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How Tomas Satoransky’s emergence helps the Wizards’ bench

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Since jumping from overseas to play in the NBA, many thought that Tomas Satoransky would’ve have adjusted to the league well, but he has had his share of up and downs during his rookie year. Finally this month, it looks like he is starting to put it together. He’s played at least a dozen minutes in each of the Wizards’ last four games and shown encouraging signs that have helped the Wizards on their current win streak. Here’s how he’s making a difference:

1. He brings the floor general skills the team needs

Many expected that Satoransky would be the primary facilitator the second unit desperately needed to spell the team with Wall off the floor. His ability to set up teammates was well known in Europe and he’s continued to show that ability in the NBA. He knows how to exploit double teams and deliver passes at the right moment for maximum impact:

2. His shooting is finally opening up the rest of his game

Everyone knew that Sato had an all-around game from his time at Barcelona. He has some nifty moves and decent finishing strength when he can get close to the rim. Here’s an example from earlier in the season where he was able to establish post presence and made a turnaround hook shot.

He also showed in a November game against Orlando how he could draw fouls and finish through contact when given the chance:

Now he is starting to show a more efficient jumper during this recent stretch. He’s 6-13 from the field over the past four games and has hit two three-pointers, which is equal to how many he made the entire season up to that point. As you can see below, his release isn’t super quick, but if he can at least keep teams honest from outside, it gives him more opportunities to finish inside and create passing opportunities.

3. He’s a smart defender

One of the knacks of Satoransky’s all-around play is his defense. While he may not have the athletic skills to be a lockdown player on the perimeter, he functions well in a team concept. With his 6’7 frame, he can disrupt passing lanes and contest plays in the paint when needed.

His Defensive Rating this season is 102.6, which is pretty good for a first-year NBA player, especially given how much he’s played with the team’s defensively inept bench.


Tomas Satoransky is already developing into the type of player Washington drafted four years ago. On Monday he achieved his first double-double of his career against Portland where he had 10 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes. If he keeps this up, he helps address several of the issues the team has faced with their bench this season.