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NBA Mock Draft 1.0: The pre-NCAA Tournament edition

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NBA Mock Draft 1.0: The pre-NCAA Tournament edition

The NCAA Tournament always serves as a great entry point for pure NBA fans to start learning about the stars, stalwarts and sleepers of tomorrow. Here's a look at the names to watch in each region.

(I can already hear the Wizards fans reminding me and the world that their team doesn't have a pick for next season, having dealt the first rounder to the Suns for Markieff Morris and the second for Kelly Oubre Jr. If Washington lands in the lottery, meaning no playoffs, there could be some ping-pong magic in play. If the Wizards land one of the top three picks, they keep the top 9 protected pick, though they'd be in position to lose their 2017 first. They could also trade back into the draft. I've seen scouts at college games following the Morris trade. Otherwise and most likely, what you said.)

East: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

Closest thing to John Wall on the college level. The Big East Player of the Year offers size, athleticism and court vision with a scoring knack. That package will entice a team with a top 5-7 pick to bring the junior aboard. With Dunn and scoring forward Ben Bentil, arguably the most improved player in the country, the Friars could put a second-round scare into top-seeded North Carolina.  

Other prospects: Jamal Murray (Kentucky), Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame), Skal Labissiere (Kentucky), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky), Brice Johnson (North Carolina)

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West: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke

It's true, LSU's Ben Simmons won't participate in the Madness of March, but that doesn't mean the top prospect won't play. That's because some believe the top prospect is the lanky Ingram, an explosive 6-foot-9 threat from all angles. Whether anyone besides Simmons goes No. 1 in June's draft largely depends on Simmons, but Ingram has a rather large stage to show why he's worthy. He probably has more at stake than any prospect in the draft.

Other prospects: Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Grayson Allen (Duke), Taurean Prince (Baylor)

Midwest: Domantas Sabonis, C, Gonzaga

NBA fans know that last name, might they might not be familiar with the game. Arvydas's son isn't the old school low post threat with a brilliant knack for passing like his father, but the 6-foot-11 big man is most definitely skilled. Sabonis can score inside or serve as a face-up shooter. Most projections slot him in the bottom half of the first round. That's where playoff teams are picking and squads at that level desire immediate help. That's Sabonis. Potential second-round matchup against Utah Jakob Poeltl, a likely top 10 pick, will draw plenty of attention from the scouting world.

Other prospects: Jakob Poeltl (Utah), Deyonta Davis (Michigan State), Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL NBA MOCK DRAFT

South: Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland

Fine, you're surely familiar with this local product who is wrapping up a second straight productive season at College Park. What you may not realize is how much the sophomore standout's draft stock fluctuated this season. Considered a fringe first-round pick when the season tipped, the 6-foot-2-ish Trimble zoomed into the middle of Draft Express' round one by February following breathtaking performances against the likes of North Carolina and Connecticut and Michigan State. Then Trimble' shot disappeared over the final 10 games, including a dismal 2 for 15 in the Big Ten semifinal loss. Perhaps injuries played a part. Maybe the grind of a season or drifting focus toward his future. With a playmakers knack and the guts of a burglar, Trimble has the goods for plenty of shining moments. If he does, the scouting world will take notice. If not Maryland will be done quick and Trimble's stock could be such that he's not done playing for the Terps.

Others: Jaylen Brown (Cal), Ivan Rabb (Cal), Diamond Stone (Maryland), Damian Jones (Vanderbilt), Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt), Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa)

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall fills out bracket game-by-game on CSN

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday 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. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS