see who was in the room, watch how the NBA runs it and understand — it might be my last time in there.” Schnall expressed confidence that Charlotte can find a productive player at No. 6 and called the lottery “just another step” in the process of building a competitive team.
  • Assistant coach Josh Longstaff will leave the Bulls to become part of Charles Lee‘s staff with the Hornets, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He joins former Jazz assistant Lamar Skeeter, who was hired last week.
  • Hawks executive David Starkman, the team’s representative in the lottery drawing room, didn’t know how to react when Atlanta overcame long odds to win the No. 1 pick, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The vice president of player personnel wasn’t familiar with what is considered acceptable behavior inside the lottery room. “I wasn’t sure what the protocol is,” Starkman said. “This isn’t the room to celebrate.” 
  • The lottery win adds $7MM to the Hawks‘ projected team salary and pushes that figure above the first tax apron, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).
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