In last summer’s NBA draft, the Washington Wizards used their number 32 overall pick to select Tomas Satoransky, a 6’7” point guard from the Czech Republic. At the time, the pick was somewhat of a head-scratcher. Satoransky was projected to be selected much lower in the second round and there were some noteworthy collegiate prospects still available, including Jae Crowder, Draymond Green, and Quincy Miller.
But taking a closer look at the Wizards’ team composition on draft night, the Satoransky pick became slightly more palatable. A team with a surplus of wing players and a dearth of veteran leadership would almost be doing a prospect a disservice by adding him to a roster still searching for its identity and true player core.
Some Wizards fans cringed at the Satoransky pick because of Ernie Grunfeld’s history of international picks, pointing at the futility of selections such as Peter John Ramos, Oleksiy Pecherov, and Vladimir Veremeenko (who never suited up for the Wizards before his draft rights were traded to the Chicago Bulls).
Wizards fans were fortunate enough to see Satoransky first-hands this past summer when he backed up former Wizards player Shelvin Mack in summer league play. In five games, Satoransky averaged 4.4 points and 1.8 assists per game. He held true to his role with his European clubs, taking very few field goal attempts during play (16).
This past season with his club Qalat Cajasol, Satoransky has been noticeably more aggressive, averaging 12 points per game and 4.1 assists per game in 29 minutes of play. During the Eurocup, his play remained steady, with excellent shooting performances of 20 points (6-8) and 21 points (8-11) deep in tournament play. Satoransky’s three point shooting remains dismal (31.1% during season play), but is arguably negligible if he’s leading a unit that can make up for this deficiency.
Physically, Satoransky, while tall for his natural position, is still very frail and lacking in lateral quickness. These areas will be most problematic in pick and roll defense and keeping up with speedy point guards.
There will be a roster spot available for Satoransky next season if he’s prepared to play in the NBA. The Wizards have run several point guards through a turnstile this season before ultimately settling on its original choice, A.J. Price, but his contract expires at the end of the season.
My guess is Grunfeld will remain tight-lipped on Satoransky until at least the middle of next summer. There have been no leanings from his agent and I imagine Wizards management will be risk adverse with its international prospect this time around.