August 27, 2015

Washington Wizards: 2015 Summer League Statistics and Insight

The Wizards have played there three preliminary Summer League games and have been seeded #20 to start the tournament. They went on to beat the #13 seed Utah Jazz Wednesday but lost to the #4 seed New Orleans Pelicans Thursday. The Wizards will play the Hawks today at 10 PM EST as a part of the consolation bracket.

Below you can find the teams statistics broken down by players and sorted by total minutes played. The first table details the summer totals, while the subsequent table are per game averages. You can return to this post for updated stats throughout the Wizards Summer League games.

Keep in mind that Former Terp Dez Wells has not and likely will not play in the Las Vegas Summer League. Toure’ Murray has also been limited by injury and LaQuinton Ross has just recently rejoined the staff after being cut from the minicamp roster, yet brought back because of Wells’ injury.

With the absence of any major offensive threats, much in part because of the injuries to Wells and Murray, Kelly Oubre has been the team’s primary option to score. Scott Machado and Jarrid Famous have been pleasant surprises for the Wizards because of this passing and rebounding abilities, respectively. Unfortunately, there currently is no room on Washington’s roster for either to earn a roster spot without a trade or buyout of the likes of Martell Webster or DeJuan Blair.

After starting the first two games at shooting guard, similarly to Otto Porter last summer, Oubre started his third summer league performance at his true small forward position. For second round pick Aaron White, the third game was not a blessing as he was demoted to come off of the bench after starting the first two games.

Although the Wizards have lacked offensive flow during the half court set, including incredibly cold shooting (6 of 52) from beyond the three point line, the young core have done an excellent job of aggressively drawing contact in order to get to the free throw line. The Wizards have over 30 chances at the charity stripe per game and have scored nearly 30% (70 of 236) of their total points in such a manner.

UPDATED (on 7/16/15): The Wizards got off to a hot shooting start against the Jazz with an opening act of 33 points in the first quarter. However, the Wizards were just 21 of 58 (36.2 percent) from the field the last three quarters. Besides the likes of Oubre, Machado, and Famous who have been filling up the stats sheet, Damion James, Orlando Johnson, Shawn Jones, and Jamil Wilson are starting to have an impact as well.

UPDATED (on 7/17/15): Seth Curry was too much for the Wizards and showed that Oubre might not be quite so ready to be a shut down defender in the NBA, though the skill set is there. Jarrid Famous sat for most of the game, playing just 8 minutes, as the Wizards wanted to get a better look at Shawn Jones in a small ball lineup. Machado was impressive again as he put a heavier emphasis on the scoring aspect of his game shooting 7 of 14 from the field for a team high 17 points.

UPDATED (on 7/18/15): Kelly Oubre clearly saved his best Summer League performance for the end. The Kansas product finished with a game high 30 points on an efficient 9 of 14 shooting from the field including 5 of 7 from three point territory. Oubre would also sprinkle in 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block in his 33 minutes of work. On another note, Jarrid Famous did not see playing time after only getting 8 minutes of work the previous night because of a personal matter. Similarly, Scott Machado was only given three minutes of playing time while former Wisconsin Traevon Jackson was given the bulk of the point guard duties off the bench. It is likely that both Famous and Machado have already secured training camp invites from the Wizards and the coaching staff was looking to evaluate the other talent on the roster.

UPDATED (on 7/20/15): The Wizards breakout C Jarrid Famous has agreed to a partially guaranteed 1-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks who are still in search of a starting big man after losing out on the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes.

2015 Washington Wizards Summer League Stats (Totals)

Players G GS Min FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OFF DEF REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Kelly Oubre Jr. 6 6 174 33-86 8-32 27-40 9 25 34 8 11 4 12 19 101
Damion James 6 5 138 20-54 0-2 10-17 6 18 24 5 4 5 6 13 50
Scott Machado 6 6 134 19-42 2-12 23-27 7 13 20 23 10 2 17 15 63
Orlando Johnson 6 4 127 18-39 3-14 10-15 0 18 18 12 6 0 8 13 49
Shawn Jones 6 1 117 23-42 0-0 12-15 19 28 47 4 2 6 7 17 58
Scott Suggs 6 1 106 16-43 2-12 6-6 2 5 7 9 3 0 6 12 40
Aaron White 6 2 105 8-26 0-9 2-2 9 13 22 3 3 1 11 6 18
Jarrid Famous 5 5 101 15-28 0-1 21-25 16 18 34 2 3 2 7 14 51
Traevon Jackson 6 0 96 9-26 3-4 5-6 0 12 12 13 1 1 13 14 26
Jamil Wilson 5 0 77 15-36 6-22 1-2 4 12 16 1 2 0 7 12 37
LaQuinton Ross 3 0 17 1-5 0-2 5-5 2 3 5 3 0 0 1 2 7
Jaleel Roberts 3 0 7 0-3 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 0 0 0 1 2 0
Toure Murry 1 0 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dez Wells 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Totals 1201 177-430 24-110 122-160 76 168 244 83 45 21 96 139 500

