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The case for playing Kris Humphries this series (or not)

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The case for playing Kris Humphries this series (or not)

Up until suffering a groin injury on Feb. 25 at Minnesota, Kris Humphries was arguably pound for pound the second best player on the Washington Wizards this season. The "pound for pound" distinction is important. In this case, we mean the relative weight of his role on the team. As a second-unit forward tasked with providing rebounding, energy and secondary offense, Humphries consistently did his job better than all besides John Wall. 

The injury put him in street clothes for the next games 16 games until he returned for the final two weeks of the regular season. In that span, Drew Gooden re-emerged as a headband and Wizards jersey wearing 6-foot-10 long-ball threat.

During the regular season, coach Randy Wittman game planned with his roster in mind. In the playoffs, he has made adjustments based on the opponent. The playoff path put the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks in Washington's way. Those teams use perimeter threats at power forward. That's meant more Gooden and Paul Pierce at power forward and less, much, much of Humphries, who works best against fellow bangers. He's played five minutes in eight postseason games. 

The Wizards swept through Toronto before there was even time to miss Humphries. In the current series, which Atlanta evened at 2-2 Monday night, interest is growing as to why Washington's best per minute rebounder during the regular season now racks up DNP-CD each game

Nene went two full games without making a field goal against the Hawks. Marcin Gortat labored badly on both ends in a Game 4. Gooden scored 12 points in the series opener. He had 13 in the next three games plus a playoff-low three rebounds in Game 4. Though he's had spotlight moments in the postseason, Kevin Seraphin has played one minute combined in the last three games, which is one more then Humphries. 

So, why not Humphries? One look at regular season stats against the Hawks might help explain why he is now the fifth option in a (sometimes) four big-man rotation.

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Field goal percentage 

Nene (3 games): 67.9

Gortat (4): 54.5

Seraphin (4): 53.3

Gooden (3): 41.2

Humphries (4): 17.6

  • Yikes. Humphries went 3 for 17. All five players attempted at least 15 shots.

Net rating (Points allowed/scored per 100 possessions when a player is on the court)

Seraphin: 2.6

Gooden: 0.4

Nene: (-1.9)

Gortat: (-12.4)

Humphries: (-22.2)

  • Humphries had the second worst individual offensive rating (76.6) on the team behind Garrett Temple. 

Worth noting that Humphries and Temple were the only players with a defensive rating under 100. That's positive, but doesn't offset the negatives offensively. It also overstates Humphries' defense. Solid and helpful, but he's no rim protector and not the ideal candidate for chasing shooters outside. Those are the traits needed in this matchup or perhaps an Eastern Conference finals series against the Chicago Bulls.

Mobile big men Paul Millsap and Al Horford are tough matchups for most teams and the Wizards in particular because of their ability to shoot from the perimeter. Nene and Gortat are best served staying in the paint. They're also Washington's best interior options on both ends, something boo birds should consider next time before voicing a specific kind of unhappiness.

Gooden and Pierce help spread the court offensively in their stretch-4 roles. Maybe Humphries could as well, though he went 0 for 7 from beyond the arc during the season.

Wittman is clearly up for new looks, but Humphries as a 3-point threat this series is a stretch. In this matchup, freaking out about his lack of use overall might be as well.

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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:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

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. 

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

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.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

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.

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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.

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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. 

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