November 17, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 35 Recap: Wiz end three game skid with continued dominance of Magic

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

WALL GOES FOR 24, WIZ BEAT MAGIC FOR 12TH STRAIGHT TIME

On New Year’s Day, the Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic for the eleventh straight time, an impressive feat on its own. After looking foolish in their past three games, Washington was desperate to not fall further behind in the playoff picture. The domination for the Magic continued with a balanced scoring attack that saw every starter and Gary Neal off the bench score in double-digits. John Wall led the way with 24 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and four steals as Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a 105-99 victory over the Magic.

The Wizards got off to a similar start as Friday against the Raptors, by capitalizing off of the opponents turnovers. 57.9 percent (11 of 19) shooting in the first quarter was helped by 12 easy points off of six Magic turnovers. A 13-4 run gave Washington an eight-point lead, thanks to a couple of jumpers from Garrett Temple. The DC club also had a 12-2 edge in the fast break department, which gave them a 27-17 lead after one quarter.

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Washington Wizards Game 34 Review: Poor middle quarters for Wiz cost them against Raptors

With the number of injuries that the Washington Wizards have endured this season, it is no suprise that they would be reeling. With John Wall cooling off from his Eastern Conference Player of the Month performance in December, Washington came into Friday night’s matchup against Toronto having dropped its previous two games to Miami and Cleveland.

The Raptors have played in “playoffs” mode in their earlier matchup with the Wizards according to Wall, which would explain their two-nil lead so far in the season series. With the return of Gary NealNene, and Drew GoodenRandy Wittman was able to assemble a floor lineup of all bench players for the first time in a while. Getting outscored in the middle two quarters by 20 meant the Wizards were forced to play catch up in the fourth, which did not go well. The result? The Wizards continued to be routed by Toronto in the regular season with a 97-88 loss.

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Washington Wizards Game 21 Review: Terrible 3-point defense and no Bradley Beal leads to loss in New Orleans

BRADLEY BEAL SITS WITH RIGHT LEG INJURY

The Washington Wizards have been without the services of NeneKris Humphries, and Drew Gooden in recent weeks leading to a depleted frontcourt. With Bradley Beal sitting out Friday night’s game in New Orleans with a sore right leg — a possible reaggravation of last year’s stress fracture that kept him out of eight games — Randy Wittman had only ten players available to him.

(Photo by: NOLA.com)

(Photo by: NOLA.com)

John Wall had another strong game with 26 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. Washington allowed the Pelicans to set a franchise record of 16 made 3s, five by Tyreke Evans, and could not hit the big shot late. The Wizards fell to 9-12 on the season after a 107-105 loss to begin their four-game road trip.

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Washington Wizards Game 14 Recap: Wiz drop fourth straight on dagger three from Raptors as time expires

KORY JOSEPH HITS BUZZER-BEATING THREE TO PUT THE DAGGER IN WIZARDS

Five games removed from having a career shooting performance from beyond the arc for Kris HumphriesRandy Wittman moved trade acquisition Jared Dudley into the starting lineup because he is playing like a “crazed animal”. Washington was desperate for a win to end the grueling four games in five nights stretch, while Toronto was hoping to get a bit of revenge for getting swept in last year’s playoffs. In a game without the services of NeneGary Neal, nor Drew Gooden, Washington’s bench was short-handed. Washington led for most of the night, but after back-to-back missed free throws from John Wall, the Wizards gave up a corner three as time expired to lose 84-82.

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

Toronto got off to a 9-4 run to start the game including a 30-foot jump shot from Kyle Lowry with 0.5 seconds on the shot clock. Then Marcin Gortat, who apologized to the fans on Friday night, started to get going by starting 4 of 4 from the floor. A couple of three pointers from Jared Dudley and Bradley Beal would spurt a 13-0 run for the home team. Even with John Wall shooting 0 of 6 in his first eight minutes of play, Washington was up 23-16 after one quarter.

