- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

In a strange scene at Washington Wizards practice Tuesday afternoon, the majority of the bench players worked together on one side of the court. The starters shot on the other. That in itself was not odd. But, seeing Tomas Satoransky, who is not currently part of the playing rotation, shooting with the starters jumped out.

Satoransky is out of the Wizards rotation at the start of the season. As his solid preseason progressed, his playing time decreased. By the end of the preseason, it was clear he would not be part of coach Scott Brooks‘ preferred rotation of nine players.

Why he is not is less clear. Satoransky plays the two spots where Washington has found itself struggling: backup point and shooting guard. He could play alongside either Trey Burke or Marcus Thornton. Instead, he is watching to start the season.

A crucial caveat here, of course, is the Wizards are two games into the season. Burke and Thornton are also experienced NBA players. But, before the season began, it was still surprising that Satoransky was not in the mix at all after his work in training camp.

Satoransky said in the preseason that he knew he had a lot to learn. That’s to be expected for a 25-year-old rookie just coming stateside. The flipside of that is he is a player the Wizards have been waiting on for four years after drafting him in the second round in 2012 and stashing him abroad. As a 6-foot-7 hybrid guard, he has intriguing skills that impressed his fellow players and the organization in camp. Satoransky put up a line of eight points, six assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes during his preseason debut. He followed that with 10 points, six assists, six rebounds and one turnover in the next game. In the second-to-last preseason game, the final time he would play relevant minutes, Satoransky had a more difficult time: Seven points, two rebounds, zero assists and four turnovers. Again, this is the preseason, so large chunk of salt.

His frame could stand to become more sturdy. And, playing in the regular season, even against the other team’s backup players, is more challenging than the preseason.

With all that said, he still would appear a viable option to this group — even as the Wizards try to give Thornton and Burke opportunities to get settled. He’s just not playing now.

Brooks was asked Tuesday what Satoransky needs to do in order to force his way into the rotation:

“That’s always on the back burner,” Brooks said. “With guys that are not in the rotation now, they’re still being developed and watched very carefully in practice and shootarounds and continuing to develop him. He’s learning this league. And, he’s going to have to learn it on the practice floor and in the film rooms and watching games. Like I told him — and he’s a young player, he’s a rookie in this league, but he’s also a veteran. He’s played a lot of professional basketball overseas. But, he’ll be ready, whenever that game is I call him and he’ll be ready. I have a lot of confidence in him. Don’t know when that will be, but I have confidence that he will be ready to play when he does get an opportunity.”

It appears to be a ways off.

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