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Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Chris McCullough can keep roster spot

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Chris McCullough can keep roster spot

The player who is the most difficult to gauge going into the 2017-18 season for the Wizards is Chris McCullough, who spent most of his sophomore season in D-League and only appeared in two NBA games after he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets.

McCullough can be easily forgotten because he was a throw-in for the trade that brought Washington bench scoring in Bojan Bogdanovic.

There was no expectation that he'd be an immediate contributor. The Wizards' plan was to develop him and see what they have for the following season. A first-round pick in 2015, the third and fourth years of his contract are team options.

[RELATED: Pacers may have no choice but to trade Paul George]

The skinny: 2.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 50% FG shooting; 14.3% threes; 16 appearances.

Best game: Nov. 14. It came when he was still a member of the Brooklyn Nets, making 6 of 9 shots for a season-high 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks in just 12 minutes (also a season-high) in a 32-point loss vs. the L.A. Clippers.  

Weak spots: He has to get physically stronger and develop three-point range, which is where he's going to make his living if he sticks in the NBA. McCullough only has attempted 41 in his career, making 14 (34%).

Fixes: McCullough has to work on his shot which is the easiest area to improve quickly. With his length (6-9, 7-3 wingspan) he can get looks. 

Next step: He'll be at Las Vegas summer league next month with a chance to play significantly. In past years it was Otto Porter and then Kelly Oubre as the feature players on the summer league teams. Who is it this year? Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu or McCullough? He can establish himself here before going into training camp in September. And the Wizards also hold the option on his contract so there's pressure on him to show progress.

More Wizards season reviews...

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Kelly Oubre can reverse late-season slide

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Daniel Ochefu can solidify his spot

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Tomas Satoransky can earn more time

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Sheldon Mac can play way into rotation

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

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

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley and the Detroit Pistons on Friday 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: 7:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Wizards HangTime)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Smith may not play

The Wizards may be down not one but two power forwards, as Jason Smith sprained his right shoulder in Wednesday night's opener while filling in for Markieff Morris, who is already out rehabbing from sports hernia surgery. Losing Smith will put extra stress on head coach Scott Brooks, who is already trying to form rotations with a bench full of new faces.

If Smith can't go, which seems likely, the Wizards will start Kelly Oubre, Jr. at the three and push Otto Porter to the four. That lineup itself should have no serious drop-off from the one with Smith. But the domino effect will be interesting. Who plays the three in the second unit? Brooks will probably have to go small with three guards, stagger the minutes of his starters to compensate or turn to someone like Tomas Satoransky, Carrick Felix or Chris McCullough for some playing time after all three were DNPs in the opener.


A familiar foe

Wizards fans rejoiced when the Celtics shipped Avery Bradley to the Pistons, knowing he would not be able to guard John Wall and Bradley Beal if the Wizards see Boston again in the playoffs this season. But he's still in the Eastern Conference and because of that will see the Wizards plenty. Bradley is flat-out one of the best defenders in the NBA and one of the only players who can give Wall fits. He's got the size to guard both Wall and Beal and is as tough as they come.

Bradley will provide a strong test for both Wall and Beal, who each appear to have improved this offseason based on the limited action we've seen so far. Wall is in better shape than he was last year and Beal's confidence handling the ball and running sets continues to grow. They are up for any challenge and Bradley certainly presents one.


Harris and Drummond

The Wizards' frontcourt injuries won't make it any easier to stop what is one of the better big men combos in the Eastern Conference. Tobias Harris is a well-rounded power forward who can stretch the floor with a solid three-point shot. He puts up similar numbers to Morris, but blew up in the Pistons' first game on Wednesday against the Bobcats. Harris dropped 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three, to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists. Last year he averaged 18.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three games against Washington.

Drummond remains one of the best rebounders in basketball. He's a walking double-double, but did have a tough time against the Wizards last season. Washington held him to 8.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, modest for him, and he shot just 40 percent in three matchups. 


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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 46 - Wizards get good injury news; Chris McCullough joins the show

NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 46 - Wizards get good injury news; Chris McCullough joins the show

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman personal injury lawyers, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the season opener, plus some positive news on the injury front with both Jason Smith and Markieff Morris.

Wizards forward Chris McCullough joined the show to discuss fighting for minutes, who he models his game after and why he goes by the nickname 'Briskuno.'

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!