 

2015 Washington Wizards Summer League Stats (Averages)

Players G GS Min FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OFF DEF REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Kelly Oubre Jr. 6 6 29.0 0.384 0.250 0.675 1.5 4.2 5.7 1.3 1.8 0.7 2.0 3.2 16.8
Damion James 6 5 23.0 0.370 0.000 0.588 1.0 3.0 4.0 0.8 0.7 0.8 1.0 2.2 8.3
Scott Machado 6 6 22.3 0.452 0.167 0.852 1.2 2.2 3.3 3.8 1.7 0.3 2.8 2.5 10.5
Orlando Johnson 6 4 21.2 0.462 0.214 0.667 0.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 1.3 2.2 8.2
Jarrid Famous 5 5 20.2 0.536 0.000 0.840 3.2 3.6 6.8 0.4 0.6 0.4 1.4 2.8 10.2
Shawn Jones 6 1 19.5 0.548 0.000 0.800 3.2 4.7 7.8 0.7 0.3 1.0 1.2 2.8 9.7
Scott Suggs 6 1 17.7 0.372 0.167 1.000 0.3 0.8 1.2 1.5 0.5 0.0 1.0 2.0 6.7
Aaron White 6 2 17.5 0.308 0.000 1.000 1.5 2.2 3.7 0.5 0.5 0.2 1.8 1.0 3.0
Traevon Jackson 6 0 16.0 0.346 0.750 0.833 0.0 2.0 2.0 2.2 0.2 0.2 2.2 2.3 4.3
Jamil Wilson 5 0 15.4 0.417 0.273 0.500 0.8 2.4 3.2 0.2 0.4 0.0 1.4 2.4 7.4
LaQuinton Ross 3 0 5.7 0.200 0.000 1.000 0.7 1.0 1.7 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 2.3
Jaleel Roberts 3 0 2.3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.7 1.0 1.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 0.0
Toure Murry 1 0 2.0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Dez Wells 0 0 N/A
Team Averages 200 0.399 0.165 0.745 12.7 28.0 40.7 13.8 7.5 3.5 16.0 23.2 83.3

Washington Wizards Announce Official 2015 Summer League Roster

OUBRE, WHITE, AND WELLS HEADLINE WIZARDS SUMMER LEAGUE ROSTER

Last week the Wizards announced their minicamp roster that would take part in four practice sessions, which culminated today before departing for the Las Vegas Summer League tournament. As expected, the squad was trimmed down before heading West; C Ousmane Drame out of Quinnipiac, F Halil Kanacevic from Saint Joseph’s, and Ohio State’s F LaQuinton Ross were cut from the team. You can find the complete 13 man, 9 of which are rookies, roster below.

2015 Summer League Roster

Wizards first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr., second round pick Aaron White, and undrafted free agent Dez Wells headline the list. Toure’ Murray was on the Wizards 15 man roster last year via a 10 day contract after Washington waived Glenn Rice and before they signed Will Bynum. Murray played just 17 minutes in four games scoring 6 points and having four turnovers.

Wells was seen today with wearing a brace on his right hand after practice and he said he jammed his thumb “really bad”. Regardless, Wells is on the flight to Vegas tonight and is expected to play Sunday. It is imperative for Wells to have a strong showing in the summer league to force the hand of the Wizards to open a roster spot by possibly trading or buying out the contracts of Martell Webster or DeJuan Blair. Wells could still find his way on another NBA franchise if Washington is not able to secure him a spot. All of this is still on the belief that Aaron White will start his pro career overseas.

So far the Wizards know that they will play three preliminary round games to start the Las Vegas Summer League before being seeded in a tournament that culminates with the championship game on July 20. Last year, the Wizards performed well in the “summer classic” behind strong play from Otto Porter and Glenn Rice. For the full schedule of the three preliminary games see below:

  • Saturday, July 11 vs. Phoenix at 6 PM EST
  • Sunday, July 12 vs. D-League Select at 4 PM EST
  • Thursday, July 14 vs. Dallas at 3:30 PM EST

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.

