2012 NBA draft: Wizards take Tomas Satoransky in second round

June 28, 2012

The Washington Wizards added guard Tomas Satoransky with their 32nd and final pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft roughly two hours after selecting Bradley Beal at No. 3 overall.

Satoransky is a 6-foot-7 guard from the Czech Republic, from where Wizards forward Jan Vesely also hails. Vesely was Washington’s sixth overall selection in last year’s draft.

Born in Prague, Satoransky played the last three seasons with Cajasol Sevilla of the top-level Spanish ACB. He averaged 4.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, and he remains under contract in Europe, although he has options for each of his final two years with Cajasol Sevilla.

With that in mind, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in all likelihood Satoransky would remain in Europe to develop his game and ideally join Washington in a few years.

“This is a very good prospect we’re talking about,” Grunfeld said. “A prospect for down the road, and he’s playing in the highest league in Europe, and we hope he develops and plays instead of just sitting on the bench and not getting any playing time.”

Satoransky, 20, worked out for Grunfeld and Wizards Coach Randy Wittman on June 15 along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Austin Rivers and Terrence Ross. All three of those players went in the first round of the draft.

Satoransky’s other international experience includes being the youngest player in the history of the Czech Republic National Basketball League and for the Czech national team. He can play both guard positions and twice won the slam dunk contest in the NBL and won the ACB dunk contest in 2010.

Beal was the player the Wizards coveted all along after he worked out for Wittman, his staff and Grunfeld and other front office officials at Verizon Center on June 24. The freshman from the University of Florida impressed the club’s decision makers with his spot-on shooting in several drills, and Beal apparently felt just as much admiration.

Wittman revealed on draft night that Beal in fact tried to get the Wizards to promise they would select him before he left Verizon Center. That’s when Wittman recalled knowing the fit was ideal for both sides, although he stopped short of proclaiming Beal immediately would become a starter.

“We’ve got competition now, and competition is always good,” Wittman said. “Competition makes you better. It will show who deserves to start and who doesn’t. That’s not always the situation that we had here, that we were under. We’re going to start the five guys that we think is the right five, and obviously we’re going to have a lot of competition at a lot of positions, and I like that.”

The addition of Beal and Satoransky are the latest steps from the Wizards as they attempt to become a viable playoff contender, building around 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall and a nucleus of young players.

During the season, Washington jettisoned underperforming center JaVale McGee and shooting guard Nick Young, whose one-dimensional game at times became an albatross. The Wizards instead distributed more playing time to the likes of Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker, both added in the 2010 draft, while looking to center Nene for leadership on the court and in the locker room.

The newest additions to the Wizards fit into Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis’s blueprint for constructing a playoff team around a mix of veterans and youthful talent with plenty of upside. It’s the structure he envisioned with the Washington Capitals, who he also owns, and that has yielded regular appearances in the playoffs following several seasons of being among the least accomplished teams in the NHL.

“I want a team the fans can be proud of,” Leonsis said shortly before the Wizards selected Beal. “I want a culture and a locker room and a style of play that is hard-working, and effort matters, and coachability matters, and that the young kids get reinforcement. The way we will get better is our young core will develop, and they’ll improve year after year

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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