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Grant, Portis fall back while Oubre is on upswing with Wizards

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Grant, Portis fall back while Oubre is on upswing with Wizards

Kelly Oubre is starting to earn playing time with the Wizards after not being in the mix when the season began. The player he was traded for on draft night, Jerian Grant, is starting to swoon after sizzling early with the New York Knicks.

It goes to show that there will be spikes, dips and mostly flatliners throughout a rookie season for most draft picks. How long did it take for Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves to find consistency? He's in his second season and has the benefit of being on a bad team that doesn't have any realistic playoff expectations. And because of that, he can start, make mistakes and not get benched.

Oubre, a No. 15 pick, had four points on 2 of 3 shooting in Saturday's 108-99 win vs. the Orlando Magic. His season-high is 11. 

Grant, who was drafted 19th by the Wizards, sent to the Atlanta Hawks for Oubre and later dealt to the Knicks, rose quickly. Grant shot 14-for-26 in his first four games. Now that teams are playing him to put the ball on the floor and drive, taking away his path to the basket and he's struggling at 8-for-32 shooting in his last six games.

RELATED: Shooting 3s starts to become second nature to Kris Humphries

“It’s just called welcome to the NBA. People watch us play, the same way we watch them play,” coach Derek Fisher said, according to the New York Post. “Some guys have made adjustments to how they’re defending him. He’ll learn how to still do what he does best in terms of getting penetration. Becoming a part of this league — and certainly sustaining it — allows you to embrace your weaknesses, the things you don’t do so well.

“For Jerian, he’s going to have to embrace the opportunity that teams are presenting. If they’re going under screens, you’re going to have to learn to shoot from behind those screens, make teams pay for their adjustment by making an adjustment yourself.’’

This is why when a rookie starts off hot or cold, jumping to conclusions at such an early stage is premature. Bobby Portis, bypassed by the Wizards and taken 22nd by the Chicago Bulls, went from averaging a double-double in the preseason to getting on the court just twice now that the games count. He has 12 total points, 10 of them coming in garbage time of a 25-point blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

What does all of this mean? At this point, not a whole lot. 

But the Wizards (4-4) showed why they made a deal for Oubre even though it came in a 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. At 6-7 and exceptional athleticism, he was one of the multiple bodies they put on the floor to defend Kevin Durant and it came in the first half when the game remained competitive. 

In the East, that's where his value resides because the best player is LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers who attacks from the wing. Neither Grant nor Portis have the defensive potential of Oubre, who also made his first two three-point shots against the Thunder.

Oubre started the fourth quarter of Saturday's game with Orlando with a 79-76 lead. To play him in a situation like that, with the Wizards desperate to end a three-game losing streak, means coach Randy Wittman sees something. 

He could move up in the rotation and continue to get steady time, or he could fall back when Alan Anderson returns from left ankle surgery. But this is a major step in the right direction for Oubre.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

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!