Archive for the ‘ Washington Wizards Blog ’ Category

Wizards restructure their coaching and training staff

The Washington Wizards announced their re-structured coaching and training staff for the 2018-19 season today.

Joining Scott Brooks and Tony Brown on the front of the bench will be Robert Pack and Ryan Richman, while Kristi Toliver will join David Adkins, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh on the back of the bench as an assistant coach/player development. Additionally, Alex McLean and Landon Tatum have both been promoted to assistant coach/player development.

“We’re excited to begin the season with a revamped, versatile staff of coaches and trainers,” said Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks. “We have a good mix of returning veteran NBA coaches, valuable new additions and promotions from within the organization that will help our players improve.”

Pack joins the Wizards after spending last season as a scout with the Portland Trail Blazers. Prior to that, he spent the previous two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17) as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Pelicans, his second stint with the organization. Pack spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Brooks’ staff from 2013-15. He began his coaching career in New Orleans, serving as an assistant coach during the 2009-10 season before spending three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers in a similar role.

Richman, who served as the Wizards’ 2018 Summer League head coach, is entering his fifth season with the team. Following two seasons in the video room, Richman transitioned into a player development coordinator/assistant coach role for the 2016-17 season under then-new Head Coach Scott Brooks. He began his coaching career with the University of Maryland basketball program prior to joining the Wizards’ staff in 2014.

Toliver comes to the Wizards’ bench after helping to lead the Washington Mystics to the 2018 WNBA Finals. She also assisted the Wizards’ coaching staff during 2018 NBA Summer League and training camp. The 10-year pro, two-time All-Star (2013 and 2018) and WNBA champion (2016 with Los Angeles) has averaged 12.3 points and 3.4 assists over her WNBA career and posted 13.9 points and 4.4 assists for the Mystics last season. She was originally drafted third overall by Chicago in the 2009 draft out of Maryland, where she led the Terrapins to the 2006 national championship.

McLean spent last season with the Wizards’ player development staff, assisting with on-court work for Wizards players and travelling/training with players on G-League assignment. Tatum is in his third season with the Wizards, spending time as both an assistant video coordinator and as part of the team’s player development staff.

In addition to the changes to the coaching staff, the Wizards announced that they have added Blair O’Donovan as director of physical preparation and have promoted Jeff Bangs to athletic trainer, joining Steve Smith, Jesse Phillips and Navin Hettiarachchi on the team’s training staff, headed by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih of MedStar Health.

O’Donovan has trained elite athletes in the DC metro area and around the world, including time spent with both the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Capitals. Bangs enters his third season with the Wizards after spending the previous two years working with the training staff and has also worked with the training staffs of the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Heat.

Wizards trade Jodie Meeks to Bucks

Wizards trade Jodie Meeks to Bucks

The Washington Wizards have traded guard Jodie Meeks along with cash considerations and a protected second round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for a protected second round pick.

Meeks, 31, averaged 6.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 77 games last season for Washington. A nine-year NBA veteran, Meeks has averaged 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 531 games. Drafted by Milwaukee in the second-round (41st overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft, he has played for six NBA teams including the Bucks, 76ers, Lakers, Pistons, Magic and Wizards.

The Bucks roster stands at 18 players with Meeks beginning the season on the NBA’s Suspended List.

The Washington Wizards have waived guards Chasson Randle, Chris Chiozza and Tiwian Kendley, and forward Lavoy Allen.

The Wizards roster now stands at 14, which does not include their two two-way players, Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae.

Championship or bust, says John Wall

Every NBA player wants to win a championship, but for most, of course, it simply won’t happen. And of course, simply making the league is a great accomplishment, let alone enjoying a full career, especially as a star. But Wizards guard John Wall, he definitely wants that ring. Here’s NBC Sports Washington  with more:

Wall, naturally, wants to win an NBA title. But it’s not just a goal, it’s the benchmark for which Wall will measure his basketball career.