Washington Wizards 2015 NBA Draft Results, Grades, and Meaning

The Washington Wizards were probably busier than some might have expected at the Barclary’s center; nonetheless however, measures were taken to improve this team now and in the future. For a full recap and evaluation of the Wizards activities see my in-depth post from last night.

Washington acquired Kelly Oubre Jr., an athletic wing player out of Kansas from the Atlanta Hawks, drafted with the 15th overall pick, by trading away their 19th overall pick that was used to ship Jerian Grant to New York and two second round picks in 2016 and 2019 going to Atlanta.

In the second round the Wizards stay put and drafted stretch four Aaron White out of Iowa, one pick after missing out on Kentucky big man Dakari Johnson. After the draft, the Wizards are reported to have former Terp Dez Wells and former first round pick Roddy Beaubois on the team’s summer league team.

It is a certainty that Oubre will make the team and will see solid minutes coming off the bench. According to J. Michael, Aaron White will begin his pro career overseas even though GM Ernie Grunfeld said it would be up to White; quite possible that the Iowa big has already made his decision to travel. Dez Wells will likely have a spot on the 15 man roster because he can be a go to scorer off the bench when needed to provide a spark. Clearly many in the Wizards organization agree as J. Michael is reporting that the former Terp is expected to reunite with childhood friend John Wall. Beaubois is already 27 years old and will be starting his 10th year of his pro career; the French native is a long shot to make the team although he would probably play a role to last year’s pick up of Will Bynum.

With this news, a more accurate idea of the Wizards 15-man roster is possible:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Will Bynum/Roddy Beaubois
SG: Bradley Beal, Garrett Temple, Rasual ButlerDez Wells
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster, Paul Pierce
PF: Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, Aaron WhiteDrew Gooden
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

The above depth chart is assuming that Paul Pierce does  not re-sign with the Wizards when free agency begins July 1. Pierce has officially opted out of his contract, which was reported earlier by others. However, it is still possible The Truth will be back and provide the clutch shooting and mentoring he showed off last year. When asked about the return of Pierce, Wittman optimistically said “yeah, absolutely” I expect him back.

Drew Gooden has resurrected his career in Washington the past two years and the Wizards should and likely will work to bring the veteran back. His spot is secure as long as the Wizards figure out a deal that might include a second year player option that suits him. Rasual Butler is a free agent but could be back if the Wizards want him. They currently do not have the roster spot for him if Aaron White does stay in DC and they could opt to bring in another younger sharp shooter instead (i.e. Michael Frazier or Aaron Harrison). Will Bynum will be the odd man out if Paul Pierce returns or even if he doesn’t and the front office likes what they see out of Beaubois more (quite possible if the former Maverick can over come his injury plagued past).

I would expect the Wizards to try and move either Martell Webster and/or DeJuan Blair in coming weeks because of their lack of production and opportunity last year. It is unlikely Washington targets any flashy free agents starting next week as they will continue to save cap space in hope of a run to bring Kevin Durant home.

Although none of these evaluations will mean anything until the end of these players careers, possibly over a decade from now, Oubre and company can still be evaluated on their projected contribution to the team.

  • Kelly Oubre: B with the potential of A. Since the Wizards did have to part with two second round draft picks in 2016 and 2019 when they could have stayed pat at #19 and selected Bobby Portis or Jerian Grant, Oubre is already in the hole. However, there is a reason why the one-and-done Kansas sensation was projected to be a lottery pick: he is ridiculously athletic. His 7′ 2” wingspan will allow him to be a strong defender and he if he continues to develop his multi-faceted offensive game, he will well be worth the investment. It is more likely he will be signing a max deal in four years than him looking overseas to continue his pro career. Oubre is also close friends with Kevin Durant, it might not help come next summer, but it will certainly not hurt either.
  • Aaron White: B+. The Wizards were one pick away from having the opportunity to select Dakari Johnson, an elite defender with a 9′ 4” reach. After that opportunity was taken away by the Thunder with the 48th pick, Washington opted to draft a big who can continue to help them with their high priority of rebounding. White, like Oubre, can grab nine or more rebounds in forty minutes of action. With White’s growing ability to knock down the three point shot, he could be a younger version of Drew Gooden the Wizards are looking for in a stretch four.
  • Dez Wells: A. It costs the Wizards nothing to put a stud with a prolific college career at a local school in Maryland on the summer league team. Clearly the Wizards have no obligation to give Wells a roster spot, but he has clearly made an impression on the front office with his unique slashing skill set. If he has a strong performance in Vegas, Otto won’t be the only local college star Verizon Center will be chanting.
  • Roddy Beaubois: A. Similarly to Wells, it costs the Wizards nothing to take a second look at the French professional. Once believed to be a budding star who dropped 40 points on the Golden State Warriors in 2009 as a rookie, injuries might have completely derailed the career of Beaubois. Once the dust settles with Paul Pierce and the Wizards make up their minds about Will Bynum and other bench free agents will be when the future of Beaubois in DC will be decided.

