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Morning tip: What's Wizards' single biggest need?

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Morning tip: What's Wizards' single biggest need?

To say there's one answer to what ails the Wizards, who are 10-14 entering Saturday's game with the Charlotte Hornets, is incorrect. It's never that simple.

Health is a major issue, but before they started down this path they Bradley Beal (leg) and Nene (calf) on the court.

The trade market will heat up and most names publicly linked with the Wizards will be misdirection. Who knows who will be available, so instead of specific names this is about the single greatest need. 

I've come up with three. Correcting them all by season's end will not happen. But a combination of getting some players back and making a move by the February trade deadline can possibly solve two of them.

Keep in mind that the Wizards only have 14 of the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts. Ryan Hollins is non-guaranteed until Jan. 10, so he can be released at any time between now and then without penalty under the cap to open a roster spot. Plus, they have a Traded Player Exception granted by the league for Martell Webster who was waived because of right hip surgery:

Perimeter defender: Just look at how opponents shoot from distance. The Wizards are last in field-goal accuracy allowed from 25-29 feet (42.4%). By comparison, the New York Knicks allow 24% which is best in the NBA. The Hornets are third at 28.3%. Two years ago, when the Wizards had Trevor Ariza as their best perimeter defender, they were third best allowing just 32.2%. Last year with Paul Pierce, they were middle of the pack at 33.7%.

Size inside: If center Marcin Gortat isn't on, or gets into foul trouble or has to leave for a personal matter like he did when he missed three games, who can be relied on? Hollins made a couple of starts in his absence but now is out of the rotation. DeJuan Blair is getting the call for the moment but he's undersized at 6-7 and his lateral movement isn't as good. Even when Nene returns, he'll probably miss time again based on his history.

Stretch four: This is a problem area because Kris Humphries, who has started most of the games as the power forward, isn't a three-point shooter though he can make one occasionally. And when he has to defend true stretch players like C.J. Miles of the Indiana Pacers he's even more out of sorts. Drew Gooden (calf) probably works best here but he hasn't been healthy all season so Jared Dudley, who is 6-7, gets the call. Dudley isn't athletic and recovering off of help defense to contest at the arc is problematic for him, too. So a player with Gooden's size and Dudley's IQ would work best but that's a tall order.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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