The wizards take Johnny Davis with the tenth pick of the NBA draft

Placeholder when loading article actions

Tommy Sheppard, president and general manager of the Washington Wizards, earlier this week only had three adjectives to describe the kind of player his team was looking for in the NBA draft: aggressive, assertive, and relentless. Sheppard was clear that the player’s position mattered less than general talent and general mentality.

So, with Thursday’s tenth pick, Washington may have gotten a player who supports an area of ​​need and carries the qualities Sheppard was looking for. The Wizards have selected Johnny Davis, a 6-foot-5, 194-pound guard who Sheppard and manager Wes Unseld Jr. see as a high IQ scorer with a desire to play defense.

Davis led Wisconsin with 19.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the second year of last season and was named Big Ten Player of the Year. He played primarily small forward for the Badgers, but Sheppard is so confident he is in control of Davis who in his basketball know-how that he believes the 20-year-old can alternate between point guard and shooting guard.

“Off the pitch, he understands the game very well. Learn fast: We couldn’t find a coach who could compliment him on his basketball IQ, character, athleticism, “Sheppard said.” I think he’s an underrated passer-by, I’ll keep saying he’s a great passer. He didn’t get through much in college, so I’m trying to subliminally encourage him to pass a little more. But I think he’ll be able to score at different levels. I think he’s excellent. “

Davis grew up in Wisconsin playing basketball alongside his twin brother on a court his parents built in their backyard. There, the twins played countless battles that turned Davis into a fierce contender with a penchant for appearing in big games for the Badgers. He had a 37-point, 14-rebound gem against the then No. 3 Purdue in January and a 30-point outburst against the then No. 12 Houston in November which initially put him on the map for NBA scouts.

“I feel you can only really understand if you have a twin brother or twin sister,” Davis said in a conference call, “just wanting to be better than the other.”

Scoring aside, Unseld is very excited to see how Davis defends himself. The manager was impressed with Davis’ ability to come up with defensive plays on demand during the 20-year-old’s interview process with the Wizards – Davis worked for the team on June 2.

“The fact that you embrace that part is an important piece: you give yourself a chance. He looks like a very cerebral player, “said Unseld.” A guy who will do his homework, he will be tactically disciplined in what we are trying to accomplish. But I think he will choose. [defense] get up quickly. If you have these two intangibles, you really give yourself the opportunity to be an elite in that area. “

Bradley Beal is rehabilitating his wrist and a local basketball court

Although Sheppard sees Davis as a potential ballhandler, his selection will likely have no effect on Washington’s quest to find a permanent solution to the point guard. The Wizards won’t want to give a rookie point guard duty, and Sheppard said Thursday that Washington would be happy to have three ballhandlers on the pitch at the same time.

The general manager may also have taken into account that while his and Unseld’s ideal version of point guard is a more traditional floor general who prioritizes offense organization and scoring, traditional point guards are increasingly rare.

“We will try to have three ballhandlers out there, we will try to keep it really wide open when you have [Kristaps Porzingis] And [Bradley Beal], capable scorers. You put [Kyle Kuzma] out there, [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] out there, now you have Johnny, another guy who can fill it up a little. I think it’s exciting to do that, “Sheppard said.” The fact that [Davis] he’s a good rebounder who boosts some of the other things we expect from him. We are excited. On draft night, everyone is undefeated, everyone is excited. We really are. “

Washington selected 18-year-old Yannick Nzosa, a 6-foot-11 center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with pick no. 54.

Wizards can now move on to the top item on their to-do list: re-sign Beal. The guard, who turns 29 on Tuesday, can sign a five-year contract on the order of about $ 250 million next month in the wake of a season shortened by a left wrist injury.

Sheppard praised Beal as a worthy centerpiece of the franchise at a press conference on Monday and said he expects he will be in top shape when Washington opens its training camp in September. The Wizards will then travel to Japan to play a couple of preseason games.

“I just look at the player and I know he’s someone you can build your franchise on,” Sheppard said. “I know he’s going to have an amazing season coming up. Where is it now [in his rehab] it’s not where it will be in a month and two months, as we prepare to go to Japan, I think it will be in full swing in terms of shooting. “

Leave a Comment