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Washington Wizards: WAY too early predictions for 2015-16 Season

(Photo by: Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

(Photo by: Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

We are a day away from the return of the NBA where the Wizards will be in the Magic Kingdom to take on a young Orlando squad. Before we take a nose dive into the start of the season, lets look out somethings that we could expect when we reflect back after the season is over (hopefully in late June).

Based on the offensive performance we saw during the preseason when the Washington Wizards flashed their new look small ball lineup, I am feeling really confident about their potential a year before Kevin Durant potentially returns home to DC. The following are five way too early (and optimistic) predictions for the Wizards this season, barring any major injuries like John Wall having multiple non-displaced fractures in his wrist during the playoffs.

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Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Power Forward

The Wizards’ power forward position may be the most talked-about position on the team (and perhaps around the league) this offseason. It also may be the biggest mystery. The Wizards experienced success vs. the Raptors and the Hawks in the postseason by utilizing Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, and Otto Porter as a “stretch 4” alongside Marcin Gortat, rather than putting Nene at the 4 for a more slow, powerful offense.

With the emergence of Porter during the playoffs, the emphasis Kris Humphries has made on shooting 3-pointers, and the acquisition of veteran Jared Dudley, Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman are obviously going for a more modern, stretch 4 design. This Golden State Warriors-esque strategy showed so much success with players like Draymond Green, a guy who could body up in the paint and defend, but also step back and hit from 25 feet. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Resign Veteran Drew Gooden as Roster becomes Complete

DREW GOODEN RESIGNS WITH THE WIZARDS ON A 1 YEAR/$3.3 MILLION DEAL

Drew Gooden, 33, has been a big part of the Wizards playoff run the past two seasons. As a result, not only did Washington resign the Kansas graduate to a veterans minimum ($1.5 million), but they signed him to a one year deal worth $3.3 million.

With the trade acquisition of Jared Dudley, which became official today once the moratorium was lifted, the Wizards have a stretch four. However, Dudley is not the greatest of rebounders, averaging just over 5 boards in a 36 minute period in his career. With the Wizards only having two big men that Randy Wittman trusts to play during the playoffs: Marcin Gortat and Nene, it made sense for Washington to add another big man.

Gooden has a natural drive and energy he brings to the team. At 6′ 10”, the veteran stretch four always seemed to be soaring into the Verizon Center rafters to corral loose balls against the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs. Gooden might only be credited with 3.1 win shares for the Wizards over the past two regular seasons, but his 46.2 percent (12/26) shooting from beyond the arc last postseason to go along with his 5.5 rebounds per game in limited playing time was key. His performance in high leverage situations as well as his likability in the locker room made this a no-brainer. Gooden is clearly happy to be back.

Other teammates likes Wizards leader John Wall also is joyful about the move.

The Wizards now have the maximum of 15 players currently under contract meaning there is little likelihood, at the moment, of signing an additional player off of the summer league team besides first round pick Kelly Oubre. Unless the Wizards are able to offload the contracts of Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, and even last year’s starting power forward Nene, who currently do not fit into the way the Wizards are shaping their team, rookies like Dez Wells might have to look for work elsewhere.

UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Alan Anderson, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

The Wizards are now fully committed to the small ball mentality that the NBA’s best teams are transitioning to with their free agency acquisitions of Jared Dudley, Gary NealAlan Anderson, and now Drew Gooden.

For the latest on the rest of the Washington Wizards offseason building up to the start of the regular season, come back and visit District Sports Page regularly.

Washington Wizards sign Alan Anderson to use Mid-Level Exception as Free Agency Winds Down

WIZARDS USE FINAL EXCEPTION ON F ALAN ANDERSON (1 YEAR/$4 MILLION) TO BOLSTER SMALL BALL LINEUP

The Washington Wizards have lost Paul Pierce, acquired Jared Dudley, signed Gary Neal, and now added Alan Anderson as another piece of the puzzle heading into the 2015-2016 season. With these three acquisitions Washington has used up their larger trade, bi-annual, and most of the mid-level exceptions hinting towards the possible end of major transactions during the free agency festivities. Anderson declined a player option with the Brooklyn Nets that would have paid out a mere $1.3 million.

