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NBA Draft profile: Festus Ezeli

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NBA Draft profile: Festus Ezeli

Later this month the WashingtonWizards will take part in the 2012 NBA draft. Currently the owner of picks 3,32 and 46, the franchise could go in almost any direction with thoseselections. The prevailing belief is upgrading the team's perimeter weapons andsmall forwardwing guard depth is a must this offseason, but few would knockmore interior help even with the intriguing core of Nene and kids. Between now and the draft, weregoing to identify some of the players the Wizards might target in both thefirst and second round. Up next, potential second round option,centerFestus Ezeli.Check below for a running of list ofall our draft profiles. More to come before the June 28 draft in Newark.Festus Ezeli
VanderbiltDraft Express overall ranking: No. 31HeightWeight: 6-11,264 lb (combine numbers)Key stats: 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks in 2011-12The player: As the saying goes, you can't coach height and Ezeli certainly offers that, not to mention a filled out frame. His strength exists on the defensive end, though heshowed flashes of legitimate low post moves during a mixed senior season. Averaged 14 and 6 in two games against Anthony Davis and the eventual national champion Kentucky Wildcats, though nobody will confuse Ezeli with an Anthony Davis-level athlete.Family moved from Nigeria to Sacramento in 2004 and eligibility issues kept him off the high school team and slowed his growth (as a player that is). The mock draft world has Ezeli as a late, late first round or early second round pick.The fit: Should the Wizards address their perimeter needs in the first round, taking an upside center with one of their two second-round selections is rather logical. That spot is open with Hamady Ndiaye no longer on the roster. Ezeli should be able to contribute defensively as a rookie if called upon. With Nene and Kevin Seraphin at center, there would be minimal external pressure onhim for more than that. If a trip to the Developmental League is the plan so Ezeli can receive steady minutes, so be it.The issue: In terms of his game, averaging only 5.9 rebounds per game last season is a head scratcher considering his physical gifts. Ezeli ranked in the bottom third in defensive rebounding among centers (adjusted for 40 minutes) per Draft Express. The Wizards already have issuesin that area.Stepped up board work in the NCAA Tournament, averaging11 rebounds in two games for the Commodores.The analysis Rob Dauster, Pro Basketball Talk (interview with CSNwashington): "I think hell be a steal as a second round pick. He had a much better junior year than his senior year (Missed 10 games due to injury and NCAA rules violation). He can block shots, can score in the post. Is big, strong and athletic. 6-11 and just built like a freight train. Hes going to be able to get in there and defend, block shots. Im a little bit worried about how well hell rebound. I dont think he was healthy this year. I was really expecting a big year out of him and it was kind of frustrating to see what happened. He hasnt reached his ceiling as a player."Draft Express: "What makes Ezeli intriguing will always start with his 6'11, 255-pound frame. Possessing prototypical size and athleticism for a NBA center, Ezeli has no shortage of physical tools. As we learned in his match up against Anthony Davis of Kentucky, he may struggle against truly elite level athletes at his position at this stage in his career, but solid performance as an upperclassman in the college game and upside at the NBA level revolve around his ability to utilize his size effectively on both ends of the floor."The summation: Hard to imagine a player with Ezeli's physical gifts sliding out of the first round, but of the notable mock drafts I checked, only one had him in that range and as the 30th and final selection. Should he actually be available for the Wizards at No. 32 - perhaps even if they draft a power player likeThomas Robinson or Andre Drummond - it could be hard passing on a large man whooffers a shot blockingpresence. Considering Seraphin's growth from his rookie to second season, the Wizards may be embolden tomake such a move.Considering the youth on the roster, the team can certainly wait on Ezeli's development for a year or so if needed.More draft profilesJeremy LambAndre DrummondThomas RobinsonHarrison BarnesBen Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

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

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKING

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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.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS