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Free agent reasons Wizards fans should watch NBA playoffs


Free agent reasons Wizards fans should watch NBA playoffs

Not to bring up a sore spot, but the Washington Wizards didn't qualify for the 2016 NBA playoffs. That doesn't mean there aren't reasons to watch the postseason with the Wizards in mind. Here's a look at upcoming free agents set to show off their wares Saturday in the opening round of the  playoffs and perhaps beyond. In some cases, these aren't the top tier options, but those who can help Washington fill out its roster. Even if we count restricted free agent Bradley Beal among the returning, the Wizards will have likely nine open roster spots open. Check back Sunday for the other four series that begin then.

East: Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Indiana Pacers (7)

  • Let's mention center Bismack Biyombo because his name often comes during discussions with fans about potential free agent after an impressive campaign with the Raptors. The 6-foot-9 power player is one-dimensional, but he does that option rather well. Biyombo averaged 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in only 22 minutes per game this season. That's tremendous efficiency and enough to overlook his scoring limitations or free throw shooting woes. Biyombo will have plenty of suitors assuming he opts out of a rather modest contract. Should the Wizards be among them? Perhaps, seeing as they could use a true rim protector, but only if the new coach goes back to the more ground and pound approach. Not sure how you pay Biyombo to be your third big man if he cannot play at the same time with starter Marcin Gortat.
  • Toronto wing guard DeMar DeRozan will be one of the premier free agent options this summer. The only way the Wizards get involved is if they move off from Beal, which few expect. ... Indiana could lose big man depth this summer with Jordan Hill, Soloman Hill and Ian Mahinmi all entering free agency.

West: Golden State Warriors (1) vs. Houston Rockets (8)

  • Harrison Barnes will get paid this summer. We'll see if the many dollars come from his current employer. It's not that the swingman and restricted free agent isn't helpful. Barnes hit 38 percent of his attempts from 3-point range this season. He'll have gone through the postseason wars and come away with at least one of not two rings. He's also inconsistent and yet to show he can be the leading man, though that's partly based on circumstance of playing with so many stars. Will the Warriors believe financially wise to make Barnes the highest paid player on the team next season is the question. If not, he could be on the move in some sort of sign-and-trade. In that scenario, best of luck to those teams ready to put Barnes front and center with their plans. By the way, look at how eerily his 2015-16 numbers compare to Otto Porter.
  • The 6-foot-10, 255-pound Maurice Speights won't help much with protecting the rim, but he turned into an offensive sparkplug off the bench for Golden State. The Wizards only have Gortat and Markieff Morris returning. Pairing him and Gortat wouldn't be great in terms of mobility, but Speights can stretch the floor (38.7% on 3-pointers). ...Dwight Howard is also a free agent this summer, but you shouldn't care.

East: Atlanta Hawks (4) vs. Boston Celtics (5)

  • If Kevin Durant and LeBron James stay where they are, Al Horford becomes the number one target in all of free agency. The 6-foot-10 center battles inside and now has turned into a steady threat from distance (34.4% on 3-pointers) for the Hawks. Spectacularly steady and with smarts and stamina - played all 82 games this season. However, it seems likely that the acquisition of Morris ended any real consideration for the Wizards to throw huge money Horford's way. Of course, if the native of Dominican Republic shows interest, you do the same.
  • Atlanta swingman Kent Bazemore could end up becoming the poster child for the wild contracts handed out this summer. The former Old Dominion standout is uber athletic, makes shots from all angles and can lock down defensively. That doesn't mean the swingman should be one of the three highest paid players on a team. That might happen this summer. Washington's full court game would go next level with Bazemore running the wings for Wall, though the hope is Oubre takes care of that eventually.

West: Oklahoma City Thunder (3) vs. Dallas Mavericks (6)

  • Pro tip - Check out No. 35 on the Thunder. He's a local kid with a future in this league. Jokes aside, what else is there to say about the idea of KD2DC? Best guess has Kevin Durant staying with the Thunder for at least one more season. Even if the Wizards want to maintain flexibility for a possible signing in 2017, they cannot go through another season with a bunch of players on one-year deals.
  • Other upcoming free agents in this series include ex-Wizard and combo guard Randy Foye, point guard Raymond Felton and power forward David Lee. React accordingly.

RELATED: Morning tip: Wizards' next coach can't alienate John Wall like this

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

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!

