The offseason between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA seasons will be historically short with the 2020 draft taking place on November 18, just weeks after the Lakers defeated the Heat. The Washington Wizards go into the draft with the No. 9 overall pick for the second year in a row after selecting Rui Hachimura in 2019. Ahead of his second offseason as an NBA general manager, Tommy Sheppard fielded questions from the media the day before the 2020 draft.
On need for rim protection:
"Hope isn’t a strategy. We do need rim protection, we do have the 9th pick, but we also have free agency, we also have the 37th pick, there’s always trades. There’s a number of things that we can do to satisfy that need."
On young players on roster potentially being used in trades:
“You can’t keep them all. As you’re developing players, you have to see a pathway for which players you’re going to be with your roster in five years. … You have a personal attachment to all of these players, but our job is to do what’s best for the Wizards. It’s showbiz not show friends, so whatever is going to be a deal that makes sense for us, we want to be good today, we want to be good in the future.”
On precautiously limiting John Wall, playing fewer minutes and fewer back-to-backs:
“We’re going to be conservative as he comes out of the starting blocks and really always make sure we are a step ahead of him a little bit. Because if it was up to John, he’d play in every game and every minute out there.”
On willingness to make the needed moves to get better:
“You just got to remember, what’s best for your team. And to me, if the right trade’s there, we’ve shown zero reluctance not to do anything. We’re a willing partner, we’re out there right now banging on people trying to make this team better.”
On continued refusal to trade Bradley Beal:
“Bradley is not going anywhere, he’s the cornerstone person we are building this franchise around moving forward. I like getting calls from people because I like catching up with my brethren around the NBA anyway and they can call, they can ask, and they’ll get the same answer that I just gave to you, we’re just building. Most of that is based off the communication certainly that I receive from Bradley back and forth since he signed his extension last summer and our expectations of each other are the same, let’s go out and get this team the very best we can. It doesn’t happen overnight, Bradley’s aware of that.”
On John Wall and Bradley Beal's roles in free agency:
“We’ve always involved our players in free agency, they’ve been active in making sure Davis [Bertans] knows this is the best place for him. Once free agency comes, they’ll be involved in pitches we’ll make to other possible free agents. Certainly, I keep them informed, these are some things we’re looking at and not every player gets that opportunity. I’m just being blunt about it, I’m gonna knock things around with guys that we feel are part of this franchise moving forward at all times.”
On timeline urgency for young talent and desire for continuity:
“When I see our roster, I see guys when you put them next to very good players, they’ll perform up. How high? That’s what we’ll find out. But the sense of urgency is always there to get better and if there’s an opportunity to do that, we do that. We’re not going to short-sell our future. This is not a panic thing to just get that 8-spot and hope that makes everybody happy. What makes everybody happy is the ability to win every year and keep competing and one day you breakthrough. … We really want to put a team together that’s a cohesive unit, get continuity, and I think that represents the winning formula to really go out and do damage throughout the season and into post-season as well. When you have that group that has played well together and they have some continuity and you can’t keep doing that if every five minutes you pull over and move people out.”