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John Wall scoring big in January

John Wall scoring big in January

The Wizards were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks 104-95 yesterday, finishing their five-game homestand 2-3.

John Wall recorded 27 points and nine assists, his fifth game with at least 25 points in January.

25+ Point Games, January
Lou Williams 7
John Wall 5
Giannis Antetokounmpo 5
DeMar DeRozan 5
Kevin Durant 5

Wall is averaging the second-most points in the Eastern Conference in the month of January (seven games) and the most assists in the entire NBA in that same span.

Points Per Game-EC, January
DeMar DeRozan 30.8
John Wall 25.9
Giannis Antetokounmpo 25.6

Assists Per Game-NBA, January
John Wall 11.3
Kris Dunn 7.9
Goran Dragic 7.0

Kelly Oubre Jr. notched his 30th game this season with at least 10 points, the third-most on the team this season (Beal-41, Wall-32).

– Wizards Notes

 

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The Wizards currently have the fifth best record in the Eastern conference, behind the Miami Heat. Solid. But more was expected from a team that brought back last year’s roster and should presumably be improving, not staying the same. Here’s the Washington Post reporting:

But now that the 2017-18 Wizards have reached the crossroads of the regular season, they look strikingly similar — or only slightly better, in some instances — to last year’s team.

The Wizards are 23-18, just one game better than last year’s pace despite the organization going all in on its belief that continuity with Wall, Beal and Otto Porter Jr. would lead to greater heights.

Through the first 41 games, Washington has produced an offensive rating of 106.3, the 11th best mark in the league — the exact same number and ranking the team held at this point in the season a year ago. While the Wizards have shown marked improvement on the defensive end, ranking eighth in the league with a 104.0 defensive rating, that progress has not helped the team win more games.

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And here’s NBC Sports Washington with more:

The positive side is that the Wizards are comfortably in the Eastern Conference playoff race at fifth despite missing several key players at times due to injury. Wall has missed 11 games, Markieff Morris missed eight and Otto Porter has missed four.

Health has been a big difference between last year and this year. Last season they didn’t have any significant injuries to their starting lineup and after 41 games they were 22-19, a game behind their current pace. That team advanced all the way to the seventh game of the second round of the playoffs.

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Wizards lose competitive game to Bucks

 

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The Wizards dropped a competitive game to the Milwaukee Bucks last night, 110-103. The Wizards fell to 4-2 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.

The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Wizards, who last lost at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17.

Markieff Morris recorded his third consecutive double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Three-straight double-doubles is the longest streak of Morris’ career. Morris has also led the Wizards in rebounding for six-straight games now.

John Wall tallied 16 points and 16 assists in the game, a season high for assists this year. It was the most assists Wall has recorded in a game since his career-high 20 against the Bulls on March 17 last season.

The Wizards lost for the first time this season when all five starters scored in double-figures, Washington is now 5-1 in those games this season.

– Wizards Notes

Wizards set to face Pelicans

 

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The Wizards are set to face the Pelicans tonight. An intriguing matchup for anybody in the league, the Pelicans have two of the biggest names in the NBA frontcourt world: DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. But the team as a whole is 15-15, tied for the 7th best record in the Western conference. Very solid, but unspectacular.

Here’s NBC Sports Washington discussing the Pels:

Few teams in the NBA offer a matchup problem as unique as the New Orleans Pelicans, who feature two All-Star big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. One is lanky with arms that reach to the sky. The other is wider and known for his brute strength. Both can move and shoot unusually well for their size.

On Tuesday night, the Wizards will see the Pelicans’ twin towers for the first time since Cousins landed in New Orleans. He was acquired from the Kings in a Feb. 20 trade, just 16 days after the second and final meeting between the teams in the 2016-17 season.

Cousins is a player the Wizards know well. He and Wizards guard John Wall teamed up at the University of Kentucky back in the 2009-10 season before the two were drafted into the NBA. Veteran players on the Wizards have played against both Cousins and Davis over the years. But now they have to deal with them at the same time.

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The Wizards are off to a 5-4 start this season. Which is okay, but the squad should play better. The return from injury of Markieff Morris should help matters. But there’s still improvement needed. Here’s the Washington Post reporting the comments of center Marcin Gortat:

On Sunday night, following a 107-96 road win over the Toronto Raptors, starting center Marcin Gortat advised that the team needs to bind its unfettered confidence.

