Updated Fri, Jun 21, 2013 6:02 pm
D.J. Cooper completed his third NBA pre-draft workout Friday, June 21, this one with the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Wireless Center in Washington, D.C. Cooper had already completed workouts with the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors.
“This is my third [workout],” Cooper said, “and they’ve all pretty much been the same workouts, you know, just been competitive and fast-paced and a lot of shooting.”
Cooper worked out in front of coaches including 15-year veteran guard Sam Cassell, a Wizards assistant since 2009.
Cassell led Ohio’s former guard and Iowa State point guard Korie Lucious (who transferred from Michigan State in 2011) in one-on-one drills. Cooper was in his traditional form, hitting on threes and maneuvering toward the basket, delicately working his way around Lucious.
On defense, Cooper showed toughness despite his lack of tremendous size. He said coaches have “been surprised that I can defend so well and they love how I make guys better.”
Cooper’s long reach allowed him to have a hand in Lucious’s face on each possession, causing visible frustration for the former Cyclone. Cooper was previously measured with a 6-foot-5 reach at the 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.
In the offseason, Cooper said, he has been working to get stronger and develop more consistency on both sides of the ball.
“I’m just working,” he said, “and I’m controlling everything I can control and just pushing every day.”
The Wizards own the 3rd, 38th and 54th picks in this year’s draft. Cooper, at best, is projected as a late second-rounder, putting him in the Wizards’ wheelhouse.
Washington drafted John Wall to be its point guard with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. A.J. Price, the team’s backup in 2012-13, will be an unrestricted free agent. Washington also acquired Leandro Barbosa in the middle of last season and he will also be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The Wizards could, thus, be on the market for a backup point guard. But Cooper has set his sights on only one thing: getting better.
“Regardless of what happens, I’m going to be working,” he said. “I’m going to keep getting better. Wherever I end up I hope I can be a good asset to the team and make guys better.”
The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 27.