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Mailbag answers: Rui Hachimura’s potential, next year’s uniforms and Ian Mahinmi’s contract

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It’s been a busy week, so here are the answers to the mailbag that was originally going to come out on July 22.

Rui Hachimura Signs Sponsorship With Nissin Foods
Let’s get to answering your questions for our mailbag!
Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage

Thank you to everyone who asked questions for our mailbag. First off, my apologies for the delay in responses. They were due to two reasons. First, we had the announcement on Monumental Basketball which took over the main discussion in the first part of the week. Then, we were tied up in our professional lives which delayed this piece from getting published for another day.

Fortunately, most of the questions you asked weren’t time dependent. So here are the answers to the questions we were able to get to earlier this week. If your question doesn’t show up here, then it’s mainly because of the holdup. I may answer them in an overflow piece for early next week. Thanks again for your patience!

— Albert


expatde (comments): When will Rui Hachimura, Admiral Schofield, Moritz Wagner and the other new young Wizards get their first practice with Bradley Beal? Do they have a chance to interact with Beal this month and next month?

Alan Jenkins: Probably not until training camp in late September. All workouts right now are voluntary so unless these guys link up over the summer, it’s unlikely that they’ll get their first run together for another two months.

averagebro (comments): Any guess on what this year’s City Edition uniforms will look like? We’ve done “The District” in 3 colorways already. I think that template should be mothballed.

Albert Lee: I’m thinking that there could be another slate of uniforms that has a Cherry Blossom theme to it. With Hachimura now on the Wizards and the Japanese connection to the flower, this definitely makes sense.

GreatWallofWizards (comments): Would you start Hachimura at SF? Then Moritz Wagner at PF?

Kevin Broom: What I’ve seen of Hachimura suggests he’s a 4. He doesn’t have the playmaking or defensive chops to be a three at this point. The Wizards should let him settle in at his natural position before trying to expand his game.

CharGrayJ (comments): Why doesn’t the WNBA have more/better updates about player injuries and possible return dates?

This question was prompted by EDD’s most recent injury, a broken nose. The league and/or the team haven’t given fans much of an update about her status or when she may return. I saw that she may have gotten a concussion in addition to the broken nose, is that why she hasn’t been on the bench during games? This happened last year as well, when I don’t even think they revealed why she was out.

I’m used to the NBA, where they reveal when someone has bubble guts and why and when it happened and when they will be back. Does the WNBA intentionally keep information from fans or do they just not deem it to be important? Either way it’s a bad decision on their part for a variety of reasons and they don’t seem to care or understand the amount and kind of information that fans want.

Albert: This is a good question. Ultimately, every team has the right to withhold ancillary details in regard to player absences to some degree. So, if Elena Delle Donne or Kristi Toliver missed a game because of indigestion after eating bad food, I don’t think everyone has to know that detail. But if it involves another bodily injury could involve missing multiple games, then it’s fair game for WNBA and NBA teams to mention the general issue. Again, this is a good point.

GreatWallofWizards (comments): Does trading Ian Mahinmi makes sense, rather than waiting for the contract to expire? I say something like for example Ian for Evan Turner’s expiring contract? Wiz got a wing and they got C depth.

Alan: Trading Mahinmi only makes sense if the Wizards don’t have to give up an asset to do so and receive another expiring deal in the process. With that said, at this point, it probably makes the most sense to absorb the final year of his deal so the Wizards can wipe their hands clean of this mess and clear up cap space in the summer of 2020.

Albert: Agreed with Alan there. I’ll also add that Ian by all account has been a net positive in the locker room. If Mahinmi was only paid a fraction of his current salary, he would not be getting the heat that he often gets.

BulletsFever (comments): How much time do you think Troy Brown Jr. will get at the point?

Alan: Unfortunately, probably not a ton. I’ve got a feeling that the coaching staff will treat Troy Brown Jr. similar to that of Tomas Satoransky. I wouldn’t be surprised if they primarily played him off the ball with him triggering the offense on rare occasion.

@MattModerno (Twitter): What’s the ceiling for Troy Brown?

Ben Mehic: I’m not sure Brown will ever make the All-Star team or become a household name, but he has the potential to be a really effective role player -- an Andre Iguodala, Joe Ingles, Danny Green type.

For the 15th overall pick, that’s a pretty good get. Wizards need all the contributors they can find, and they might have unearthed one in Brown, who was considered a reach at that point.

gavalon55 (comments): There has been a lot of speculation of what Hachimura could and couldn’t do in pre-draft scouting.

In limited Summer League, he showed what he can do and was able to earn 2nd team honors. He looked even better on defense which was considered a major weakness. Why do you think the evaluations of Hachimura was all over the place?

Albert: I still think that it’s fair to have concerns. on Hachimura’s potential. But like you said he did better than what some expected — and that’s a good thing.

For the Hachi-skeptics, they will acknowledge that hje was part of the second team in the Vegas Summer League, but he also wasn’t playing NBA-level competition. Sure, the players in Vegas are generally better than college stars, but you don’t see many NBA stars playing in Vegas so they can rest. It will be interesting to see how the rookie does in the World Cup this September and training camp this fall.

BulletsFever (comments) and Hervey Aitken (email): Who do you project will start for the Wizards in 2019-20?

Ben: Smith, Beal, Brown, Bertans, Bryant. It wouldn’t shock me if Hachimura gets the nod over Bertans, but the Wizards need spacing -- bad -- and Bertans is one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league. Another training camp battle to watch is Isaiah Thomas v. Ish Smith.

@WizardCat1 (Twitter): Do you think the absence of having a GM (inexplicably & inexcusably) will lead to Beal leaving?

Ben: The Wizards now named Tommy Sheppard their GM. But because that process was drawn out, it could impact his decision for sure. If the Wizards were able to snag, say, Masai Ujiri, then I’d assume Beal would have been excited about what’s to come.

Given that the Wizards promoted Tommy Sheppard from within -- after whiffing on Connelly and Masai -- it might give Beal some pause. Ultimately, I think Beal will want to play where he can win -- and Sheppard will have to show Beal that he’s serious about building a contender.