For continued coverage of the Wizards in the offseason leading up to the start of the 2015-2016 season, visit DistrictSportsPage frequently.

 

Washington Wizards 2015 NBA Draft Preview with Predictions

The Washington Wizards hold the 19th and 49th overall pick in next Thursday’s NBA draft, positions determined by their 46-36 regular season record. The Wizards have had some success in drafting recently with selections of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and most recently Otto Porter, but are also known for missing out on the NBA Champion Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. After trading away last year’s first round draft pick to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, the Wizards will once again have a first round selection in a fairly talented class.

Although there is nothing that the Wizards desperately need, there is no position where they should feel overly confident in either, whether it is in a starting or backup role. Earlier I discussed some of the potential Wizards that may be leaving the club, which could influence how the team will stand going into next year. It is likely that Kevin Seraphin is gone this summer, but that could be the extent of departures as the Wizards would probably not have to spend too much to retain some of the other role players. Assuming current free agents (italicized) and those with player options (underlined) return, a potential depth chart without free agents or draft picks could look like:

PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Will Bynum
SG: Bradley Beal, Rasual Butler, Garrett Temple*
SF: Otto Porter, Paul Pierce, Martell Webster
PF: Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene

*As reported by CSN Washington’s J. Michael, Garrett Temple has opted into his player option, deciding against free agency, for the 2015-2016 season with the Wizards, as expected.

If the Wizards draft any guard that they think deserves a shot on the team, Bynum is likely to lose his roster spot. However, if Paul Pierce does end up retiring or going to the Clippers — less likely with Los Angeles’s recent  acquisition of Lance Stephenson — Bynum’s spot may be secure unless an undrafted free agent is brought in. Gooden’s spot is likely secure because of the need for an immediate known as a stretch-4. Temple will likely return due to mutual desire from both his side and Wizards management. Butler could be let go if room was necessary after having a dismal second half of the season.

Potential First Round Targets (UPDATED):

  • G Jerian Grant (6-5/202): As a local product from DeMatha High School, Grant would be the ideal fit for the Wizards as a combo guard. Grant has the scoring capabilities, 16.5 points a game, to play alongside John Wall or Ramon Sessions as well as the passing skills, 6.7 assists a game, to run with Bradley Beal. It might be a question of if the Notre Dame product is still available when the Wizards are on the clock.
  • G Tyus Jones (6-1/190): At times overshadowed at Duke by likely lottery picks Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow, Jones has the potential to be a great backup point guard. With great vision allowing him over five assists a game; however, it is unlikely Jones would be able to play with Wall at the same time because of his size.
  • G Rashad Vaughn (6-6/210): As a freshman, Vaughn took the Mountain West Conference by storm by averaging close to 18 points and 5 rebounds. His volume shooting in a non-major conference could be a scare and possible reach for the Wizards.
  • G Justin Anderson (6-6/231): The former Montrose Christian star suffered an injury towards the end of last season, which turned out to be the end of his college career as he will forego his senior year at Virginia, but he showed some NBA potential early on. One of the best shooters in the draft class, Anderson shots 45.2 percent (47/104) and also has the capability to be a strong defender.
  • F Bobby Portis (6-11/242): It comes as a shock to many that the SEC Player of the Year did not hail from Kentucky, to Portis it is nothing. The Arkansas product averaged solid numbers with 17.5 points and 9 rebounds a game. With the possibility of developing into a stretch-4 and having unseen post moves because he was doubled throughout college, he could be a nice fit for the Wizards.
  • F Kevon Looney (6-9/220): The freshman will be a first round target for his potential over his production at UCLA. The 11.6 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 63 percent shooting from the charity stripe will not blow anyone away; however, it is his physical attributes, including a 7-4 wingspan, which attracts many franchises.
  • F Montrezl Harrell (6-8/240): When he is determined, the polarizing Louisville product can man handle anybody he wants to on the court. Harrell is long and is a defensive enforcer and is known to be a diligent worker. The lack of size means it would be difficult to play at center, but without a consistent jump shot it could be a reach for the Wizards system.
  • F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7/210): Not know for his offensive ability (11.2 PPG), the former Arizona Wildcat’s immediate impact will come on the defensive end and possibly as a wing player on fast break as he is known for his athleticism. Hollis-Jefferson was voted first team All-Pac 12 and to the league’s all-defensive team.

