Wizards head coach Scott Brooks and former Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr talk after the workout
Entering this off season, it's no secret that the top job for the Wizards is to strengthen their bench. The Wizards, fielded one of the worst benches in the NBA last season and it took it's toll on the starters, culminating during a game seven loss to the Boston Celtics in the eastern conference semi finals. Washington only pick in the upcoming draft is at no.52 and with a draft this deep, there are sure to be some hidden gems that can possibly come in and help make an immediate impact next season and beyond. In the first pre draft workout the focus was guards as the Wizards look for someone to come in and boost the depth of their backcourt.
Six players attended the workout looking to prove that they belong at this level.
Jamel Artis - Pittsburgh/ Senior/ Forward/ 6'7/ 215 -
Averaged 18.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.3 assist on 47% shooting from the field and 39% shooting from deep and 73% from the stripe.
All-ACC Honorable mention
James Blackmon Jr - Indiana/ Junior/ Guard/ 6'4/ 200 -
Averaged 17 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assist on 47% shooting from the field, 42% shooting from deep and 83% shooting from the line.
All Big Ten Third Team
Daniel Dixon - William & Mary/ Senior/ Guard/ 6'5/ 210 -
Averaged 19.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 assist on 48% shooting from the field, 37% shooting from deep and 87% shooting the free throw line.
All Colonial Athletic Association First Team
DJ Fenner - Nevada/ Senior/ Guard/ 6'6/ 205 -
Averaged 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assist on 45% shooting from the field, 43% shooting from three point territory and 83% from the line.
All Mountain West Conference Second Team
Kethan Savage - Butler/ Senior/ Guard/ 6'3/200 -
Averaged 8 points and 2.7 rebounds on 44% shooting from the field, 29% shooting from deep and 74% from the line.
Melo Trimble - Maryland/ Junior/ Guard/ 6'3/ 185 -
Averaged 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.7 assist and 1.1 steals on 43% shooting from the field, 31% shooting from deep and 78% shooting from the line.
All American Honorable Mention
All Big 10 First Team
The workout was competitive and it was a consensus among the participants that it was one of if not THE toughest workout to date for them during their respective pre draft workout process.
Eye Catchers -
Artis - a nice inside/outside threat due to his size and advance perimeter skill set. He routinely got to his spots during the workout and did damage against his smaller counter-parts. Already known as a knockdown shooter what Artis also brings to the table is an deceptive handle. He can and was breaking defenders down all workout long. If Porter resigns, along with Oubre and possibly Satoransky, it will be a log jam at the three for the Baltimore native, so it's hard to see him a Wizards uniform from that alone, however if Porter leaves, Artis could be a possible strong addition.
Blackmon Jr - is a sniper AND a scorer, a rare blend for most players. Whats more rare is a strong defensive mindset from these type of players. Blackmon Jr came in looking to dead that notion. He accepted the challenge and was arguably the best defender during the workout, looking anything but a offense only player. With his ability to knock down shots, he could be a solid fit to bolster the back court come draft night
Trimble - Only questions coming was could he finish consistently, make plays for others consistently and defend...you guessed it, consistently. He answered all of the above with a yes. Trimble clearly has been working on his game as his handle and arsenal of shots at the baskets have improved considerably since the end of the season. Already a known shooter who get's to the line in his sleep, Trimble possess the versatility to be an ideal back-up for Wall if he's around at 52. Being a standout high school and college player only enhances the possibility of this happening on draft night. Stay Tuned.
Artis and Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld have a discussion following an eye opening performance from Artis
Trimbles performance put him in the forefront after the workout, however, there are more workouts to be had. Bottom line, the Wizards had an accomplished seasoned group of players to kick the pre draft workouts festivities off right, which means they're taking this pick and off season seriously. Expect the roster to be strengthened next season. Post workout pressers with Artis, Trimble, Dixon and Blackmon Jr can be seen below.