December 15, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 10 Recap: Bench fuels comeback as Wiz hold on to beat Detroit in the Palace

In a matchup against two $80 million guards in John Wall and Reggie Jackson, you knew tonight was going to be a fast paced game. With Bradley Beal returning after missing three games with a sore left shoulder, Washington was hoping to get by the Pistons on the road.

Early on it was Washington who was sloppy that led to a Pistons 12-4 run to start the game because of easy transition opportunities. Wall would bring the Wizards right back with their own transition game that spurted an 11-0 run. Both teams began to score at will as one would immediately respond to the bucket of the other. Wall finished the quarter with 6 points and more importantly 5 assists, many of them to Otto Porter who had 10 points in the session. Marcus Morris, like Porter, started 4 of 4 for 10 points, but Washington led 30-24 after one.

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Washington Wizards: Thunder out match Wiz in all phases as Kevin Durant’s homecoming is cut short

(Photo by: Grantland)

(Photo by: Grantland)

In one of the most anticipated regular season games of the year, the Washington Wizards welcomed Kevin Durant back home to the DMV area. Early on the Verizon Center faithful tried to boo every time Durant touched the ball after the Montrose Christian star called fans disrespectful for rooting for him over their team. In the end Kevin Durant’s Thunder, playing without him in the second half, with were too much for the Wizards because of efficient shooting from beyond the arc. Washington fell 125-101 and to below .500 for the first time since dropping the season opener last year in South Beach.

With Bradley Beal missing the game due to a shoulder injury sustained against the Hawks last Saturday, Towson alum Gary Neal got the start and helped weather the storm early with eight points in the first quarter. It was little help to the Wizards that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook came out hungry. The duo combined for 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists in just over 10 minutes of play. Otto Porter was continuing his efficient play with nine point on just four field goal attempts. Wizards began to lose control of things during bench play of both sides and found themselves trailing by a whopping 14 point margin after one quarter of play.

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Washington Wizards Game 2 Review: Wiz come back to beat Bucks on the road

BRADLEY BEAL SCORES 14 IN FOURTH QUARTER TO LEAD COMEBACK

Bradley Beal scored 26 points, including hitting 5 of 6 beyond the arc, and had 14 fourth quarter points to lead the visiting Washington Wizards in a 13-point comeback win over the Milwaukee Bucks 118-113.

John Wall had 19 points and 10 assists, while hitting all 10 free throw attempts and Ramon Sessions added 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting off the bench — including 11 in the pivotal fourth quarter, when the Wizards outscored the Bucks 36-21.

Beal hit a 3-pointer with 6:43 left which capped an 11-point Wizards run, giving the road team its first lead of the game since 2-0.

The Wizards had a late 9-2 run — on a pair of 3s by Beal and one by Sessions — that proved to be deciding sequence.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 27 points and nine rebounds. Greg Monroe added 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

NEXT GAME: The Wizards host the New York Knicks in the home opener Saturday night.

Washington Wizards: Roster Finalized After Five Training Camp Invites Waived

The Washington Wizards went into training camp with 15 guaranteed contracts and brought in another five talented players to fill out the allowed 20 man squad. Today when the team was forced to trim their roster down to the max 15 man rotation ahead of the season opener on Wednesday, all five of the training camp invites, center Josh Harrellson, guard Jaron Johnson, guard Toure Murry, center Jaleel Roberts, and guard Ish Smith, were waived.

Washington had real talent in the five players they brought in and are going to hate letting them go back in the market without the lure of a developmental league team.

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Washington Wizards 2015-16 Season Position Outlook: Point Guards

It is common knowledge now; John Wall is one of the best point guards in basketball right now, arguably in the same tier as the elite Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul. With the proneness to injury of Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, to me there is no question that the Washington Wizards boast the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

Although Wall is a solid scorer and even better distributor with of the basketball, he cannot play 48 minutes a game during an 82 game season; it is physically impossible. That is where eight-year veteran Ramon Sessions, 29, comes into play. Sessions told me during Wizards Media Day, that he feels great about knowing what system he is going to be playing in the following season during the offseason.

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Washington Wizards 2015 Media Day Need to Know: Using Small Ball to get to Eastern Conference Finals

Below you will find everything you need to know from all of the Washington Wizards players, organized by position. The major theme from all parties, which was presumed by the free agent acquisitions, was that the goal is to get past the second round of the playoffs and the team will follow the trend set out by the Golden State Warriors of going small to spread the floor.

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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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