“I think for me to have a heck of a career – if I don’t win a championship, I feel like my career was a failure. So that’s my ultimate goal,” Wall said.

Wall, 28, has never been past the second round of the NBA playoffs. The closest his Wizards team has been to advancing further was in 2017 when they lost in Game 7 of the second round to the Boston Celtics.

The Wizards as they currently stand face an uphill battle in reaching the 2019 NBA Finals, but they remain one of the East’s better teams. But several key players on the squad must emerge as serious difference-makers for the team to reach that elusive next level.

Wizards shooting guard Tomas Satoransky is 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, will turn 27 years old a few weeks into the upcoming regular season, and was taken in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft. He received limited minutes as a rookie in 2016-17, but last season averaged 7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 22.5 minutes per game, shooting 52.3% from the field. Solid numbers for a backup only in his second NBA season, though age-wise he should be approaching his prime any season now. Perhaps this one. Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting:

The Wizards clearly wanted to see more from him last season and he took that to heart.

“That’s what these two years have taught me, never be sure of your situation or position,” Satoransky told NBC Sports Washington. “On the other hand, I feel very confident now. I also feel confident knowing how things go and how I can be patient when I’m not playing. I still have to work hard, which I do every time. But I feel confident knowing everything and there is a big difference coming into something where you have no idea what’s going to happen.”

The Wizards explained their decisions to bring in other point guards, a process which also included trading for Tim Frazier last summer and signing Ramon Sessons in March, as not an indication of Satoransky’s shortcomings. Instead, they wanted him to develop at other positions and use his athletic 6-foot-7 frame in other ways.

Head coach Scott Brooks even mentioned this after Wednesday’s training camp practice.

“Tomas, he is very versatile. He can play a lot of different positions on both ends of the court. We have to use that,” Brooks said.

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On Dwight Howard and the Wizards

The Wizards center spot used to be manned by Marcin Gortat, but now the job belongs to Dwight Howard. What’s the realistic impact Dwight may have? Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting:

On Dwight Howard and the Wizards

As the Wizards opened training camp this week at the Medstar Performance Center in Southeast Washington, head coach Scott Brooks’ first message to his team was about defense and how he believes they can make a significant leap this season. Part of his thinking is rooted in the fact they added Dwight Howard through free agency this summer, as Howard gives them a level of rim protection they have not enjoyed in years.

It also wasn’t that long ago that the Wizards were a top-shelf defensive team. When Washington first began making playoff runs with John Wall and Bradley Beal running the show, they were an above average team on defense. From the 2012-13 season through 2014-15, they were top 10 in points allowed.

Their roster has changed significantly from those days and some of their best defenders like Trevor Ariza moved on. But last year they were 15th in defensive rating and 15th in points allowed, and Brooks feels a jump into the top 10 isn’t out of the question.

Howard himself believes they can be even better than that.

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The Washington Wizards will host their annual Open Practice on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights.

The event is open to the public and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first 500 fans through the door will receive a free T-shirt, and the first 200 fans will receive a pass to participate in a post-practice autograph session with select Wizards players.

Activities planned for the event in addition to the open practice and team scrimmage include a dunk contest, half-court shooting contest, performances by the Wizards Dancers and Wiz Kids and music from the Ballou High School Band.

Fans interested in attending the open practice are encouraged to RSVP here:

http://info.washingtonwizards.com/Wiz-OpenPractice09-20-18.

Doors for the open practice will open at 5:00 p.m.

Open tryouts are always fascinating, in that anybody with a dream and hopefully some actual talent can head to an event and get a shot at making their dreams come true. Of course, in pro sports, the vast, vast, vast majority of players hoping to play the game of their lives when it matters most will fall short. Still, an open tryout for a pro team is a fun event. Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting on the Wizards’ G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go:

These were basketball players, young and old by the sport’s standards, all waiting for their chance to try out for the Wizards’ new G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

G-League teams are permitted to hold local tryouts and this was the first one in the history of the inaugural franchise.

The Wizards hosted over 100 players total across two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They ran them through shooting drills, taught them two plays and then let them go in 5-on-5 scrimmages spread out between three courts; one in the main arena and the other two in the back of the building.

Just about everyone from the Wizards front office was in attendance. Team president Ernie Grunfeld, senior vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard and others looked on as hoopers from all walks of life played what were essentially pickup games, one after another.

The Go-Go are allowed to keep up to four players from the event. Those four would merely get invites to the team’s training camp, which begins in October. The odds for these players to even get that far are minuscule and from there they get no guarantees for a roster spot.

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On new Wizards forward Jeff Green

Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting on an offseason addition to the Wizards that probably deserves more attention, forward Jeff Green:

The Wizards had been eerily quiet through the first two days of free agency this summer as others around the league made bold moves to change the NBA landscape. But on July 3, Washington agreed to a one-year minimum contract with Jeff Green, a favorite son of the D.C. region for his accomplishments at nearby Northwestern High School and then at Georgetown University.

Green was brought in to replace Mike Scott, who had departed to join the L.A. Clippers. On paper, it appears the Wizards did quite well for themselves. Scott was an important piece and will be difficult to replace. But Green can do many of the things Scott provided for the Wizards and will be paid about half of what Scott is earning in L.A. Those savings allowed Washington to make other moves in an offseason with few resources at their disposal within the NBA’s salary cap.

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On new Wizards guard Austin Rivers

Here’s NBC Sports Washington on new Wizards guard Austin Rivers, who should certainly improve the team’s backcourt as he likely comes off the bench behind starters John Wall and Bradley Beal:

Rivers, though far from perfect, is potentially a significant upgrade for the Wizards at backup shooting guard and that help is coming at a good time. All-Star Bradley Beal played in all 82 games last season, but that was arguably not a good thing, as he ended up logging the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player and seemed to run out of gas at times late in the season.

Rivers should at the very least be able to take some of the workload off of Beal’s shoulders. Rivers could also help solve the Wizards’ issues at backup point guard behind John Wall and possibly even play some in three-guard lineups with both Beal and Wall on the floor.

Rivers’ likely role is clear. The question is how he will adjust to it given what he has grown accustomed to in recent years in L.A. and given he will be in a contract year. Rivers started 59 games last season for the Clippers and averaged 13.2 field goal attempts per night. Barring injuries, he will not get those opportunities in Washington.

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On Dwight Howard and the Wizards

The Wizards in recent seasons always seem pretty good, but never take that next step towards rising up and being closer to great. Now they’ve added Dwight Howard, who still puts up nice stats but needs to show that he actually impacts a game beyond some numbers in the usual stat categories. Here’s a look on the positive side of things regarding the Wizards and new center Dwight Howard, from NBC Sports Washington:

On Dwight Howard and the Wizards

Howard is already 15th all-time in total rebounds. Last season, he surpassed Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. He has long since eclipsed Dennis Rodman, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Ben Wallace.

Howard is objectively one of the best rebounders of all-time and he hasn’t slowed down much, if at all, from his younger days. Last season, he grabbed 12.5 rebounds per game, good for third in the NBA.

If Howard can keep that up with the Wizards and get Wall out in the open court a second or two quicker than in the past, the Wizards could be uniquely dangerous.

“He’s the best rebounder in the league. It creates offense for our guys that can play fast and can shoot,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said.

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Wizards sign Dwight Howard

The Washington Wizards’ signing of free agent center Dwight Howard became official today.

“Dwight has been known throughout his career as one of the league’s best defenders, rebounders and finishers around the rim, all areas that we needed to improve heading into next season,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “His inside presence and athleticism will give us a much different look and will open up opportunities for us on both ends of the floor.”

According to NBC Sports Washington, “Howard was signed to a two-year deal worth $11 million with the second year a player option.”

At this point in his career, Howard is more of a supporting cast player than a star. He can still put up big stats, especially as a rebounder, and he’s still starting material and certainly should start for the Wizards with Marcin Gortat gone. But John Wall and Bradley Beal are still expected to lead the way in DC, with Howard supporting their efforts.