“Just because we won this game today here, it doesn’t mean that everything is fine and we back on the right track. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to work on,” Gortat said. “First of all, we’ve got to become a more humble team and we just got to work harder.”

Gortat’s message: less talk and more action.

Despite Gortat’s supersized personality — the man once walked a pig on a leash through a shopping mall in Poland — as the graybeard among the Wizards, he tends to be more pragmatic. And when Gortat’s comments were shared with teammates, they agreed with the suggestion.

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Here’s the Washington Post with what’s hopefully a minor update about Wizards guard John Wall, whose shoulder sounds like it could use a bit of rest:

John Wall reportedly has minor shoulder strain

John Wall could miss his first game of the season while dealing with a left shoulder injury.

Wall, who has started all eight games while averaging 20.5 points and 10.4 assists per game, received treatment Saturday on his sore and sprained shoulder but is considered “questionable” to play ahead of the Washington Wizards’ Sunday night matchup against the Toronto Raptors, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The previous night as the Wizards hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wall made shoulder-to-shoulder contact with 6-foot-11 forward Channing Frye and dropped to the hardwood where he remained longer than usual. Following the Wizards’ 130-122 loss, Wall underwent X-rays, which came back negative, and exited the arena with his left arm in a sling.

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John Wall speaks out on Charlottesville

Here’s what Wizards guard John Wall had to say about recent troubling non-basketball, non-sports events in Charlottesville, Virginia that have gripped the nation as of late, per the Washington Post:

John Wall speaks out on Charlottesville

“It’s been difficult. It’s been tough,” Wall said, referring to the previous week. “We go through times where times are going in the right direction for us. Our country is going in a positive way. Then we turn back around and revert back to the stuff we try to tell our kids not to do or what our parents told us … they went through in the past, and we thought we got away from that.

“It’s kind of amazing to understand that in 2017 going into 2018, we’re still dealing with the same type of things that our great, great grandparents dealt with and we thought we were going in a positive direction,” Wall continued. “All we can do is not use it as retaliation and try to stay positive and understand that we want to give these kids a brighter [outlook] of what’s going on and not use it to go back at these people.”

On the development of Otto Porter

Here’s CSN Mid Atlantic reporting on Otto Porter, who the Wizards just rewarded with a huge new contact. Specifically on what Porter will be working on as he continues his development:

On the development of Otto Porter

During the press conference to announce Porter’s new deal, the Wizards small forward outlined the specific areas he hopes to improve in the next few years:

“I want to continue to improve in getting stronger and being able to defend bigger guys. I definitely want to be able to do that. I’m going to continue working on my midrange and my three-point, extending my range out. The big thing for me is my ballhandling. I want to make sure I keep my ballhandling real tight, whether I get the rebound and push it up the floor myself, I just want to be able to maintain my skills.”

If Porter can get better at defending big forwards, that would be excellent for the Wizards in terms of playing small and switching on defense.

Wizards sign John Wall to contract extension

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed All-NBA guard John Wall to a multi-year contract extension.

“John is an exceptional talent and a cornerstone for our team – and our city,” said Ted Leonsis, Founder, Chairman and Majority Owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment. “This signing means stability for the Wizards for years to come and solidifies our commitment to drafting and then developing talent here at home. It’s John’s unique blend of skill and leadership that makes us a championship-caliber team.”

According to the Washington Post, the contract is “a four-year deal with a player option in the fourth year. The designated player veteran extension will keep him as the team’s cornerstone and pay him $170 million.”

With Wall at the helm, the Wizards won 49 games during the 2016-17 campaign (the most since the 1978-79 season), claimed the Southeast Division title (the first division title since the 1978-79 season) and returned to the playoffs, joining Cleveland as the only other team in the East to advance to the semifinals in three of the last four seasons. Along the way, he averaged career highs in scoring (23.1), field goal percentage (.451), assists (10.7) and steals (2.0), became the first player in league history to average at least 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game and joined James Harden and Russell Westbrook as the only players to average a point/assist double-double during the regular season. He had the third-most double-doubles (50) among NBA guards, had the third-most games (49) with 10 or more assists and led the Eastern Conference in assists (831) for a fourth straight season (joining Isaiah Thomas from 1980-86 and Rajon Rondo from 2008-12 as one of three players to do so in league history).

Those accomplishments earned Wall All-NBA Third Team honors and his fourth straight All-Star selection. He was also tabbed the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and was a two-time Player of the Week honoree.