In the second round there are a lot more options. The hope is that the Wizards management will simply draft the best talent available and hope to score a diamond in the rough in the same way that Marc Gasol (48th) and Marcin Gortat (57th) were selected.

Most recently, the Wizards traded away the rights to their second round pick, Jordan Clarkson, to the Lakers for cash considerations. In the past seven years, only Shelvin Mack has played a game for the Wizards as a second round pick. This can be blamed on poor logic from the Wizards thinking they could stash foreign players overseas as well as failing to attempt the development of young players. Although this is a possibility to happen again, 26 of the 30 players that the Wizards invited to pre-draft workouts are non-first round picks meaning the coaching staff might be committed to bringing in young talent to develop into a contributor.

Potential Second Round/Undrafted Targets:

  • G Tyler Harvey (6-4/185): Out of Eastern Washington, Harvey was an elite pure scorer at the college level averaging 23.1 points a game and shooting 43.1 percent (128 of 297) from three. His young age of 21 is an advantage as the Wizards would be able to mold him into their scheme.
  • G Corey Hawkins (6-3/195): Like Harvey, Hawkins is a pure sharpshooter out of UC Davis. After improving his percentage from beyond the arc drastically, Davis shot a whopping 48.8 percent (81 of 166) but his height will be a concern at the next level.
  • G Dez Wells (6-6/215): Besides being the long time childhood friend of John Wall, Wells fits the style of what the Wizards like in their guards; a slasher who gets to the rim. Although he might not be known for a great shooting career at Maryland, the strong and athletic Terp has worked on his mechanics which he put on display at his pre-draft workout.
  • F Brandon Ashley (6-9/230): On a loaded Arizona roster, Ashley carved out a solid 12 points and 5 rebound average while shooting at over a 50% clip from the field. The lengthy Wildcat is a career 38.2 percent (26 of 68) three point shooter and has a chance of being developed into a stretch-4.
  • F David Laury (6-9/245): Laury performed at a lesser stage at Iona but put up solid numbers with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and steal a game. Like Ashley, Laury is a potential stretch-4 candidate after shooting 38 percent (27 of 71) from beyond the college arc.
  • F Maurice Walker (6-10/250): With the potential of Nene being on the trading block next season and the likely loss of Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards could use a skilled offensive big man. Walker is big enough to play the center position, while still mobile enough to defend the three.

There is talent to be drafted next Thursday and if the Wizards want to be able to compete with the Cleveland’s and Chicago’s of the East, they will have to take advantage of it. Washington is a club with possibly too many old faces as Wall, Porter, and Beal are the only players under the age of 25. Whether the Wizards draft guards or big men, they can improve their team in whichever way they go. My prediction is Bobby Portis, IF Jerian Grant is not available, in the first round and Dez Wells in the second.

Washington Wizards Game 4 Review: Wizards complete sweep of Raptors with win at home

FIRST SEVEN-GAME SERIES SWEEP IN FRANCHISE HISTORY

The Washington Wizards lost all three regular season meetings against the Toronto Raptors, but as Paul Pierce has said “it’s a new season” when the Wizards found themselves going into Game 4 at home already up 3-0. Entering play, the Wizards had played 36 playoff series with zero best-of-five or best-of-seven sweeps. Leading the game from start to finish with a balance scoring attack, the Wizards ended that streak, completing a sweep behind a sellout crowd with a 125-94 win over Toronto.

DC is certainly rising.

Two minutes in and the energy and pace of the game was in the Wizards favor, up 4-2 as John  Wall was serenaded with MVP chants. Washington was methodical in their offensive approach as they got to the line for nine free throw attempts within the first six minutes while shooting 3 of 5 from the field. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 70 Review: Wizards fail to get back on track against Kings

The Washington Wizards had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Los Angeles Clippers in a game earlier in the week that got away early in the first quarter. On Sunday afternoon, the Wizards failed to take care of business against a team they had beat during their last streak, this time across the country. Washington struggled throughout the game and lost to the Sacramento Kings, 109-86. [Read more…]

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