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.
If things go how they should go, the Washington Wizards worked out their future 2012 third overall draft pick on Thursday: Bradley Beal out of the University of Florida. Sure, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson would be fine additions — either/or likely being the target of the Charlotte Bobcats with the No. 2 selection. But Beal fits the greatest need the Wizards have: long distance shooting combined with attack-the-basket scoring.
And if the Wizards value the presence of John Wall, they’ll select Beal over any player not named Anthony Davis. The Wizards have some guys with the skills of Robinson — rebounding, post scoring, hustle, and mean screen setting (see Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, or Jan Vesely). And while Kidd-Gilchrist is obviously a top five talent, he can’t shoot. Not acceptable at pick No. 3 (unless Beal goes second, then it’s MKG over Robinson).
For the love of God Shammgod!! The Wizards need shooters more than this town needs an enema. (Although, the recent spike in corruption amongst D.C. City Council members does exasperate the latter option.)
Other than Mike Miller’s .480 from the 3-point arc in 2009-10, the last Wizards players to shoot above .410 in a season (while attempting at least 100 threes) were Hubert Davis, Tyronn Lue and Chris Whitney, all in 2001-02.
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.
John Wall contemplates…
Who the Wizards should take.
Anthony Davis would have been nice, very nice. But the world is not always nice. Sure, the Wizards technically “slipped” one spot to third in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery. But, looking at the odds going in — a 19.9-percent chance to land the first pick, an 18.8-percent chance to land the second pick, a 17.1-percent chance at third, and a whopping 31.9-percent chance to slip to fourth — you can live with the results. I woke up this morning feeling more than content with either Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — almost anxious for either/or to happen already.
But, there could be other options. Thomas Robinson anyone? OR… what about a trade?
Twitter is for excitement and overreaction, sometimes. So, in the hype, a conversation between myself and user @UGotTheseIn10 quickly advanced in the direction of sending the third pick to the Portland Trailblazers for Nicolas Batum and the 11th pick (assuming UConn’s Jeremy Lamb would be available at 11) — the idea of jettisoning Andray Blatche to Portland as part of the deal even surfaced. Of course, the unison of such thoughts heavily weighted with Wizards sensibilities means the scenario would most certainly be too good to be true.
[Ed. Note: Carter Bryant covered this year's NBA Draft in New Jersey and has previously contributed to Truth About It.net; check him out further at his Twitter account: @CarterthePower. Below, his words accompany some post-draft video I shot of Chris Singleton talking about his defensive mentality and playing with John Wall. Singleton will be introduced to Washington at a press conference today at 2:30 pm. -Kyle W.]
We can all appreciate a good wingman. You’re at the bar, a chance encounter and great conversation have already been initiated. But the third wheel, friend of your target, can’t help but make their presence known. Cue the wingman to help save the day, jumping in to defend from distractions. If he succeeds, then you have a teammate for life. Great wingmen are vital to success, an idea that clearly translates to the basketball court.
The Wizards nabbed the steal of the NBA Draft when they selected Florida State lockup artist Chris Singleton 18th overall. For John Wall’s Wizards, he can be the wingman in more ways that one. I spoke to Singleton briefly in Newark last Thursday. The guy has long arms — a 7’1″ wingspan — and sounds hungry. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
The basketball world knew who the Washington Wizards were going to select with the sixth pick in the NBA Draft well before David Stern took the podium.
The Wizards, longtime fans of Jan Vesely since his emergence on the international scene in 2009, had considered selecting him in last year’s draft, before he decided to return to his Belgrade-based club Partizan for another year. And on draft afternoon, the paper trail spoke louder than ever. The Wizards’ sales department had invited staff members from the Czech Republic embassy to the team draft party in downtown Washington.
Now, while the selection might not have mystery, the player certainly was. To some extent, Vesely was misrepresented—even undervalued—having been surrounded by the popular, though incomplete, rhetoric from just a handful of available scouting reports and YouTube highlights. But the wing from Ostrava, Czech Republic, who has played basketball professionally since he was 16 years old, was the perfect pick for the Wizards. But you don’t have to take my word for it, consider head coach Flip Saunders’ review: Read more »
By now, via the quick courtesy of Dan Steinberg and other Internet denizens, you’ve heard about (and have likely seen), Washington Wizards sixth overall pick Jan Vesely jump up and passionately kiss his girlfriend after being selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, as I can only imagine someone from the Czech Republic would do. (And if someone has video of fellow NBA Czechs Jiri Welch and George Zidek kissing their girlfriends on their respective draft nights in 2002 and 1995, please do share.)
In the video below, Jan and Ms. Eva herself (last name Kodouskova — see if you can pronounce it correctly before watching), discuss each other and the now semi-famed kiss. The whole affair just might be worth another kiss.