ATLANTA – In Dwight Howard’s 12 years in the NBA, with four different teams, the game plan to stop John Wall has been a basic one: Load up.
In Wall’s first six seasons, he has carried the offense a disproportionate amount of the time, even for a point guard. Teams will use extra defenders, usually a big who is supporting from underneath the basket, in an attempt to contain him in the half court. They will put an extra emphasis on getting back on defense to keep Wall out of transition, sending one fewer player to the offensive glass to compensate.
Wall welcomes the adjustments from coach Scott Brooks that will allow him to roam and exploit the defense from the weakside of the floor -- and play to the strengths of backcourt mate Bradley Beal. It also should give Wall better looks for threes from the corner, which are the higher-percentage shots on the arc. Beal can create more for others and get to the rim rather than being a one-dimensional threat from outside.
It's not uncommon for teams at this point to have focused mostly on themselves in the preseason and not the opponent. But when told how the Wizards are trying to use Wall, Howard endorses what it could do for the three-time All-Star.
“It’s going to make him a better player. He’s been ball dominant since he’s been in the league,” said Howard, who is in his first season with Atlanta. “He’s always made plays for other people but now with him moving around his speed and quickness, he’ll be able to get easier buckets.”
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On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.
Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.
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!
An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.
Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.
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Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:
I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.
While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.
That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.
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The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week.
That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.
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