Wizards open 2018 Vegas Summer League against Cleveland
It might feel like last season just ended, but a new NBA year is already upon us this week in Las Vegas for the league’s annual Summer League. This season, all 30 teams are in Vegas to compete, with each team guaranteed to play at least five games.
For the Wizards, it will be their first chance to get a look at draft picks Troy Brown Jr. (15th overall) and Issuf Sanon (44th overall). It’s also a good benchmark for the team to check in on two-way player Devin Robinson, who the team signed during last year’s NBA Summer League. This year’s summer squad has already been together for a couple of weeks leading up to Friday’s opener against Cleveland (9 p.m. ET, NBATV), and finished up their mini camp with two practices Thursday in Las Vegas.
Here’s what we’re watching for this summer as it all gets going Friday night…
Wizards to Watch in Vegas
Troy Brown Jr. – The Wizards’ first round pick this season is the natural headliner for D.C. during Summer League. A versatile playmaking wing, the 18-year-old Brown will get his first chance to show how quickly he’s adapting to the NBA game. Look for him to score from all over the floor and use his length defensively, with a big focus this summer on improving his outside shot.
Devin Robinson – After a year in the G League as the Wizards’ first two-way player, Robinson will look to showcase how much he’s improved after his first full year as a pro. The Florida product averaged 13 points per game last season in the G League and shot an improved 38 percent from 3-point range. He’s a tremendous athlete whose length gives him advantages on both ends, and Washington is excited to see how his game has progressed.
Thomas Bryant – Recently signed off waivers from the Lakers, Bryant brings a very intriguing skill set to Washington in today’s NBA. With a big 6-11 frame, excellent bounce and an advanced outside shot for his size and age (he turns 21 later this month), the Wizards like his potential to be a productive modern big. Bryant can do a little of everything, and he averaged 19.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in the G League last season.
Issuf Sanon – Sanon will play next season in Europe, but the Wizards will see what he’s got this summer before he gets a chance to play regularly overseas for a year or two. Sanon plays with a ton of intensity and is certainly a raw talent, but he’ll get to make a first impression this summer. He’ll always be able to play defense well with his size, so offensive consistency is one of his focuses going forward.
Chris Chiozza – After four years of running the point at Florida, Chiozza is the latest Gator to join the Wizards. He’s a gritty floor general with a propensity to hit big shots, and while he may be undersized by NBA standards, he’s creative around the rim. His wealth of experience from a big-time program should serve him well in Summer League.
Aaron Harrison – First a highly-recruited prospect at Kentucky, Harrison averaged 18.7 points per game in the G League last season, his third as a pro. His professional experience and scoring knack will be welcome on this year’s summer squad, and he has a big frame for a guard that helps him defensively.
Eastern champs bring experience to Vegas
Cleveland’s headliner this summer is No. 8 overall pick Collin Sexton. The Alabama point guard proved in college to be an electric talent with the ability to score on his own. He also has a highly-touted basketball IQ.
Other than Sexton, veterans Cedi Osman (21 points per game in G League), Ante Zizic (16.3 points, 9.4 rebounds) and John Holland (17.9 points) are names to watch for the Cavs. They may not be flashy players, but all have had success at either the G League or NBA levels and will pose a good challenge for the younger Wizards. Undrafted rookie Billy Preston is also an interesting player to look for on this year’s Cleveland summer squad.