Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Flip Saunders may well know who the Washington Wizards will take with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft but he isn’t saying.
Saunders, Washington’s head coach, is at the NBA Combine in Chicago and had a chance to meet with both Kentucky point guard John Wall and Ohio State guard Evan Turner, the projected top two picks.
“I think both guys will have a great impact,” Saunders told ESPNU.
“John is probably the most dynamic player in the draft. Evan is probably the most versatile player. He can play numerous positions. He can play a point forward, he can play a two, he can play one at times if he has to.”
Wall, the projected No. 1 overall pick, averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists at Kentucky, while Turner averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists en route to being named the consensus National Player of the Year.
“Both guys have a very good understanding of the game and they’re extremely professional and they’re extremely motivated,” Saunders said.
Wall and Turner were both asked by ESPNU’s Andy Katz what Saunders and the Washington brass asked them during their meetings at the hotel.
“They already know I can be a basketball player,” Wall said. “They want to know how I’m going to help the community, make the organization better, how I’m going to be a point guard and try to be a leader.
“I told them the same situation I was in going to Kentucky and making them better and making my teammates better and getting the trust. I want to develop as a player getting better and that’s what I told those guys and they said I was a good character person.”
Said Turner of his meeting with Washington: “Typical stuff, typical run-down.”
Both players will have individual workouts with various NBA teams, but declined to participate in the basketball portion of the workouts in Chicago.
“My agent said just sit out and just do the agility stuff and that’s the guy I’m listening to and taking his advice,” Wall said.
“My agent advised me not to,” Turner added. “I think, no offense to anybody, I proved a lot of stuff this year. I’m just waiting for individual workouts and getting better and that’s it.”
As for whether there is a competition between Wall and Turner about who is the better player, Wall said there was.
“We’re competitive guys and we always want to be the best player,” Wall said. “We’re out here joking around and pushing each other to get better times.”
Turner joked that maybe they could settle things with a “one-on-one in Cincinnati.”
Still, Wall added that he and Turner were both great players and he wasn’t overly concerned with who was drafted first.
“This year we both battled it out and we both had great seasons and we won games for our teams,” Wall said.
“He made his team win games just like I did but we were a little more talented, but he pushed them through and got them to hit big shots for him. It don’t matter what pick it is, it’s what the team needs and I’m just happy I have a chance to be in the NBA.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.