“Returning to the only team I’ve known in my professional career was an easy decision for me,” said Wall. “I want to thank my family, Mr. Leonsis, Ernie Grunfeld, all of my coaches and my teammates for their amazing support over the last seven years. I understand my role as the leader of this franchise and I will continue to work hard to improve my game and make our team better. Washington, D.C., is my second home and I take seriously my efforts in the community and look forward to strengthening that bond. Our fans are amazing and I’m excited to bring them and this city continued success and a team they can be proud of.”

The Wizards selected Wall with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. He has averaged 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting .433 from the field and .321 from three-point range in 500 games (488 starts) in his seven seasons with the Wizards. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (4,610) and steals (870). In 31 playoff appearances, Wall holds averages of 21.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks in 38.7 minutes per game. During Washington’s 2017 postseason run, Wall averaged 27.2 points, 10.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He became just the eighth player in league history to average at least 25 points and 10 assists in the playoffs (minimum three games). Of those eight players, only Wall and Westbrook (2015-16) maintained those averages for more than 10 playoff games in a single postseason.

“John’s passion for winning, dedication to his teammates and commitment to the community have been on display since we drafted him seven years ago,” said Grunfeld. “He has constantly worked to improve and expand his game and has developed into an All-NBA player who has elevated our franchise and electrified our fans. We are thrilled that he will continue to lead us through the prime years of his career and look forward to watching as he solidifies his place among the greatest players in our team’s history.”

Wall joins Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Chris Paul as the only players in NBA history to average at least 17 points, eight assists and four rebounds through the first 345 games of their career. He became the sixth fastest player in NBA history (124 games) to reach the 2,000 points/1,000 assists plateau and was the fastest player (134 games) to reach 2,200 points, 1,000 assists, 600 rebounds, 200 steals and 90 blocks since steals and blocks became an official stat in the early 1970s. Wall became the first player in NBA history to record totals of at least 1,800 points, 800 assists, 150 steals and 50 blocks in a season during the 2016-17 campaign, and during the same season, was just the third player to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals since 2000-01. He is one of four players with 9,000 points and 4,500 assists through the age of 26 and is the third-youngest player ever to record a triple-double in NBA history at the age of 20 years and 65 days old (11/10/10).

Wizards retain Otto Porter Jr

Wizards retain Otto Porter Jr

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has retained its right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to forward Otto Porter Jr. by the Brooklyn Nets.

Porter Jr’s contract is a huge one: four years, $106.5 million, according to multiple media outlets.

“Otto has developed into a vital part of our young core, which is why we made it clear that our priority was to keep him here to maintain continuity and build on the success of this group heading into next season and beyond,” Grunfeld said. “His versatility, basketball IQ and three-point shooting combine to make him a great fit for us on the floor while his character and work in the community show why we’re so pleased to have him as a cornerstone of our franchise.”

Porter is coming off a career year with the Wizards where he averaged career highs in points (13.4), field-goal percentage (.516), three-point percentage (.434), rebounds (6.4) and steals (1.5). His long-range shooting ranked fourth in the NBA and second in the Eastern Conference (Korver). He posted 14 games of 20+ points after having 10 total over the first three seasons of his career, hit 148 three-pointers after having 137 total over the first three seasons of his career and became the first player in franchise history to record back-to-back games with six three-pointers.

“After two years at Georgetown and four years with the Wizards here in Washington, D.C., I’m excited to be staying home,” said Porter. “I want our great fans to know that I will continue to work hard to improve my game in all areas and I hope to make an even bigger contribution to the Wizards’ success in the future.”
Porter was originally selected by the Wizards with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Georgetown and has developed into one of the NBA’s most efficient players. He finished this season first among non-centers in effective field goal percentage at .608 (fifth among all players) and seventh among all players in true shooting percentage at .628. His two-point field goal percentage (.576) was third among non-centers (trailing only James and Durant) while his overall field goal percentage ranked fourth among guards and small forwards (trailing only James, Durant and Antetokounmpo) and his overall offensive rating ranked second in the NBA (Jordan). Porter’s offensive output translated to team success as well, with the Wizards ranking third in offensive efficiency, fourth in effective field goal percentage and fourth in fast break points with him on the floor. Defensively, the team was first in forcing turnovers with Porter on the floor.

The four-year pro was one of only two players (Aldridge) to average at least 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and shoot .400 from three-point range last season and become just the fourth player in team history to record those numbers in a season (Ariza, Ballard, Webber). Porter is one of only two players (McCollum) to see their field goal percentage, three-point percentage, scoring and rebounding averages increase every year since the 2013-14 season and is one of only five players in league history to shoot .500 from the field, .400 from three-point range and .800 from the free throw line in their fourth season (Petrovic, Hornacek, Dumars, Hodges)

For his career, Porter has averaged 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steal while shooting .389 from three-point range in 266 games. He has averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 23 playoff games during the Wizards’ last two postseason outings.

Wizards sign Jodie Meeks

Wizards sign Jodie Meeks

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced Wednesday that the team has signed free agent shooting guard Jodie Meeks.

“Jodie will improve our backcourt rotation and fill a need with his scoring and shooting,” Grunfeld said. “He is an eight-year veteran who has been a reliable player throughout his career, and we look forward to him bringing that stability to our bench.”

Per the Washington Post, “Meeks, who signed a deal reportedly for two years and $7 million, has not played significant playoff minutes since his 2011-12 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Therefore, Washington’s 49-33 record and run to the Eastern Conference semifinals served as the motivation for him as a free agent.”

Meeks (6-4, 210) spent last season with the Orlando Magic and averaged 9.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting .409 from three-point range in 36 games (10 starts). He returned from a thumb injury to play the last 12 games of last season, averaging 8.4 points and shooting .400 (20-50) from three-point range while scoring in double figures in six of those games. The veteran scorer has a career three-point mark of .376 and has shot over .400 from long range in three of the past four seasons.

Meeks has appeared in 454 games (204 starts) and has averaged 9.8 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting .881 from the free-throw line over his eight-year career with Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit and Orlando. He has also appeared in 20 career playoff games (six starts) with the 76ers, Lakers and Pistons. His best season came in 2013-14 when he averaged a career-high 15.7 points and shot .401 from three-point range in 77 games for the Lakers.

The 29-year old Norcross, GA, native was originally selected in the second round (41st overall) by Milwaukee out of Kentucky in 2009, where he named All-SEC First Team as a junior at after leading the conference in scoring (23.7 ppg, including games of 54, 46 and 45 points) and setting the school record for three-pointers in a single season (117) and a single game (10).

Wizards sign forward Mike Scott

Wizards sign forward Mike Scott

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed free agent forward Mike Scott.

“Mike’s toughness and ability to stretch the floor make him a good addition to our frontcourt reserves,” Grunfeld said. “His skillset fits in well with our offensive system and his tenacity fits in well with our overall team dynamic.”

Scott played four-and-a-half seasons with the Atlanta Hawks after being drafted by the team with the 43rd pick (second round) of the 2012 NBA Draft. During a three-year stretch (2013-14 to 2015-16, 223 games), Scott averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting .346 from three-point range as a key contributor off the Hawks’ bench. He averaged a career-high 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 80 games for the Hawks during the 2013-14 season and shot a career-high .392 from three-point range over 75 games during the 2015-16 season.

The 6-8, 237-pound forward has appeared in 281 total games, averaging 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds, over his NBA career. He has also appeared in 32 career playoff games, averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.

A native of Chesapeake, VA, Scott was named to the All-ACC First Team as a senior at the University of Virginia after averaging 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds. He finished third in Cavaliers history in rebounds and double-doubles and 16th overall in points.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Nets, who are ready to dish out massive money to talented young small forward Otto Porter:

Nets reportedly ink Otto Porter to offer sheet

The Brooklyn Nets made a splash in NBA free agency Tuesday night, signing restricted free agent Otto Porter to a four-year, $106 million max deal, according to multiple reports…

The Washington Wizards have until Saturday to match the deal.

Porter, a 6-foot-8 forward, had a career year for the Wiz, averaging 13.4 points and, 6.4 rebounds.

Kings make big offer to Otto Porter

Wizards restricted free agent small forward Otto Porter Jr is about to get paid. The question is, by who. Right now it’s all about the Kings and their offer. Here’s the NY Post reporting:

Kings make big offer to Otto Porter

The Wizards didn’t offer Otto Porter Jr. a maximum contract, but the Kings did.

Now the question is: Will the Nets offer the restricted free agent one as well if they meet? And will the Wizards really match it?

The Kings’ offer to Porter — first reported by ESPN — is for four years and $106.5 million, the same amount the Nets could offer. Porter will continue taking meetings, even though sources told The Post the Wizards will match any offer for the small forward…

Despite Washington’s ability to match, trying to out-recruit the Kings is still a worthwhile pursuit. Porter, 24, is young enough to be part of a lengthy rebuild and is the top restricted free agent on the market. Porter was second in the NBA in Offensive Rating (129.1) and fourth in 3-point shooting (.434).

