WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) – On the day before the NBA Draft, Washington Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard spoke with the media; to address the franchise’ strategy heading into the draft, with the 15th overall pick, and more.
In his press conference, he confirmed that All-Star Bradley Beal has not requested a trade; dispelling any rumors that may be circulating around them.
“”The outside is just noise, I don’t comment on rumors or anything.” said Tommy Sheppard, “I just know whenever I pick up the phone, we have a conversation, and I give him updates on kind of what we were thinking.”
He would go on to say how he believes there are plenty of free agents who would love to play with Bradley Beal, and Russell Westbrook. He said he has heard from “key people” the team is interested in, but the team is limited by their cap space.
“You want to prepare for the big moment, and be ready for the big moment.” said Tommy, “You’ll know when that moment comes, because people will be calling you about it. We don’t go intending to trade anybody on our roster, but when those moments present themselves in the last two years, I think we’ve shown that we’re not shy to do anything that would make the Wizards better.”
Back in December, 2020; the Washington Wizards traded John Wall, for Russell Westbrook; after plenty of speculation circulated about the 5x All-Star, including a message from Tommy Sheppard days before the trade, that John Wall has not requested any trade from the team. And with Beal’s contract situation, that adds another layer of urgency for the franchise to capitalize on.
The Wizards are now poised to make another big moment count in the 2021 NBA Draft, with the 15th overall pick, this Thursday.
“In terms of moving up, moving back; there’s a lot of options on the table. We’re gonna do the best one for the Wizards.” said Tommy, “We don’t want to commit to anything today [Wednesday], if something better comes along tomorrow [Thursday].”
This draft itself, poses a unique set of challenge for Tommy, and the franchise. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic; scouting under these circumstances have been nothing short of impressive, as Tommy poured in praise for his staff. He highlighted that a handful of players might have declared for last year’s draft, had it not been for the pandemic; but that also the depth in this draft could be deceiving, and is top heavy.
“The dreaded phrase, ‘small sample size’, that kind of applies this year.” said Tommy, “So you really have had done your homework; the EYBL, the USA Basketball tryouts, things of that nature. There’s a lot more information available, but certainly small sample sizes everywhere you turn around. So you really have to have a great feel for projecting a player forward, in two years, three years.”
Tommy did confirm that the plan for the Wizards is to have a pick in the 2nd round of the draft, but said that option is not available to the team right now.
With the introduction of new Head Coach, Wes Unseld Jr., Sheppard said the two of them shared very similar ideas; in how they will look to improve the team, and its roster moving forward.
“We just want to continue to be a lot more athletic, a lot more versatile.” said Tommy, “And I think the opportunities to do that are there, even through the draft, through trades, and free agency. I think we’re always going to be aligned in terms of the way we think our roster needs are, and where we want to go.”