After losing out on veteran PF David West talents to the Spurs, Ernie Grunfeld wasted little time to use up the MLE on what many considered the best wing option still available in Anderson. Anderson will only receive part of the Wizards mid-level exception ($5.5 million) meaning that the team could use the remaining $1.5 million to sign another player. Such an amount might not be much to some, but it would be similar to the veterans minimum that David West settled for. The remaining portion can be used to sign another player. The signing will not be official until the NBA moratorium is lifted on July 9, similar to Jared Dudley’s situation.

Alan Anderson, 32, is a 6′ 6” wing defender out of Michigan State and has plenty of experience both in the NBA and overseas. Anderson is another shooter for the Wizards as he is 34.6 percent from beyond the arc for his career including 252 made threes over the past three years. Anderson was also big in the playoffs last year for the Nets as a bench player by averaging 11 points in 24 minutes a game. Like The Truth, Anderson heated up in the postseason with a ridiculous 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) shooting from three. Possibly even more importantly for Anderson was his versatility and ability to effectively defend against the rest of the league’s premier wing players like LeBron James, similarly to Jared Dudley.

With the additions of Anderson, Neal, and Dudley, the Wizards have deepened their team at the 2, 3, and 4 positions. Anderson will be the most comfortable at the SF position and by backing up rising star Otto Porter , the Wizards can ease Kelly Oubre’s development with limited playing time. The move also allows Dudley to play primarily at the PF position, though possibly in a non-starter role. Washington has obtained versatility, wing depth, and shooting without forfeiting any future cap space for next year’s run at Kevin Durant.

UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Alan Anderson, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

Washington currently has 14 players under contract and have limited big bodies to rebound the ball at the moment. Although the Wizards have previously opted to leave a roster spot open for a strong Summer League performer such as Rasual Butler last year or Dez Wells this year,  there is a strong possibility that the Wizards will take the $1.5 million left of their mid-level exception and re-sign Drew Gooden. Gooden has preformed well for the Wizards the past two years, especially in the playoffs, and excels in rebounding because of his energy.

Unprobable at the moment, the Wizards may try to move the likes of Martell Webster of DeJuan Blair because of their near certainty of no playing time, as projected by the late stages of last season. Such would bode well for former Terp Dez Wells or another young standout in the upcoming Summer League. To make sure you are aware of the latest Wizards developments, check back on District Sports Page frequently.

Washington Wizards: Gary Neal returns to DMV Area on One Year Deal

WIZARDS SIGN FORMER TOWSON PRODUCT GARY NEAL TO ONE YEAR $2.1 MILLION DEAL USING BI-ANNUAL EXCEPTION

Two days removed from losing The Truth to the Clippers and one day removed from acquiring stretch-four option Jared Dudley, the Wizards have continued wheeling and dealing by signing local product Gary Neal to a one-year deal for $2.1 million, using their bi-annual exception (BAE), that they did not use last summer. After receiving heat for letting Pierce go, GM Ernie Grunfeld seems to be back in many fans good graces with the additions of Oubre, Dudley, and now Neal.

Neal has just five years in the NBA after starting his pro career overseas, but at the age of 30 his legs are already starting to wear down. However, the Wizards most likely brought the former Towson Tiger back to the local area because of his three-point shooting ability. Neal wanted a chance to contend for a championship as well as play closer to his home as a Baltimore native. The Wizards provided the best of both worlds.

Neal is coming off of a horrendous season where he shot just 29.3 percent (39 of 133) from beyond the arc for the Charlotte Hornets, but that could partially be chalked up to the sputtering nature of that franchise. This should be looked at as an outlier in his career, where he is an above average 38.1 percent shooter from deep. Neal fills the three-point shooting hole for the Wizards, as behind Bradley Beal (after the departure of Pierce), John Wall made the second most three pointers (20) for the team after the all-star break.

Neal spent three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, but he wasn’t re-signed in favor of their current three-point specialist, Danny Green. Neal bounced around the league a little bit after that.  He signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the then-Charlotte Bobcats (along with oft-traded Luke Ridnour). Neal was then most recently traded to the Timberwolves, where he finished out the late stages of 2015 before becoming a free agent this summer.

