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Danuel House emerges as NBA-ready with Wizards in summer league

Danuel House emerges as NBA-ready with Wizards in summer league

LAS VEGAS -- The book on Danuel House when this summer league ends will be this: The undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M is an NBA talent. Whether or not the Wizards give him a roster spot or create one to keep him is another matter.

“He can play in this league,” Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe said, after House had two clutch three-point shots to help erase a 17-point deficit in beating the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. “He shoots the ball. He puts it on the floor for his size. He’s actually at a good size because of the way the game is today with people playing with stretch fours. He kind of fits that bill. The way he’s played out here, I think he has a very good chance of being on someone’s roster.”

House had 15 points, five rebounds and three steals in just 16 minutes of that 71-60 victory as the Wizards advanced to play Saturday vs. the Chicago Bulls. House made all three of his three-point attempts in getting 14 points in 18 minutes of the opener vs. the Utah Jazz. He dropped in 13 in 22 minutes vs. the Brooklyn Nets, making 3 of 7 threes.

“That’s what they talked to me about,” House said after told of Lowe’s comments about his versatility. “I just told them I’m willing to accept the challenge, willing to anything to help the team win.

“I’m still learning the overall game of how the NBA is processed and played. The looks, the windows of opportunities, how things close and open, the right reads.”

Listed as a 6-7 guard, House has come off the bench in all four games as the substitute for Aaron White and has been the better stretch option at forward.

“Daniel House is playing extremely well right now,” said Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, who has been the leading scorer and the leader on the floor. “For him to be able to do that off the bench, he doesn’t have an attitude, he works everyday. He’s a great guy. He’s really impressing me right now.”

John Wall left his summer home in Beverly Hills, Calif., to spend time in Las Vegas. He has endorsed House, 23, publicly, too.

"It’s a pleasure. It’s an honor. It’s also going to help me to be able to perform and learn a lot from him and help this organization if I’m able to get the chance to," House said when told of Wall's actions on social media that suggest he agrees the rookie is ready for the NBA. "Even John Wall reaching out and retweeting, talking to us when he came here just trying to school us to be better players like him it’s a blessing."

The Wizards don't have much wiggle room left with the 15-man roster as it stands. They have to make decisions on Jarell Eddie (non-guaranteed) and whether or not to bring back Alan Anderson. They also surprisingly extended a one-year deal to Marcus Thornton last week to take a roster spot. Unless an undrafted player such as House has a contract at summer league -- most don't -- he's a free agent. The rookie minimum would be $543,000.

If the Wizards, who have longed for an answer at the stretch position, allow House to leave it could be a move to regret.

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

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!