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One on one: If you had to pick one ex-Wizard to return...


One on one: If you had to pick one ex-Wizard to return...

We're closing in on the start of training camp which means there is still a little time for reflection on what the Washington Wizards accomplished and a chance to look at the NBA 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 a possible third straight playoff appearance.

We've had serious debates about where the Wizards rank in the SE DivisionKris Humphries stretching his game and who is the second best player in the East behind LeBron James. This next one isn't serious. At all. ...Imagine NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces a new rule in which teams must take back a former player. For the Wizards, that means either Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee or Jordan Crawford. Who ya got?

 J. Michael: None of the above. The Wizards would be better off with Oleksiy Pecherov. All of these players mentioned above can score, but unfortunately the game is about much more than that and teams around the NBA value who you are in the locker room more than ever. How do you think the San Antonio Spurs have remained dominant for so long? They don’t compromise their locker room integrity for a stat sheet.

McGee remains the only person I’ve seen get screamed at in a pro-am game (a few years ago by Brandon Jennings) because he was “Cadillac-ing” too much. Think about that for a minute. In an exhibition game that doesn’t even count, McGee agitated a teammate into wanting to choke him on the spot and had to be restrained.

Young stat stuffs on a 20-win Lakers team two years ago, gets a four-year deal and bottoms out the moment he has job security. And he still can’t figure out his responsibilities in a basic 2-3 zone defense. Crawford can’t run an offense and is so on the outs with NBA teams a guy with his experience had to go to Las Vegas summer league with the Mavericks in hopes of getting a spot. Blatche is probably the best skilled of the bunch but remains a head-case and a major off-the-court risk. 

Ben Standig: This was my question. Now that I'm answering the question, I'm starting to wonder about my own sanity. Ok, here goes. I'm going to answer this seriously-ish. No, I don't know why.

Jordan Crawford. I watched "Steez" during this year's Las Vegas Summer League and it's apparent he still hasn't figured out that his volume shooting ways won't cut it. The shame of it is Crawford would have been a perfect combo guard/bench scorer this team lacked at times over the last two seasons. Oh well.

RELATED Former Wizard Caron Butler has a book coming out

Not sure there have been many big men more athletic than JaVale McGee in NBA history, but his basic understanding of the game won't rank very high among any player at any position. Since we don't want Randy Wittman to stroke out, pass. (Ben, come on, he can block shots and stuff. Is there any reason you can justify keeping him?) Can't say I do.

It appeared that Andray Blatche may have turned the corner during his recent-ish run with the Nets when he posted some solid rebounding numbers. That is until we learned coach Jason Kidd "unilaterally banished" the power forward from the team -- and apparently the league seeing as Blatche now plays overseas. Oh, captain my captain.

That leaves Young, a.k.a Swaggy P. Iggy Azalea's other half is largely harmless -- especially as a defender. Truth is Young's streaky scoring can carry an offense at times and he doesn't even seem like he'd freak out much if he didn't play much (We'll find out if that's true with Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams, DeAngelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson in the Lakers back court). He's no prize, but Young was lumped in with the other knuckleheads because of proximity more than his behavior, though his horrid shot selection makes Crawford seem efficient.

With all that said, there answer is clear...Jan Vesely. 

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.


Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:


The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 


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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.