Howard (6-11, 265) has averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting .585 from the floor in 1,035 NBA games (1,034 starts) over 14 NBA seasons with Orlando, L.A. Lakers, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte.

The 32-year-old center posted 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 assists while shooting .555 from the field in 81 games (all starts) for Charlotte last season. He finished the 2017-18 campaign third in the NBA in point-rebound double-doubles (fourth overall), third in total blocks, third in total rebounds and rebounds per game, fourth in total defensive rebounds and defensive rebounds per game, fifth in total offensive rebounds and offensive rebounds per game, seventh in blocks per game and 11th in field goal percentage.

Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (winning three straight awards from 2008-09 to 2010-11) and has also earned five All-NBA First Team selections while being named All-NBA Second Team once and All-NBA Third Team twice. The former number one overall draft choice (2004) has been selected to the All-NBA Defensive First Team four times and also earned All-NBA Defensive Second Team honors once.

The eight-time All-Star currently leads all active players with 13,101 career rebounds, 3,647 career offensive rebounds and 2,047 career blocks. He has averaged 18.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.4 assists while shooting .545 from the floor in 95 career playoff games (including the 2008-09 postseason, when he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals).

Wizards sign Jeff Green

The Wizards have signed free agent forward Jeff Green.

The contract is reportedly just for one year.

“Jeff is a proven veteran who will add to our frontcourt rotation with his ability to play and defend multiple positions,” said Grunfeld. “We’re excited to be bringing him back to the D.C. area and look forward to his experience and professionalism benefiting us on the court and in the locker room.”

Green (6-9, 235) has averaged 13.2 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting .438 from the floor and .332 from three-point range in 783 NBA games (498 starts) over 10 NBA seasons with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Boston, Memphis, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando and Cleveland. Last season, he posted 10.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting .477 from the field and .312 from three-point range in 78 games (14 starts) en route to helping the Cavs reach the NBA Finals.

Over his career, Green has averaged 9.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting .331 from three-point range in 60 playoff games (17 starts). The 31-year-old forward has averaged double figures in nine of his 10 NBA seasons and scored the 10,000th point of his career last season (Jan. 15 vs. Golden State).

Signing with the Wizards marks a homecoming for Green, who was originally selected with the fifth overall pick by Boston in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Georgetown (and was named All-Rookie First Team in 2007-08). He played three years as a Hoya, where he received numerous accolades including Big East Player of the Year in 2007. Green was born in Cheverly, MD, and attended Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, where he led the NHS Wildcats to the state basketball championship in 2004.

Wizards add Thomas Bryant off waivers

The Washington Wizards yesterday claimed Thomas Bryant off of waivers from the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Thomas is an intriguing young prospect with size and athleticism who showed he has three-point range during his time in the G League last season,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He will be able to continue his development process as he gains experience and works with our staff.”

Bryant (6-10, 245 lbs.) appeared in 37 games while on assignment with the South Bay Lakers of the G League last season, averaging 19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting .597 (284-476) from the floor and .364 (67-184) from three-point range. The 20-year old center, who has a 7’6” wingspan, also appeared in 15 games with the Los Angeles Lakers.

A native of Rochester, NY, Bryant was originally drafted 42nd overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft. Bryant was acquired by the Lakers from the Jazz along with the draft rights to Josh Hart in exchange for the draft rights to Tony Bradley on June 22, 2017.

Bryant played collegiately for two seasons at Indiana (2015-17) and averaged 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting .592 from the field and .373 from three-point range. He was named Third Team All-Big 10 as a sophomore after earning Big 10 All-Freshman honors following his first campaign.

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired guard Austin Rivers from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for center Marcin Gortat.

“Acquiring Austin gives us another versatile, experienced player who provides scoring and playmaking,” said Grunfeld. “He is coming off a career year and his ability to create offense for himself and others will help our second unit and allow us to play a variety of lineups throughout the season.”

