The Wizards may be in position to gamble in this year’s draft, general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a Q&A session on the team’s Twitter account (hat tip to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Last year, Washington used its first pick on Rui Hachimura, who was ready to contribute right away, but Sheppard believes the team can now consider long-term prospects.
“I think when you look at our roster and you see eight players 23 or younger, we can probably take a swing at somebody and they’re not going to have to help us immediately next year. If that player is there, certainly we do that,” Sheppard said.
The Wizards will start their draft process Monday by interviewing college seniors and international prospects. Everything will be different this year because of coronavirus restrictions, which means chatting remotely with potential picks and no in-person workouts. However, Sheppard doesn’t put great value on those individual sessions as the team didn’t work out Hachimura before last year’s draft.
“Workouts are important, but these players have played all season,” Sheppard said. “If we’re going to decide whether to take a player based on one workout, we’re in a lot of trouble. We’ve done our homework.”
There’s more from Washington:
- Appearing on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Bradley Beal said he considered a lot of positives and negatives before agreeing to a two-year extension last fall. “Ultimately, I felt staying, the positives outweighed leaving,” Beal explained. “The reason being is because I had more control here. I have an organization who basically gave me the keys. We’re gonna build around you, we’re gonna get guys around. If I go anywhere else, granted, it may be a good team, but I would be a piece. Who knows if my role would be the same? My role here, I love what it is.”
- Beal admits he was among those who laughed on draft night when ESPN’s Chauncey Billups compared Hachimura to Kawhi Leonard, but Beal has become a huge supporter of his rookie teammate. “He’s not Kawhi, but he plays like him,” Beal said. “He has a high ceiling. He’s not really a four. We can really make him into a three. We can make him into a playmaker. He can post up smaller guys. He can guard bigger guys. He’s very versatile in a lot of ways. I love him. He’s a workhorse. I don’t know who he’s really comparable to, because his ceiling’s that high.”
- Fred Katz of The Athletic examines how expected changes to the salary cap will affect Washington’s chances of re-signing Davis Bertans. The Wizards will have to keep Bertans’ $13.3MM cap hold on their books to retain his Bird rights, so they are expected to operate as an over-the-cap team when the offseason arrives.