Wizards

Quick Links

Continuity was key in Wizards' decision to retain Otto Porter

Continuity was key in Wizards' decision to retain Otto Porter

One of the prevailing themes from the Wizards' press conference to announce Otto Porter's new contract last week was the simple fact the Wizards really like what they already have, enough so that making major roster changes did not seem wise. By bringing Porter back, they maintain an element of continuity which they collectively see as pivotal to success.

Majority owner Ted Leonsis referenced continuity often during the press conference and afterwards in his off-camera meeting with the media. With Porter under contract for four more years, plus the deals already signed by John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards have ensured that trio will have played together for eight years by the end of the 2020-21 season. That's a long time in professional sports.

"The data points are, for the most part, the teams whose core has stayed together have good results," he said. "The hodgepodge grabbing of players, throwing free agents in and expecting them to get it and fit, that hasn’t been the case. So, you try to be guided by data and continuity works. You look at the best team in the league, [the Golden State Warriors], their core has been there for a long time. They were able to bring in a free agent [in Kevin Durant]. We have tried to bring in free agents and we’re not going to stop. We have to manage things well, but I still think we can improve our team."

[RELATED: Otto Porter sees Wall and Beal as examples to follow]

The Wizards aren't the first team Leonsis has owned or business he has run and says the same concepts apply to other ventures he has been successful with in the past. That includes the Washington Capitals, who have a proven formula for the regular season. Three times in the last eight years they have won the Presidents' Trophy for the best record in the NHL.

Leonsis believes keeping the same players together has had major benefits in chemistry.

"What I’ve learned is that a lot of times it’s better the devil that you know than the devil that you don’t," Leonsis said of retaining players a team drafted. "You get to see how they practice. You get to see who they hang out. You get to see their commitment to their health. The coach now has a real, loud voice. [Scott Brooks] told us how important Otto was to what he’s trying to do. You want coachable players. You want good people and that’s what was happening with the Caps, too."

Brooks has one year under his belt as head coach of the Wizards and that one season was characterized by change. Beyond the starting lineup, there were many new players on the bench. There was a brand new coaching staff and training staff, as well.

[RELATED: Wall and Wizards' union is a display of commitment rarely seen]

Next year should be different in that regard and Brooks believes continuity will keep them trending in the right direction. He sees a core group that is continuing to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses.

"I think it’s huge for our success moving forward. It’s nice to have players who can do it on both ends of the floor," he said. "Now we have three perimeter guys who are basically interchangeable on the defensive end. They can all guard each other’s players."

Porter fits well within that strategy given his complementary style. He can play off the ball while the Wizards' offense runs primarily through Wall and Beal. Last season Porter was super efficient with a team-best 60.8 effective field goal percentage, yet he was seventh in usage percentage among the Wizards' core rotation players. He doesn't need plays run for him or a high volume of shots to still make an impact offensively. 

Porter feels that comfortability and fit will help the Wizards continue to reach new heights after posting their most wins (49) and first division title in 38 years.

"Sticking with the guys and keeping that small core, we can only go up from here. There’s no going backwards," he said.

Keeping teams together can be easier said than done, of course. Stars leave their teams all the time and especially in the NBA. Leonsis believes there are reasons why he has been able to prevent that with both the Wizards and Caps.

"I think when players are young and you can develop a relationship with them that’s built on trust and that they internalize that Washington, D.C. is a great city and when you’re in it together, it makes these things easy," he said. "It’s not like I’ve had to sell Alex [Ovechkin] and Nick [Backstrom] and John. If you’ve noticed, players are leaving other teams that the team didn’t want to lose. That happens all the time. That’s not happening with us. The players that we want to keep, they believe in us."

[RELATED: Kyrie Irving sees Wall's role with Wizards as a model to follow]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

Quick Links

NBA Power Rankings 2017-18: Celtics still won't lose, Wizards rise

screen_shot_2017-10-16_at_12.18.53_pm.png
USA Today Sports

NBA Power Rankings 2017-18: Celtics still won't lose, Wizards rise

The Celtics passed their toughest test yet with a win over the Warriors. 

The league's leading defense held the defending champion Warriors to a season-low 88 points Thursday night to keep its winning streak alive, and added their 15th straight win Saturday against the Hawks.

Spoiler alert: there's obviously no way you can move them from the top spot after doing all that. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

The Sixers and Knicks are actually above .500, and see themselves rising, while teams like the Clippers and Thunder can't seem to put a consistent stretch together. 

Heck, the Clippers would be happy for a win at this point. 

The Magic also seem to be leveling out after a strong start to the season.

To see where all 30 teams came in this week, check out our latest NBA Power Rankings.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

Quick Links

Wizards at Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

usatsi_9769556.jpg
USA Today Sports

Wizards at Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Can Wall play?

The Wizards were without star point guard on Sunday night, as John Wall sat out due to a swollen left knee. The Wizards lost and it was in large part due to their lack of offense. They scored only 91 points, their second-lowest output of the season so far. With a healthy Wall, maybe that doesn't happen.

Head coach Scott Brooks told reporters in Toronto that Wall could miss Monday's game as well. But by tipoff Wall will have had two full days off following his last game, on Friday against the Heat. The Bucks, though, present a unique challenge with a deep backcourt featuring Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton and others. This is also the second game of a back-to-back for the Wizards. They were 7-9 in games with zero days rest last year.

[RELATED: WAIT...WHAT'S 'WOLF SEASON?']

Recent history

The Wizards won three of their four matchups against the Bucks last season and have taken 14 of their last 19 meetings going back to 2012. Washington has absolutely owned the Bucks and that hasn't changed even in recent years with the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as a superstar. The Bucks, though, are a different team with Bledsoe so there is no guarantee the recent success continues.

One thing to keep in mind is that these teams had a bit of bad blood last year. The Bucks' lone win against the Wizards was on Dec. 23 in Milwaukee. The Bucks won in a blowout and Antetokounmpo remained in late in the game to chase a career-high in points. The Wizards didn't like that and after beating them in a rematch on Dec. 26 several players including Wall said publicly they thought it was disrespectful.

[RELATED: HOW MAHINMI LOST WEIGHT, WHY HE LOVES D.C.]

Bucks are on the rise

Speaking of Antetokounmpo, the guy just keeps getting better. This year he's averaging a ridiculous line of 30.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals. He is shooting a cool 56.3 percent and so far looks like a legitimate MVP candidate.

Antetokounmpo has some help, too. Middleton is averaging 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals. Brogdon, the reigning rookie of the year, is averaging 14.1 points and 3.8 assists. There is also Bledsoe, who hasn't quite broken out yet since joining the Bucks in a trade.

[RELATED: KELLY OUBRE CAN SEE WHY DURANT MADE A FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT]