For a rebuilding franchise, finding the right pieces begins as soon as the draft lottery ends. On draft day, the Wizards will have three picks — Nos. 6, 18 and 34 — and the process of finding those pieces already has begun.
On Wednesday, the Wizards coaching staff, along with General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, held workouts for six players. The Wizards finished the season with the fourth-worst record in the NBA, 23-59, and need help at several key positions.
Here are the Wizards’ workout participants and scouting report:
• Alec Burks, a 6-6, 195-pound guard from the University of Colorado. Burks is an early-entry candidate for the NBA draft who averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a sophomore in 2010-11.
• JaJuan Johnson, a 6-10, 221-pound forward-center from Purdue University. Johnson was named 2010-11 Big Ten Player of Year after averaging 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds during his senior season.
• Klay Thompson, a 6-6, 202-pound guard from Washington State University. Thompson is an early-entry candidate for the NBA draft who averaged 21.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior in 2010-11.
“It was a long and intense workout, but I think I did pretty good,” Culpepper said. “In college, I was an off-the-ball player, playing the shooting-guard position, but I just wanted to come in and show everybody I can run the point, show that I can be a leader and run the team.”
The Wizards are the only team Culpepper has worked out for, but he has an optimistic attitude about the future.
“I know it’s going to be a fantastic season. If there’s a lockout, and nine times out of 10, there’s going to be a lockout, but I think it’s going to be a great season. I saw the [Wizards’] new uniforms, and they’re amazing,” Culpepper said.
Culpepper said he doubts he will be drafted, but he hopes to catch on as a free agent.
Johnson, described as a skilled big man, could be in high demand on draft day. He already has worked out for the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
“The workout was good. I played hard, knocked down some shots,” Johnson said. “That’s pretty much all you can ask for in these kinds of workouts. This one was a little bit more up tempo than some of the ones I’ve had so far. They really pushed us to see where we are conditioning-wise, but overall it was a good workout.”View Entire Story
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