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Last few weeks were viewed as ‘trial run’ for new Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard

Wizards, Tommy Sheppard

Washington Wizards team owner Ted Leonsis removed the interim label on general manager Tommy Sheppard, promoting the former senior vice president to the full-time position in July.

Curiously, after Leonsis removed long-time executive Ernie Grunfeld from the role at the beginning of April of this year and tabbed Sheppard for the interim job, the Wizards’ owner never made another decision despite Sheppard running the organization into the NBA draft in June and the free agency period that’s ongoing.

Sheppard’s handling of the Wizards’ front office during this period was known as a “trial run,” per Chase Hughes in NBC Sports Washington:

How Sheppard navigated the Wizards through the draft and free agency was central in why managing partner Ted Leonsis decided to elevate him to the long-term post. The last several weeks were treated as a “trial run,” according to a person familiar with the process.

During his brief tenure as former interim GM, Sheppard selected Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura with the team’s ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft. Hachimura is a 6-foot-8 Beninese-Japanese forward who has drawn massive amount of Japanese press attention in covering his entrance into the NBA with Washington.

Sheppard also traded for the 42nd overall pick in order to take Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield. Ironically, the former GM Grunfeld had an accomplished collegiate career playing at Tennessee with Hall of Famer Bernard King

The Wizards, under Sheppard’s stewardship, also traded Dwight Howard for C.J. Miles and signed point guards Isaiah Thomas and Ish Smith in free agency. Many expect All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal to be on the trading block while the team rebuilds in the wake of John Wall’s Achilles rupture and long rehabilitation.