“We are excited to welcome Marcin Gortat to the Clippers, a respected player that brings years of NBA experience and additional toughness to this team. We’ve been a fan of Marcin’s for some time and this decision will help rebalance the roster by adding another proven big man to the front court,” said Lawrence Frank, Clippers’ President of Basketball Operations. “Austin’s development as a player is a testament to his work ethic and desire to improve. We experienced a lot of success with Austin and are grateful for his contributions during his four seasons with the club. The Clippers wish Brittany and Austin all the best in Washington.”

Rivers (6-5, 200) averaged career highs of 15.1 points, 4.0 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals this season while shooting a career-high .378 (136-360) from three-point range in 61 games (59 starts). The 25-year-old guard posted 12 games of 20+ points, three games of 30+ points and set a new career high with 38 points at Memphis on Dec. 22 (one night after scoring 36 at Houston).

He holds career averages of 9.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 408 career games (130 starts) while shooting .355 from three-point range in five seasons with the Clippers and New Orleans. The 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Rivers has appeared in 23 career playoff games (six starts), all with the Clippers. He entered the NBA after one season at Duke, where he earned First Team All-ACC honors.

Gortat, who was originally acquired prior to the 2013-14 season, posted 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting .555 from the field in 402 (out of a possible 410) games over his five seasons in Washington. The team posted an .543 (223-187) overall record and made four playoff appearances during his tenure.

“We appreciate Marcin’s contributions during his time with us and wish him the best moving forward,” said Grunfeld. “He is a very durable professional who helped the team in many ways to become a perennial playoff contender and set an example with his work in the community both in D.C. and in his native country of Poland.”

The Washington Wizards selected Troy Brown Jr. out of Oregon and Issuf Sanon out of Slovenia in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Brown Jr., a 6-7, 215-pound swingman, was selected with the 15th overall pick. In his lone season at Oregon, he averaged 11.3 points, a team-high 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In addition, he recorded a team-best 55 steals and finished just one assist shy of a triple double against Portland State on Dec. 13 when he recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high nine assists.

“Troy is a very versatile player with a high basketball IQ, great work ethic and outstanding character,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He will be able to play and defend three positions and his playmaking abilities will allow him to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.”

A native of Las Vegas, NV, Brown was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit in 2017 at Centennial High School. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship team.

“I was impressed with Troy both on and off the court throughout the draft process and I’m excited to have him work with our coaches throughout the summer,” said Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks. “His size, toughness and all-around game make him a good fit for our roster and will give him the opportunity to earn minutes as a young player.”

Sanon, a 6-4, 177-pound guard, was selected 44th overall by the Wizards. He averaged 22.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists over the last two seasons in Ukraine’s 2nd Division before moving to Olimpija in Slovenia in January.

“Issuf is a young player who will be able to continue to play at a high level overseas and develop his game as we monitor him, much like we did with Tomas Satoransky,” said Grunfeld. “His athleticism, size and competitive nature were all very intriguing and we feel he can be a player who will help us in the future after gaining more experience.”

A native of Ukraine, Sanon averaged 19.3 points (second in the division), 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.7 assists with Ukraine’s U18 National Team at the 2017 U18 Euros.

We are now in a crucially important period of the basketball offseason: Awaiting the draft, but also seeing which players enter free agency. Some will do so automatically because their contract has officially ended, but with others it’s by choice, either by the player or the team. In the case of the Wizards, here’s the Washington Post with an update on Jodie Meeks:

Jodie Meeks will reportedly stay with Wizards

In an expected move, Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks exercised the player option of his contract for the 2018-19 season, according to league sources. Meeks’s return will signal a hit to the salary cap while also ensuring the Wizards will be shorthanded to start next season.

With Meeks, the Wizards have 10 players under contract. The sharpshooter is expected to earn $3.45 million next season and though his individual income appears meager compared to the team’s core players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., the cumulative amount will push the team’s 2018-19 salary past $124 million.