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What are Bradley Beal's chances of earning All-NBA?

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What are Bradley Beal's chances of earning All-NBA?

Bradley Beal has been indispensable for the Wizards this season with John Wall having missed 33 of their 70 games, or nearly half of their schedule so far. Beal's numbers are up in several categories from last season and he earned his first All-Star selection as a result.

Becoming an NBA All-Star is very difficult. Usually, about six guards per conference are picked each year. Being All-NBA is even more exclusive, as only six guards are selected from the entire league.

Wall has done it before and Beal may be in position to accomplish the feat himself this season. As of now, Beal could be considered on the bubble for third-team All-NBA.


It is an extremely competitive race and there are several locks to earn the honors. At this point, guys like James Harden and Russell Westbrook should get in easily. But after that, the next four spots are hard to sort out.

Based on his numbers, Damian Lillard of the Blazers should be a shoe-in. He is the best player on the third-place team in the Western Conference and is second among all NBA guards in points per game (26.6). He is also averaging 6.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He has already been All-NBA twice in his career and should get his third nod after this season.

DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors is probably the next-most likely to get in. He has led the top team in the Eastern Conference, was an All-Star starter in February and got his first All-NBA selection last year.

After those is where it gets interesting. The reason why is injuries. Stephen Curry in any other year would be a guarantee for All-NBA, but as of now he has played just 50 games. Consider that the NBA requires a player to appear in 58 games or more, or 70 percent of his team's games, to qualify for statistical leaderboards. 


Curry has returned to practice, but due to health and possibly rest down the stretch of the season, there is a chance he doesn't hit the 58-game threshold. That may present an interesting question for the voters.

Kyrie Irving of the Celtics is also hurt. He has played in 60 games with 11 left on Boston's schedule. The same goes for Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves. He is rehabbing a torn meniscus and currently has only played 56 games. 

Chris Paul of the Rockets has appeared in 53 games due to injuries. Though his numbers could put him in the All-NBA conversation, Devin Booker of the Suns has played in just 54 games.

If injuries do preclude Curry in particular from getting in, then the door could be open the door for Beal. He would then have to beat out guys like Victor Oladipo of the Pacers, Irving, Butler and others.

Setting aside the most likely three to get All-NBA - Harden, Westbrook and Lillard - and Curry, let's take a look at how Beal stacks up statistically to the rest of the pack. 

Bradley Beal - 23.3 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 spg, 46.3 FG%, 37.4 3PT%

DeMar DeRozan - 23.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 spg, 46.1 FG%, 32.4 3PT%

Victor Oladipo - 23.3 ppg, 4.2 apg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 spg, 47.1 FG%, 36.6 3PT%

Kyrie Irving - 24.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 spg, 49.1 FG%, 40.8 3PT%

Jimmy Butler - 22.2 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.4 rpg, 1.9 spg, 47.3 FG%, 35.6 3PT%

Devin Booker - 24.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 0.9 spg, 43.2 FG%, 38.3 3PT%

Chris Paul - 18.8 ppg, 7.9 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.7 spg, 45.9 FG%, 38.5 3PT%


As you see, not a whole lot is separating those guys. It may come down to team performance and other factors.

Working in Beal's favor is that he's been the most durable of the bunch. He has played in every one of the Wizards' games this season.

Beal has also helped keep his team in contention despite Wall's absence. The Wizards are on pace for 47 wins, not far off their 49 victories last year, and Beal has been the biggest reason.

But Irving's case is helped similarly by all the injuries in Boston, including to Gordan Hayward. He has been the best player on the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.

Oladipo has led the Pacers to an impressive season despite not having another All-Star in the lineup. DeRozan, Beal, Irving and Butler have better supporting casts.


Say injuries do work against Curry, Paul, Irving and Booker. And assume DeRozan is safely in as the fourth guy behind Harden, Westbrook and Lillard. That could mean Beal gets in alongside Oladipo.

If Curry, Paul or Irving get in despite missing double-digit games, that would probably bump Beal out of the mix. Oladipo has slightly better numbers and has drawn lots of acclaim for being the best player on a surprise Pacers team and he's no guarantee himself.

Beal has 12 games left to prove his case and clearly a lot of factors are in play, but the idea of him making All-NBA for the first time is not out of the question.

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