The key to this signing taking place was the short term nature that had no impact on next year’s salary cap, because of the BAE, so the Wizards can save up for you know who.

This puts the Wizards at 13 players under contract, but they still have to use their mid-level exception, worth $5.5 million, and possibly re-sign Drew Gooden. With talks of signing David West — who does not fit the requirements of a stretch four if you were wondering — the Wiz utilizing the MLE will only be likely if Nene is traded, though the Wiz are not drawing many offers. Assuming Gooden is re-signed, things would not look the best for former Terp Dez Wells joining the roster, unless Martell Webster and/or DeJuan Blair (who are at this point just taking up a seat with no use) are moved.

UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

For the latest on everything Wizards from free agency moves to the latest on the young prospects on the Wizards summer league team, return to District Sports Page frequently.

Washington Wizards: Jared Dudley to DC for Second Round Pick

ERNIE GRUNFELD TRADES AWAY ANOTHER SECOND ROUND PICK TO BRING IN POTENTIAL STRETCH FOUR OPTION IN JARED DUDLEY

The Washington Wizards still have not made a move in free agency although they have been reportedly linked to several players. On the second day of free agency, a day after losing their playoff stretch four in Paul Pierce, GM Ernie Grunfeld traded a protected second round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for veteran Jared Dudley. The trade will not be official until a week from today, July 9. The Wizards have already parted ways with their 2016 and 2019 second round picks in a draft day trade to acquire Kelly Oubre Jr. Grunfeld clearly did not want to be outdone by his Capitals counterpart who made an impressive move to acquire RW T.J. Oshie.

Jared Dudley, 29, was due $4.25 million this year after opting into the final year of his contract the day before free agency began on June 30. The Wizards will absorb Dudley’s contract into an existing trade exception in order to not exceed the salary cap. This trade player exception (TPE) came from the trade that sent Andre Miller to Sacramento, who was owed a $4.7 million salary. For those who do not know, TPEs allow franchises to acquire a player by only giving up a future pick, which in this case may or may not come to fruition.

Dudley spoke to Alex Kennedy and said, “To me, I understand it’s a business and I understand what the Bucks are doing, but I’m excited. The Wizards are a great team, who have two young stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. And I played with Marcin Gortat before [in Phoenix]. It would be great to play for them and I’d just try to come in and contribute at the three and do whatever it takes to help them win.”

Dudley is a career 39.6 percent shooter from beyond the arc and was 74 of 192 (38.5 percent) last year in his only season in Milwaukee, who signed former Hoya Greg Monroe today. Although the Boston College product stands at only 6′ 7”, he was the power forward for the Bucks when their coach Jason Kidd elected to go small. Dudley’s ability to literally stretch the defense with his jump shooting ability complements his ability to effectively guard multiple positions. As Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo pointed out, Dudley can be the primary defender against LeBron James whether it be during the regular season or high pressure playoff situations.

Dudley’s versatility, can play the 2, 3, AND 4 positions, was liked by the Wizards front office. Currently, Dez Wells could be the backup SG, Kelly Oubre could be too raw to see consistent minutes at SF, and Kris Humphries is the only Wizard big who has a consistent jump shot at the moment. To see what this does to the CURRENT projected depth chart, see below:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

The Wizards still have a mid-level exception (around $5.5 million) and bi-annual exception (around $2.1 million) to use. After the Wizards resign Drew Gooden, which is reported to be quite likely by CSN’s J. Michael, the Wizards would be at their 15-man roster limit. However, with the Wizards continuing to be high on Dez Wells, assuming second round pick Aaron White does indeed go overseas, Washington could opt to not use the bi-annual exception. In essence, the Wizards are going to try and lure the best possible talent available for $5.5 million; to see a list of who that individual might be check out the Wizards free agent tracker. My best guess would be Gooden, Wells, and C.J. Watson, through mid-level exception, will fill out the roster for the Wizards come the 2015-2016 season opener.

For the latest on everything Wizards from free agency moves to the latest on the young prospects on the Wizards summer league team, return to District Sports Page frequently. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.

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