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Another stretch-4 option for Wizards right under their nose?


Another stretch-4 option for Wizards right under their nose?

The trade for forward Jared Dudley helped offset the loss of free agent Paul Pierce. It also provided the Washington Wizards with a coveted perimeter shooting power forward option, otherwise known as a stretch-4. Ideally, another candidate is added to the 15-man roster. With only two current slots remaining, space is limited. 

At the moment, the 6-foot-7 Dudley, a small forward who can play the 4-spot, is the only one on the roster. Maybe Otto Porter serves in this role someday, but let's see him bulk up first. Free agent Drew Gooden is the obvious candidate seeing as the veteran was really the only player Washington used in this capacity during the regular season.

Unless other NBA teams actively pursue Gooden, there is perhaps one reason to hold off re-signing him quickly.

Gooden's candidacy is clear. Unlike the other interior options on the roster -- Nene, Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries --, he has a proven outside touch. Part of Washington's playoff rotation this past season, he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc during the regular season yet rarely forced the action. The 6-foot-10 forward can bang inside. At times, he grabbed rebounds at a prolific pace. What Gooden lacks in true rim protection and quickness defensely he makes up for with veteran savvy. 

However, Gooden turns 34 in September. That alone doesn't change perceptions. It's just that Nene, Gortat and Humphries are also over 30. Now, DeJuan Blair is 26, but he only played in 29 games last season. 

Aaron White, Washington's second round selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, will be a mere 23 when training camp tips off in September. The 6-foot-8 forward from Iowa is currently part of the Wizards' group prepping for the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League. He also possesses the traits for a stretch-4 role on the NBA level.

During his senior season, White averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while leading the Big Ten in free throw attempts. After laboring from distance during his first three seasons, White shot 35.6 percent (21 for 59) on 3-point tries last season. DraftExpress.com' pre-draft profile cited White's high-end efficiency and ability to score without having the ball in his hands consistently. The Wizards, led by John Wall, were at their best offensively last season when the ball moved. 

"I love this fit for me,"White said following Monday's practice. "Their style fits in my style. it should be a good match."

Asked which of skills could translate quickly to the NBA level, White responded, "I think versatility, being able to spread the floor with my shot. I think I'm a smart player. I know how to read the game, to feel what needs to be done. Just little things. Using my IQ to my advantage."

Learning to effectively use his skills at the NBA level, that likely takes time. That's likely why White spends his first season of professional basketball overseas and why his Summer League performance probably doesn't impact any short-term thinking by the Wizards. That Gooden is a plug-and-play option is why logic suggests he returns for another season. 

There is no rule against keeping both, but White would actually have a chance to play elsewhere. He'd just be a towel-waver sitting at the end of the bench in Washington. The D-League is an option, but he would count against the 15-man NBA roster.

Bottom line is the Wizards know what they're getting from Gooden. Because they don't know exactly what they're getting from White, there is a tiny chance they wait on signing any free agent big man so they can find out.

Either way, the Wizards could use another shooter, especially one with size. 

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 


Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.


Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.


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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.


The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.


Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one.