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All-court threats Anderson, Hollis-Jefferson epitomize new NBA era


All-court threats Anderson, Hollis-Jefferson epitomize new NBA era

Giants historically dominate the NBA. Perimeter players ruled the 2015 Finals.

That's what makes the draft-year timing for all-court prospects like Virginia's Justin Anderson and Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson rather fortuitous.

For chunks of Game 5 between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, neither team used a traditional big man. LeBron James served as a de facto center. Warriors 6-foot-9 forward Draymond Green matched the Cavs star as the tallest player on the court. Mid-sized scoring threats motored for fast break chances when they weren't looking for deep perimeter shots and all coming with long-limbed defenders in the fray.

This is the modern NBA. Interior options like Wizards center Marcin Gortat remain key pieces for contending teams, but all-court athletic threats are becoming invaluable. Scratch that. Having numerous all-court athletic threats, like the sculpted Anderson or the sleek Hollis Jefferson, is essentially mandatory in this free-flowing era.

The pair worked out for the Wizards at Verizon Center Thursday. Both could be in play for Washington with the 19th overall pick.

"I think it's a good time," Anderson said about players with his skill set entering the league.

The 6-foot-6 swingman shot 45 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. He's also muscular enough to attack the basket. Combined with 43-inch vertical, a wingspan that measures just shy of 7-feet and three years experience playing in Virginia's defense-first system, the former Montrose Christian product is a prototype for the "3-and-D" type teams covet.

"Even if it wasn't that (small ball) era, I'd be good being an athlete, being able to shoot the ball, stretch the floor, being long defensively," the confident Anderson stated. "But with the smaller lineups, that's something a lot of teams are doing."

Guarding opposing scoring threats and generating offense in the open court is how the 6-foot-7 Hollis-Jefferson stood out during his two seasons with the Wildcats. Just ask him.

"I showed in college being able to score close to the basket. Being able to score in transition, make the right play, I feel like that's my game and playing tremendous defense," he said. "That's what I do."

DraftExpress.com ranks the Pac 12 first-team and all-defense team selection 13th overall in the 2015 class, though Hollis-Jefferson acknowledged his draft range is anywhere from "10 to 30." Some teams might downgrade his value because of poor 3-point shooting (20.7%). Others may fall in love with his staggering 7-foot-2 wingspan and defensive mindset needed against dynamic scorers.

"Coaches are looking for two-way guys who can play defense and then be able to get the ball out, move in transition." Hollis-Jefferson said. "I feel like that fits my game very well. I feel like I do that with the best. I'm just excited to see how things go."

Both players, who have now worked out for 8-10 teams with more to follow, expressed interest in seeing how things might go with the Wizards.

"They're pretty deep on the wings. They could also go with a smaller lineup if need be. I can see myself fitting in," Anderson said. "I'm just trying to find the best fit for me."

Golden State's smaller lineups often meant using 6-foot-6, 215-pounder Andre Iguodala at power forward. The 231-pound Anderson, whose massive shoulders appear carved from granite, believes he's got the physique to guard true four's on one end and cause mismatches on the other.

"I can play the four. I'm a natural two or three. But the way the NBA is going, playing small ball, with my body I think I can guard multiple positions," Anderson said. "Being able to guard a four creates maybe a mismatch on the other end of the floor.

"You've got to be versatile."

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors agree.

[MORE WIZARDS: NBA Draft profile: R.J. Hunter]

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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