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One on one: Favorite Wizards offseason move


One on one: Favorite Wizards offseason move

With the intense NBA offseason cooling down, there is time for reflection on what the Washington Wizards accomplished and a chance to look at the road ahead. For the next couple of weeks,CSNWashington.com Insider J. Michael and Wizards correspondent Ben Standig will examine various issues and answer questions as the Wizards move toward the 2015-16 campaign.

Let's start simple. What was your favorite move by the Wizards this offseason?

J. Michael: Of the moves they’ve made, Gary Neal. They were waiting for him to be bought out of his contract last season when he was traded to the Minnestoa Timberwolves, but they held onto him. The open roster spot the Wizards had after they got rid of Glen Rice was for Ray Allen if he wanted to play again (he didn’t). When Neal was moved by the Charlotte Hornets, he was next in line.

The lack of shooters has been an issue for Washington ever since Martell Webster’s downfall from his third back surgery. Neal is more of a natural two-guard who has to be picked up the moment he crosses half-court. Putting him opposite of Bradley Beal with John Wall running the point should result in a lot of floor spacing and more room for Marcin Gortat to operate in the low post.

Ben Standig: I'm already slightly breaking the rules with a two-part answer. First off, in terms of actual transactions, let's go with the trade for Jared Dudley. The acquisition cost was virtually nothing. Second, Dudley is a true stretch-4, which as we all know is what this team needed. He's a career 40 percent 3-point shooter who doesn't need plays run for him to be effective. That Dudley is seven years younger than Pierce means coach Randy Wittman should have no issue using small ball lineups throughout the regular season. We saw how effective that formation worked last postseason. Last but not least, we're talking about one of the top locker room presences in the league. Dudley worked closely with Milwaukee's young forward last season and he's made it clear he intends to do the same with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. Yes, there is the back surgery aspect. Can't brush this under the rug. That said, the timeline suggests Dudley might not miss any games. The Wizards have enough talent to overcome any absence if he does, in the short-term, that is.

Oh, almost forgot about the second part of my answer. All their moves in 2015 were made with 2016 in mind and we all know why. Now, it's not Kevin Durant or bust in 2016, but Washington's moves ensured it remained in play when the local hero becomes a free agent next summer. No half measure here. Whether KD2DC happens or not, the Wizards must do like the commercial says and go for it.

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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:


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. 


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.


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.


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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.


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.


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.