This slate of NBA Combine meetings could hint at Wizards' second-round draft targets

Ben Standig
NBC Sports Washington
Meeting with potential targets for the ninth overall pick like Cam Reddish, Coby White and Brandon Clarke is the sexy headline, but the Wizards chatting with possible second-rounders like Ty Jerome and Eric Paschall offers the real intrigue.

This slate of NBA Combine meetings could hint at Wizards' second-round draft targets

Meeting with potential targets for the ninth overall pick like Cam Reddish, Coby White and Brandon Clarke is the sexy headline, but the Wizards chatting with possible second-rounders like Ty Jerome and Eric Paschall offers the real intrigue.

This slate of NBA Combine meetings could hint at Wizards' second-round draft targets originally appeared on nbcsportswashington.com

CHICAGO -- There's an emerging pattern as the Wizards meet with prospects at the NBA Combine.

NBC Sports Washington helped confirm meetings over the last two days with Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, Duke forward Cam Reddish, North Carolina guard Coby White and Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke.

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Others interviews included Virginia guard Ty Jerome, Villanova forward Eric Paschall, Stanford forward KZ Okpala and Michigan guard Jordan Poole.

The first four players named are projected lottery selections. Washington owns the ninth overall selection following Tuesday's draft lottery.

According to ESPN, projections for Okpala (26), Jerome (29) and Paschall (31) fall in the margin of error for potential second-round selections. Poole (70) could hear his name called somewhere among the 60 overall picks.

Before going any further, understand such meetings, while informative, are a tad perfunctory and not definitive of future interest. There's also a matchmaking element as the league assigns the encounters after culling through the various team requests so some of the more popular prospects are not saddled with 30 individual meetings.

That said, what's interesting about these Wizards meetings – which include approximately eight members of the organization including interim general manager Tommy Sheppard and coach Scott Brooks -- involves that second group.

Reminder: Washington does not own a second-round selection until 2023. However, rumblings about the Wizards buying into round two this year bubbled up in recent weeks as a way to fill out the roster and acquire younger, cost-effective players.

The cost for buying a second-round pick falls in the $3 million range. Golden State paid $2.4 million for the rights to the 38th overall selection (Patrick McCaw) in 2016 and $3.5 million in 2018 for the same slot (Jordan Bell). Washington sold its second-round picks in 2009 and 2014.

In between meetings, some players participated in 5-on-5 scrimmages while the majority at least went through various anthropometric testing at the Quest Multisport facility. That's also where they held media sessions.

The 6-foot-5 White, a big board riser during the season, told reporters his position is point guard despite some off-ball talk, and that he's heard his draft range is 5-9.

Clarke, a 6-foot-8 junior who finished last season with as many blocked shots (117) as missed field goals (68.7 field goal percentage), revealed he did not dunk he was 16. From there, his leaping improved dramatically to the point he could "kiss the rim" in college.

One rather universal topic for the prospects, those teams interviews.

"They had a group of great dudes," Paschall said of his meeting with the Wizards. "They asked a lot and they were very truthful. I tried to be truthful with them as well."

Brooks said the discussions are nothing elaborate, though there's the occasional wild card topic just to see how the players handle a curveball.

"Just try to get to know them. Simple questions. How ya doing? How many siblings do you have? Can you be coached?" Brook told reporters Thursday. "They handled it a lot better than I probably would at that age. It's interesting to see how they respond."

Paschall, an undersized power forward and former Fordham transfer significantly improved his 3-point shooting during his four collegiate seasons. As for the meetings, the nerves were kept in check despite the job interview pressure.

"I felt pretty comfortable. Being in school five years, the maturity level, I tried to show that," Paschall said. "I tried to show the best of me."

Jerome, the third-leading scorer and point guard for the national champion Cavaliers, meet with the Wizards, according to a source. The only point guard on the current roster, five-time All-Star John Wall, is expected to miss the majority of next season following surgery for a torn Achilles. Tomas Satoransky and Chasson Randle are free agents.

Okpala averaged 16.8 points during his sophomore season. The 6-foot-9 forward told reporters Thursday "there's a chance" he could still return to college depending on feedback from teams. Friday is the final day of the Combine.

There's a chance the Wizards look for more help in the 2019 NBA Draft beyond their first-round pick. While we still do not know who will make the final decisions, these early meetings show buying into the idea of the Wizards moving into the second round isn't that crazy.

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