The Czech Republic’s Tomas “Saty” Satoransky declared for the 2012 NBA Draft before the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday, per Tweet of ESPN’s Chad Ford. When he worked out for the Washington Wizards last Friday, he said he was leaning toward staying. Now, whether he would be willing to get picked but remain in Europe for a season or two, i.e., Euro Stash, Satoransky said he was undecided.
One issue: Ford calls Satoransky a wing; he calls himself a point guard. Can he hang in a point guard’s League? Can he defend other NBA points? His answer seems simple: scouting.
“Always they’re going to be faster then you because they’re smaller, they are more athletic, but you gotta use also the basketball I.Q. against this,” he told me. Implementation remains to be seen.
Satoransky also realizes his jump shot is seen as a weakness by scouts — “Most important: compete, play hard, hustle; so they can see that you are really fighting about this,” was his answer to pre-draft workouts, not the need for a jump shooting spectacle – but he says that improving strength his a higher priority.
Former Georgetown Hoya Hollis Thompson was all of two-years old when Sam Cassell made his NBA debut with the Houston Rockets in November of 1993.
So, with Cassell serving as an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, who have been putting 2012 NBA Draft hopefuls through workouts, including Thompson last Thursday, we are given a chance to crunch the age numbers as the two faced-off in a drill on the Verizon Center practice court.
Cassell will turn 43-years old this November, and Thompson turned 21 this past April; the difference between them — 21 years, 4 months and 16 days — is currently greater than Thompson’s age.
The drill was defensive in nature. Participating players were required to rotate properly on help defense as the ball was passed around. The final component involved the main defender rotating from helping in the paint to closing out on a wing player in the corner (Cassell) using proper technique.
From there, Cassell had free reign to relish the opportunity of scoring on a kid at least 50-percent less in age. And this wasn’t the first time Cassell has dueled with kids — previous battles have come against the likes of John Wall, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, and Andray Blatche — and it likely won’t be the last.
[Austin Rivers "7" Drill" video via Adam McGinnis]
“I think I’m the best player in the draft, as far as being prepared for the league. That’s just me being a competitor,” uttered Kansas forward Thomas Robinson to the media after his workout for the Wizards last Wednesday. He later said his statements were not a personal affront to Anthony Davis or any other player, but that he felt like his experience and numbers at Kansas were worthy of that number one spot.
Duke guard Austin Rivers did not make such a grandiose statement after his workout for the Wizards on Friday, because his charisma said enough. He asked the media how they were doing before his interview, he looked every question asker in the eye, he cracked jokes about his younger brother (Spencer) and older brother (Jeremiah, former Georgetown Hoya), he smiled every now and then, and he spoke about the importance of thinking — even if it’s not true — that he’s the best, too.
Rivers, Terence Ross (University of Washington) and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic) worked out together for about an hour in front of Wizards coaches and personnel. Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was scheduled to be included in this same workout, but the Wizards announced at the last minute he would workout alone at an earlier time. The media was allowed to see two drills with the three players: A full court running drill, which required them to hit a shot from the elbow, before running back down court, and the “7 Drill,” which former Wizards coach Flip Saunders once eloquently described as a mental test of heart.
Rivers was less than impressive in his shooting drills. During the full court drill, his shot looked similarly tough to watch as John Wall’s, at times. Instead of stopping, jumping, and then shooting in one fluid motion, Rivers had a bit of a hitch in his release. And when his shot did not go in on one side of the floor, he attempted to jump a little and change the release point on the next, but it ended up looking mechanical and uncomfortable — just like a Ledell Eackles jump shot. Rivers appeared to be trying to guide the ball in the basket, and on a couple of occasions, he took four and five steps before releasing the ball–much more than the three steps the NBA allows a select few to take.
When I entered the Washington Wizards practice court and saw former Kansas Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson, the first noticeable sight was his physique. So many players come into the NBA as unfinished physical products, and the hope is that they will eventually get stronger and put on what Mark Jackson calls “grown-man weight.” Robinson has that already. And as Bullets Forever’s Mike Prada noticed, he’s built like a middle linebacker.
The next trait of Robinson’s that could not be missed was his confidence. Robinson, and the two players he was working out with, Al’Lonzo Coleman (Presbyterian College) and Kevin Thompson (Morgan State) were tasked with a drill that involved shooting jumpers after sprinting full court. Coleman and Thompson struggled to make it up and down the floor, and their jumpers were inconsistent at best. Robinson also struggled with his shot, but he ran up and down the court with relative ease.
As each of Robinson’s shots left his hand, he yelled phrases like “ballgame,” “that’s money,” and “buckets.” Some went in, some did not, but his confidence, and his vocal urging that these shots go in the basket, did not waver. Who was right there encouraging him when his shots would not fall? Sam Cassell, who never lacked meddle in the confidence department either.