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Ranking the Wizards' offseason among all NBA teams


Ranking the Wizards' offseason among all NBA teams

Seeing as there isn't much happening in terms of actual news these days, most NBA articles anywhere involve some form of reflection on the offseason or previewing what's to come. J. Michael and I are no exception, whether examining moves made by the Wizards or those by their competitors. If I had to sum up our collective sense of the Wizards' offseason it would be something along the lines of they addressed specific needs (3-point shooting, wing depth) without, for better or worse, making any dramatic moves. Additional roster flexibility should help the cause during the regular season while any significant improvement comes from personal growth from the young trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. Maybe it's because I covered the Citi Open last week, but the tennis term "held serve" comes to mind. Based on last year's finish and the big summer of 2016 storyline, that's a reasonable approach. 

As for what others think, NBA.com's David Aldridge ranked all 30 NBA teams based on their offseason. He slotted the Wizards 13th, just behind the Celtics and Nets while ahead of the Pacers and Raptors. The explanation:

The Wizards basically reshuffled their cards waiting for the 2016 Kevin Durant Unlimited Hold 'Em Tournament to begin. All of their 2015 acquisitions have 2016 expiration dates, but will allow them to play in 2015-16 the way they ended last season -- downsized. Washington passed on the likes Jerian Grant and Bobby Portis to take a chance on Oubre's promise in a Draft night deal with the Hawks. That hasn't worked out for the Wizards in recent years (the words "Jan Vesely" still cause upset stomachs for Wizards fans), but if Oubre could ultimately be an answer at the four spot, Washington would be able to keep playing small for a long time. For now, Dudley will play a whole lot of stretch four just as he did for the Bucks last season. The Wizards will still use Nene, just less at power forward and more at backup center -- a move that will allow them to play small more and keep him fresher for the playoffs.

Couple of things here. The Vesely comparison is an apt one and one some of us made immediately after draft night. This isn't a dig or to indicate Oubre will be playing in Turkey by 2018. Many around the league loved the potential with Vesely the prospect because of his impressive athleticism for a 6-foot-11 forward. The focus was indeed on potential because there wasn't much there there in terms of realized offensive skill.  Same could be said for JaVale McGee. For better or worse, Oubre is similar at this point. His showing during the Las Vegas Summer League hinted at his future with length, defensive prowess and 3-point shooting potential, but also exhibited a raw quality with his overall understanding of the offense. There is a reason why even the team stated Oubre will need time to develop. Washington covered itself by adding numerous other wing options for the short-term including Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson.

As for Oubre's future position, Aldridge suggests he could be a future stretch-4.  Perhaps the 19-year-old adds an inch or two to his 6-foot-7 height. Surely he'll bulk up some. He's currently listed at 205 pounds or 20 less than Dudley, Washington's primary stretch-4 option this season. Oubre at the four would allow the Wizards to use him and Otto Porter together at some point in the future, in theory. Drafting Portis, a more traditional big man with range, would have made such a configuration clearer from the start, but both provide far different styles.

Of course, if the potential of KD2DC becomes realized, the Wizards will have their stretch-4 spot locked up.

RELATED: Update on trade rumors involving Jazz and Temple

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

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday 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: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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