Wizards second year guard Tomas Satoransky has rose to the occasion filling in for injured John Wall
Myself and my fellow co-host of The Focus Wilson Tarpeh Jr sat court-side during Wizards training camp in 2016 and just watched to see what the Wizards were bringing to the table for the 16-17 season. We came away with three things.
1. The Wizards would be a playoff team once John Wall got healthy.
2. Brad Beal and Otto Porter were going to have break out seasons.
3. Watch out for the rookie Tomas Satoransky.
Of course, when we spoke on Satoransky from then on, people were looking at us like we should be drug tested. Truthfully, we couldn't back up our stance without much more than his training camp performance, especially after a rookie year where Satoransky averaged 2.7 points and 1.6 assist a game in just 57 played games. People had every right to look at us crazy. However, we couldn't shake the blend of skill, size and athleticism that we saw during those few days at VCU. So our response was just wait, you will see how special he can be in due time. Fast forward to all star break 2018 and it's clear the wait is not only over but was well worth it.
Sato has emerged as the x-factor for Washington ever since John Wall went down on January 27th. The 6'7 second year floor general is averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 assist, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.5 TURNOVERS during this nine game stretch with Wall being out, nearly doubling his season average (6 points, 3.1 assist, 2.4 rebound, .6 steals) in every statistical category. The Wizards, are 7-2 during this stretch and that's not a coincidence. For Sato, his impact isn't just limited to the offensive end although his poise and I.Q. have been key, it's his impact defensively that have turned heads.
In two of his first three starts with Wall out, Satoransky went head to head with reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and perennial all star Kyle Lowry, talk about being thrown to the fire. Against OKC, Sato helped hold Westbrook to a 5 of 18 , 7 turnover performance in a gut check 102-96 Wizards win. In his match-up with the Raptors, Lowry had Sato on his heels posting a game high 29 points on 10-19 shooting for MOST of the night. Just when it appeared Lowry would lead Toronto to a win, Sato stepped up in the clutch getting key stops and rebounds to help Washington walk out Capital One Arena with a comeback win.
After being drafted 32nd overall in the 2012 NBA Draft and an underwhelming performance in the 2012 Summer League in Vegas, most looked at Satoransky as another international player who name was called on draft night, yet will never play in the NBA. Although, looking at the journey over the next four years prior to joining the Wizards, it's clear Sato was making sure he was prepared as much as possible for the NBA grind, which looking at the current results, was the right move. Satoransky has impressed with his versatility, leadership and something that hasn't been consistent from the Wizards as a whole, effort, which is apparent in his patented come from behind blocks when he gets beat off the bounce from time to time. All in all, Sato's emergence gives Washington another threat the defense has to be accountable for at all times on BOTH ends, add in the fact that he still has room to grow as a player and we could be seeing the blossoming of a special player for years to come. Most importantly, seeing that special player in a Wizards uniform. The best flowers are the latest bloomers and Tomas Satoransky is proving that theory to be dead on.