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The Raptors were an excellent team almost all regular season, winning 59 games (second most in the entire league) and clearly played at a higher level than in the past. And started strong in the playoffs, winning their first two at home against Washington. But the Wizards did what was needed and defended homecourt in DC, tying the series 2-2. We have a battle on our hands. Here’s the Toronto Star with more:

Maybe Casey’s team will respond more favourably in the friendly environs of the Air Canada Centre. As it was, the Raptors capped a forgettable trip to the U.S. capital with a second straight loss, 106-98, to leave their best-of-seven series deadlocked at 2-2. For the second straight game the Raptors saw an early lead undone by careless turnovers and unforced mistakes. For the second straight game, the Wizards got a big performance from Bradley Beal to vault themselves back into the series. Even after Beal fouled out with 4:58 to play — after he scored 31 points on 19 field-goal attempts — the Wizards got it over the finish line. John Wall inserted a dagger, making one of his floating mid-range jump shots to put the Wizards up 102-96 with 58 seconds to play. Wall, for whom the Raptors have yet to find an antidote, finished with 25 points and 14 assists.

Yet again, Toronto’s vaunted depth failed to show itself, leaving all-stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry to carry far more of the load than they did en route to 59 regular-season wins. DeRozan responded to a steady diet of single coverage with a big game, scoring 35 points and getting to the free-throw line 18 times. Lowry, meanwhile, scored 19 points, going 4-for-6 from three-point range. But Toronto’s other starters were less effective. And Toronto’s bench, which averaged 42 points a game during the regular season, contributed just 22 points. C.J. Miles was 0-for-3 from three-point range. Delon Wright had just seven points on seven shots.

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Wizards sign Ty lawson

Wizards sign Ty lawson

The Washington Wizards have signed free agent guard Ty Lawson.

“Ty’s experience and ability will give us extra depth in the backcourt during the playoffs,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He’s a veteran player who can score and distribute while bringing additional postseason experience.”

Lawson has averaged 12.7 points (.460 FG%, .359 3FGt%, .770 FT%), 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 29.2 minutes per game in 551 contests (345 starts) over his eight NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets (2009-15) Houston Rockets (2016), Indiana Pacers (2016) and Sacramento Kings (2016-17). During his time with the Nuggets, Lawson appeared in 416 contests (307 starts) over six seasons, averaging 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He also averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 assists during the 2012 NBA Playoffs and 21.3 points and 8.0 assists in the 2013 NBA Playoffs (and helped the team reach the playoffs in his first five seasons).

His best overall season with the Nuggets came in 2013-14 when he averaged 17.6 points, 8.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 62 games. Lawson averaged a career-high 9.6 assists per game in 75 games for the Nuggets during the 2014-15 season. He was originally selected with the 18th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft before being traded to the Nuggets on draft night.

A native of nearby Clinton, MD, Lawson most recently played this year with the Shandong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), where he averaged 25.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 46 games. He scored 55 points for the Lions on February 12.

Win over Heat was key for Wizards

We’ve reached the part of the year where for many NBA teams, each win matters. The postseason isn’t here yet, but it’s still a pivotal moment for squads whose destiny may revolve around whether they qualify for the postseason or reach the lottery and possibly land a higher draft pick. As for teams that surely expect to reach the postseason, every win against an opponent in their conference with a similar record matters greatly. Here’s NBC Sports Washington with the latest on the Wizards:

The Wizards earned themselves a much-needed breather amid a hectic Eastern Conference playoff race on Tuesday night.

By beating the Miami Heat, Washington snapped their season-long three-game losing streak. It has been a tough few days with losses to the Warriors, Raptors and Pacers, but the Wizards are finally back in the win column.

With the win, the Wizards took a 2-1 lead on the Heat in their season series. They will play for a fourth and final time on Saturday. If the Wizards win that game, they will own the playoff tiebreaker for seeding purposes.

The Wizards moved to 37-28 on the season and 11-6 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury.

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