The Wizards Are Working Out WHO? June 5 Pre-NBA Draft Workout Capsules
In addition to their third overall pick, which will almost certainly be Otto Porter (unless Dan Gilbert gets all Comic Sans on us in Cleveland and takes Porter No. 1), the Wizards currently have two second round picks, their own at 38th overall and a pick via the New York Knicks at 54th overall.
But, as we are well aware, the Wizards don’t want any more kids, even if it’s been proven that second round picks can be solid contributors off the bench in their first season. Other franchises have found success; you just have to find the right players. But alas, youth does have a saturation point, but that doesn’t go to usurp the utility of such workouts.
Yes, most of these players aren’t close on Washington’s radar, but pre-draft workouts accomplish much more than trying to fill a roster spot. To workout players you like, you need competition. Workouts also provide exposure to players, and sometimes players catch the eyes of overseas teams. So, the Wizards are doing players (and their agents) a “solid” just by having them in. The final reason I’ll mention, even though there are likely more, is due diligence. Every window of observation counts, and if not this summer, the Wizards don’t know when they might cross paths with one of these players again.
Below are capsules of who the Wizards worked out on Wednesday. Some video from TAI’s Sholape Oriola will be forthcoming. Today, Thursday, June 6, the Wizards are set to workout Keion Bell, guard from Missouri; Laurence Bowers, forward from Missouri; D.J. Seeley, guard from Cal State Fullerton; James Southerland, forward from Syracuse; DeShaun Thomas, forward from Ohio State; and Khalif Wyatt, guard from Temple.
Will Clyburn – G – Iowa State
6’7″, 210 lbs.
Will Clyburn hails from Detroit, MI, started his college basketball career at Marshalltown Community College, and after the JUCO route, enrolled at Utah. With the Utes, he made the All-Mountain West Conference second team. Curiously citing a desire to be closer to home—Detroit (via a Desert News article)—Clyburn transferred from Utah to Iowa State. He left new Utes coach, and former NBAer, Larry Krystkowiak in Salt Lake City to play for another former NBAer in Ames, Fred Hoiberg. In his one season at Iowa State, Clyburn earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors and made the All-Big 12 Conference second team.
At Utah Clyburn shot 40.3 percent from the 3-point line (2.1-of-5.1 3Ps average per game), 10th best all-time in school history. At Iowa, his long distance percentage dipped to 30.8 percent (1.2-of-3.8 3Ps average per game)
Elijah Johnson – G – Kansas
6’4″, 195 lbs.
Out of Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas, ESPNU ranked Elijah Johnson No. 28 on their list of Top 100 prospects. He spent four seasons at Kansas and in late-March, after their tournament loss, Johnson was described as a “blue-chip recruit who turned into a role player” by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.
In Kansas’ meltdown against Michigan in the Sweet 16 this past March, Johnson took it upon himself to hit Mitch McGary in the junk, earning him a flagrant 1 foul. Later, when the game was on the line, Johnson committed turnovers, took bad shots, missed the front end of a one-and-one that allowed Trey Burke to tie the score with a 28-foot shot and send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Johnson had the ball in his hands with a chance to tie the game, but inexplicable passed up a seemingly open layup and kicked the ball out for a desperation 3-pointer to teammate Naadir Tharpe, who missed.
Elijah Johnson passed up a layup to make a pass for an off balance 3 pointer. Worst basketball decision made since Jordan picked Kwame.
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) March 30, 2013
Nick Minnerath – F – Detroit
6’9″, 215 lbs.
Mike Minnerath, from Truro, Mass., started his post-high school career at Jackson (MI) Community College, where he spent two seasons. At Jackson CC, he was named NJCAA D2 third team All-American his second year.
Let’s back it up. Minnerath post-high school career started two years late. He broke his ankle in his high school senior season and only played two games, then he worked in construction, at a convenience store and at other odd jobs for a couple years. Otherwise, one might call him a lollygagger (via drugs and stuff) during high school. But eventually, his girlfriend’s dad, according to a Fox Sports Detroit article, sent emails to various basketball coaches and eventually caught the eye of a coach at Jackson CC.
Minnerath parlayed his success on the junior college level into a scholarship at Detroit Mercy (this YouTube video helped), and in his first season with the Titans, he was named team co-MVP. Minnerath tore his ACL five games into his senior season and missed the entire year, later being granted a medical hardship and a fifth year of eligibility. In his final season, Minnerath was named an All-Horizon League first teamer. The key to this guy’s potential: he can shoot, going 51-142 (35.9 percent) from deep last year.
Minnerath, 24 (25 in August), participated in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress summed up his played on April 11 via Twitter like this: “Great game today. Made a 3. Had some huge dunks. Poor defense. Looked like he belongs.”
But belonging at Portsmouth and belonging in the NBA are two different things. Still, if you’ve read one of the Minnerath stories links above, the guy is playing with house money, as it seem he’ll be able to make a living playing basketball somewhere in the near future.
Other known workouts: the Wizards were his first.
Adonis Thomas – F – Memphis
6’7″, 240 lbs.