Jodie Meeks to sign with Wizards

Here’s the Washington Post with an update on the Wizards, on the second day of league free agency:

Jodie Meeks to sign with Wizards

On Sunday, the Washington Wizards added shooting depth to its bench unit by agreeing to terms with free agent Jodie Meeks.

Washington will bring in Meeks on a short-term deal for two years and $7 million by using its bi-annual exception: a salary-cap exception the team can use every two years.

Meeks, who will turn 30 years old in August, has played for five teams over his eight-year career. Known as a three-point threat, Meeks shot a career-best .409 percentage through a scattered and injury-plagued 2016-17 season with the Orlando Magic.

Wizards land Tim Frazier in trade

Here’s CSN MidAtlantic reporting on the Wizards, who yesterday traded for additional backcourt depth in the form of guard Tim Frazier:

The type of move I’ve talked about the Wizards making in the offseason — and having to do so out of necessity — came to fruition less than 24 hours before the NBA Draft when they traded their 52nd pick and sent their $2.3 million trade exception to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tim Frazier.

Frazier, a 6-1 backup point guard who bounced around the NBA intially after he went undrafted in 2014, has solidified himself as a rotation player. He averaged 7.1 points and 5.2 assists in 65 games last season. He also proved to be a more than competent backup for Jrue Holiday when he was out for personal reasons…

He’s proven and they needed that type of point guard immediately. Trey Burke wasn’t the answer as he couldn’t run the offense, that’s not a problem for Frazier. Brandon Jennings played with better pace but had a tendency to be erratic and was a turnstile on defense. His contract also is salary-cap friendly for a team that doesn’t have the room.

Pelicans trade Tim Frazier to Wizards

Pelicans trade Tim Frazier to Wizards

The New Orleans Pelicans have announced that the team has acquired the 52nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Washington Wizards in exchange for point guard Tim Frazier.

Frazier, 6-1, 170, was originally signed by New Orleans on March 16, 2016. In 81 career games with the Pelicans, Frazier averaged 8.3 points, 5.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 24.6 minutes per contest. Undrafted out of Penn State in 2014, Frazier has appeared in 127 career regular season games with Philadelphia, Portland and New Orleans, holding averages of 6.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.

New Orleans now has the 40th and 52nd overall picks in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.

Here’s CSN Mid Atlantic reporting on Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who became a very well-paid player one year ago and lived up to most expectations this past season:

Good year for Bradley Beal under new deal

Beal signed his new deal, a five-year contract worth $128 million, last July. It was a max contract for a guy who had never made an All-Star team and who had battled injuries, including last season when he only played in 55 games and only started 35. Naturally, some wondered if he was worth the money because of his problems staying healthy through four NBA seasons.

But in his first year under a new contract, Beal achieved newfound durability. He had some minor issues here and there, but managed to play 77 out of the Wizards’ 82 games and then appear in all of their 13 playoff games.

“If anything, I’m proud of that. I’m happy for myself, being able to be healthy for a full year,” Beal said. “Being able to be on the floor, man, that’s all I wanted. Just being able to be here. I knew if I was healthy that I would have a successful year. I had that opportunity this season.”

On the Wizards and fatigue

It’s completely logical to assume that most NBA players are a bit worn out by the end of the regular season. But if minutes are managed to keep certain guys well-rested for the playoffs? It’s a different story in the postseason, where — unless you’re the Cavs or Warriors — the luxury of rest disappears. Were key Wizards players worn out by the end of their series with the Celtics? Here’s CSN MidAtlantic reporting:

“I think we was fatigued, but that’s not an excuse,” Wall said.

“I’m not going to be naive and say we weren’t tired and that exhaustion didn’t play a little factor,” Beal added. “But at the same time you still have to be mentally tough to fight through it.”

“You can say maybe we did run out of gas a little bit,” Brooks said. “But that’s nothing to look back at and say ‘that’s the reason.’ Tip your hat off to them. They played well.”

Kelly Oubre suspended one game for slamming into Kelly Olynyk

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has been suspended one game without pay for charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact with Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Oubre was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:12 remaining in the second quarter of the Wizards’ 116-89 win over the Celtics on May 4 at Verizon Center.

Oubre will serve his suspension on Sunday, May 7 when Washington hosts Boston in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

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