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2016 NBA mock draft 2.0: Risers and Fallers

2016 NBA mock draft 2.0: Risers and Fallers

The June 23 NBA Draft is less than three weeks away. That window provides plenty of time for more prospect evaluation and draft status fluctuation. Based on how mock drafts and public big boards have shifted, we already see how some players are moving up and others are headed the other way. 

Riser: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington - With LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram expected to go 1-2 in the draft, the real intrigue centers on who would go next. Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender, Kris Dunn and Jaylen Brown are the names mentioned most. That group might need to make room for one more as the 6-foot-10 Chriss' stock exploded upward once all took a closer look at the athletically gifted 18-year-old. DraftExpress had Chriss as a run-of-the-mill second round pick just before the NCAA Tournament before shifting the late bloomer into a potential lottery pick. In its latest mock draft, DE has Chriss going third overall. He shot 35% on 3-pointers, 53% overall and averaged 1.6 blocked shots during his lone season at Washington

Faller: Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette - Not sure I get this one based on watching the 6-foot-10 forward impress during his lone season in the Big East, finishng among the conference leaders in scoring and rebounding. Yet Ellenson's status on public big boards has dropped from a potential top 5 pick to late lottery. Primary reason is likely concerns over who he guards on the perimeter against stretch-4 types. On the other side of the court, Ellenson's versatility can cause missmatches, so teams will have to weigh that tradeoff.

Riser: Ben Bentil, PF, Providence - Arguably the most improved player in the nation last season, at one analyst believes Bentil is the premier score in the draft. He went from averaging 6.4 points as a freshman to leading the Big East with 21.2 per game. The 6-foot-9 power forward sports an impressive 7-foot-1 wingspan, the longest hands among the Combine participants and amid-range game that's NBA worthy. In a make-or-miss league, it's hard arguing against adding crafty players with the ball in their hands. Bentil could sneak into round one if his draft momentum continues during the workout process.

Faller: Diamond Stone, C, Maryland - Maybe the hype that enveloped College Park heading into last season eventually materializes. There were certainly times when the Wisconsin native looked like the Big Cheese on campus, including hs 39-point explosion against Penn State. There were also moments - the entire season, basically - where Stone appeared lost defensively and a black hole (0.4 assists) on offense. He's got plenty of size to compete against NBA centers, but the athleticism (29.5 inch vertical at the Combine) won't wow anyone. Considered a lottery pick before entering college, Stone is more likely to enter the NBA as a second round pick.

More risers: DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph's), Malachi Richardson (Syracuse), Cheick Diallo (Kansas)

More fallers: Jakob Poeltl (Utah), Caris LeVert (Michigan)

RELATED: 2016 NBA Mock Draft Version 2.0

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

You would not have known it by John Wall's towering poster-dunks over Jonas Valanciunas and Jakob Poeltl in Game 4, or his fourth quarter takeover after Bradley Beal fouled out, but Wall is still technically working his way into midseason form from the left knee surgery that kept him out more than two months down the stretch of the regular season. Add into the equation that he sprained his right ankle in Game 3, then resprained it in Game 4 right after Beal went out, and it's quite clear that what he is doing is simply not normal. 

Throughout Wall's recovery, his head coach Scott Brooks remarked how Wall can regain his form unusually quick following an injury absence. Game 4 was just his eighth game back, yet through four playoff games he is averaging an absurd 26.8 points, 13.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.

If that's what he's doing eight games removed from recovery, and against the top team in the Eastern Conference, what does peak playoff form look like? 

"I told y'all, I told all the media that I only need like three or four games. I really didn't need too many games," he said. "All the hard work that I did in those two months was to prepare myself to be ready for the playoffs."

Wall said he started feeling like himself in his final regular season game, his fourth outing following the injury rehab. It was against the Celtics and he scored 29 points to go along with 12 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

"I just started to see shots fall down that I was falling short with a couple games before that," Wall said of that night.

Brooks saw a change in Wall against the Cavaliers on April 5, in just his third game back. That game Wall put up 28 points, 14 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Most importantly, he logged 38 minutes.

"I knew I was going to challenge his body with extra minutes," Brooks said. "The way he responded to that, I knew he was back."

Whenever the turning point happened, there is no looking back. Wall has found his groove to not only impact, but at times dominate playoff games against one of the best defensive teams in basketball.

In Game 4 once Beal went down, Wall looked like the best player on the court. He scored eight of the Wizards' final 14 points to seal the victory and did so on a bum ankle. He outshined both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, two All-Star guards.

Wall even played sound defense on DeRozan in big moments. DeRozan shot 10-for-29 in the game.

"I think I did a good job of contesting him," Wall said. "Just do whatever it takes to help this team win."

What Brooks predicted would happen has indeed played out. He has been with Wall for about two years now and knows what the star point guard is made of.

"I've been with him two years, he loves to play," Brooks said, noting there have been some tough conversations to convince him to come out of games.

Consider this: Wall has scored 20 points or more in six straight games, his longest streak of the 2017-18 season. He has actually reached 23 points or more in those six games, which is tied for the longest such streak of his entire career.

Through eight games overall and four games in the playoffs, Wall has reminded everyone of what the Wizards missed. Yes, they went 10-3 when he first went down with the injury in late January, but that was not sustainable.

They need Wall to reach their full potential as a team and especially in the postseason. Late-game situations like in Game 4, when Beal exited and it was tied with 4:58 to play, are when the superstars separate themselves.

Wall did that and now the Wizards are in good shape with the series at 2-2 and having won two straight.

"Blame everything on him," Brooks joked of the Wizards' up-and-down regular season. "If he wasn't hurt, we'd be better, right?"

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