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June 26 Mailbag Answers Part 1: Aaron White, Rui Hachimura, the Mystics’ woes against the Sun

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Let’s answer some questions.

Iowa v Gonzaga
Could Aaron White FINALLY get back to Washington? Let’s see!
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Thank you for your questions that you sent in for June 26’s mailbag! Here are the answers!


Averagebro (Comments): Brooks indicated last week that if they can work out the numbers Aaron White will be on this team’s roster. What should we expect from him? He good enough to play rotation minutes?

L.W.: Could he end up on the roster? Maybe. But if so, he will have a very limited role. White’s limitations as a defender will make it a challenge to keep him on the floor, and his shooting and scoring numbers from the EuroLeague don’t give me much confidence that he’ll be able to make up for it with offense.

White’s best year in the EuroLeague was 2017-2018, where his stats translated to those of a fringe NBA rotation player. His numbers are back down this year, suggesting that his most likely outcome is worse than that.

Kevin Broom: I ran White’s international numbers last season through YODA. Even if I graded him as if he was a 22-year old senior, and not a 26-year old professional, he’d still have a “don’t draft” grade. In the numbers, he appears to be pretty much the same as he was when they drafted him — terrific shooter who does little else.

Daniel (email): What is it about the Sun that seems to give the Mystics so much trouble? Is it their play style, particular players, something psychological, etc.?

Diamond Holton: From watching their first two meetings, the Mystics were always missing Elena Delle Donne or Emma Meesseman. Unfortunately we won’t see the Mystics play the Sun at full strength. It also doesn’t help when the Sun’s position of strength is the frontocurt.

In their second meeting against the Sun, the Mystics led in the first half but in the second half it was just a matter of who had that extra push and for Connecticut it was their center Jonquel Jones who missed twice in that game finishing with 24 points. But it has to be tough to defeat a top team when your two of your starters go 5-of-22 and the team shoots 6-of-28 from three. The Mystics can be their biggest obstacle which in turn makes it seem like other teams cause difficulty.

Daniel (email): I want to believe Rui Hachimura will grow into a complete NBA player, but there are a lot of draft analysts who insist that his lack of “feel” for the game will prevent him from ever being an effective defender or passer in the league. Is there precedent of a player in Rui’s situation improving once they’re in the NBA?

Ben Mehic: I have a more detailed take coming later, but if a prospect’s major flaw is something nebulous like “feel,” then you take it and run. There are many players who are in that position when they enter the NBA.

And for the second part of your question -- there’s plenty of precedent. Players aren’t finished products when they enter the NBA.

I don’t think being a late-bloomer is all that unique nowadays. Joel Embiid and Giannis didn’t start playing basketball until they were teens. And it wasn’t long ago when NBA rookies typically entered in their early 20s instead of their late teens.

GreatWallofWizards (Comments): Which NBA player will Rui Hachimura be like?

Albert Lee: Bryan Oringher had an answer to your question here where Hachimura could be like Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. I think being like Antawn Jamison is excellent by itself, though.

Expatde (Comments): Do the Wizards have an assistant coach or advisor focused on improving their defense?

Albert Lee: Basketball coaches aren’t like football assistant coaches where there is an offensive and defensive coordinator. That’s because everyone is a two-way player. But in general, coaches are all about improving their players’ defensive and offensive skills. Couldn’t fins who is specifically Washington’s “defensive coordinator,” though.