Adonis Thomas is from Memphis and played a year of college ball at the University of Memphis.
He was much-heralded coming out of high school, being ranked a top 10 player by most recruiting watchdogs. He played for the gold-medal winning USA team at the 2009 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship, and also won gold with Team USA at the FIBA U-17 Championships in 2010. Thomas was a 2011 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and a 2011 McDonald’s All-American.
Thomas made the CUSA All-Conference third team as a soph, but overall, his two seasons at Memphis were considered a disappointment as they fell below expectations. After Thomas declared for the draft in early April, Jason Smith of the Memphis Comericial Appeal wrote:
Although he showed flashes this season, carrying Memphis in an early season loss against VCU and putting together a string of dominant performances in February, he struggled with consistency. In his final game as a Tiger, Thomas was not a factor in Memphis’ 70-48 loss to Michigan State in the third round of the NCAA tournament last month, contributing five points, two rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes.
News of Thomas’ decision was met with scrutiny by some Thursday. Thomas isn’t listed on 2013 mock drafts on NBADraft.net or DraftExpress.com, though the former projects Thomas as a possible second-round pick.
“Strange move after his stock plummeted. Could go undrafted,” DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony tweeted.
“Terrible decision,” tweeted CBSSports.com college basketball columnist Jeff Goodman.
Thomas announced that he has declared for the 2013 NBA Draft. Thomas was considered a potential lottery pick coming out of high school, but an injury his freshman season combined with a lack of development during his sophomore campaign have caused his stock to plummet. While Thomas has an NBA body and is a good athlete, he’s a tweener who doesn’t have the size to play down low nor has he developed the perimeter skills scouts are looking for on the perimeter. He’s a second round to undrafted prospect.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld called Thomas was of the “biggest sleepers in the draft” and reports that Johnson has been working out at the renowned ING Basketball Academy in Florida since his season ended and has “transformed” his body (no word on if he can change from a car into a weapon-wielding robot). Steve Kyler, also of HoopsWorld, tweets that he is “very high” on Thomas. So HoopsWorld, it seems, is consistent with the players its peddling. Coincidentally, Thomas’ agent is the rather infamous Happy Walters—Google the guy.
Christian Watford – F – Indiana
6’9″, 232 lbs.
“I’m going to be able to be a stretch 4 or a 3 at the next level and the way that the game has evolved, they’re practically the same thing,” Christian Watford told SLAM Magazine in mid-May.
The big man from Birmingham, AL, spent four years at Indiana and was their third-leading scorer behind Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. Watford is a great shooter, going 48.4 percent from deep as a senior (1.7-for-3.4 per game over 36 games). This improved from 43.7 percent as a junior (1.4-for-3.3 per game over 36 games), and 38.1 percent as a sophomore (1.3-for-3.3 per game over 29 games). Watford was third team All-Big Ten was a senior.
But the issue is that Watford only measures at 6’7.5″ without shoes. He might lack the lateral movement and quick shooting form to be a 3 and he might not have the post moves and rebounding ability to be a 4—we call this a “tweener.” ESPN.com’s Chad Ford ranks Watford 117th on his list of prospects; DraftExpress ranks him 84th.
In April, Joe Treutlein for Draft Express wrote:
Watford’s clear-cut outstanding shooting ability for his position is definitely something that should give him some opportunities to find a home in the NBA, and finding a niche early in his career as a small four on an up-tempo, floor-spacing team is not out of the realm of possibility. Still, a more likely career path would involve going to Europe to refine his overall offensive skill set, continue to improve physically and make some drastic improvements with his inside-the-arc efficiency, giving him a much better chance of finding a long-term home a few years down the road.
Peyton Siva – G – Louisville
6’0″, 185 lbs.
Growing up in Seattle and experiencing a tough upbringing (he once had to talk his father out of committing suicide), Peyton Siva was named Washington’s Mr. Basketball and was a 2009 McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. [You really must read about Siva’s amazing story in a 2012 piece by Eli Saslow for ESPN the Magazine.] In back-to-back years, Siva was MVP of the Big East Tournament. As a senior, be made the All-Big East Third Team and was an Academic All-American.
He thought about turning pro after his junior season when Louisville went to the Final Four, but ultimately decided to return to school for his senior year, get his degree, and win a national championship. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford ranks Siva, who measured 5’11.5″ without shoes, No. 74 on his Top 100 list of prospects. He showed the ability to run a team, especially in decreasing his turnovers between his junior and senior seasons (3.2 per game to 2.4), but he is very undersized and not the best shooter (28.8 percent from deep as a senior on 3.3 attempts per game). But Siva has heart and is an above average athlete. He also registered a 41.5″ max vertical at the Chicago combine, which is one of the better all-time marks.
Soon after winning a title, Siva caught the attention of Deadspin because of his “sexting” with a “Twitter model” who also “claims” to have once received “$20,000″ for a weekend escapade with James Harden. (Peyton thanked “Jesus and his girlfriend” after winning the championship, so the “Twitter model” decided to blow up his spot. By mid-May, Siva was seen proposing to his girlfriend.)
Other known workouts: Sixers, Jazz, Pistons