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Trio of veterans groomed John Wall for this moment


Trio of veterans groomed John Wall for this moment

LAS VEGAS -- All along the Wizards had a Plan B for losing Paul Pierce. No, it's not Jared Dudley, Gary Neal or Alan Anderson, players they acquired after his departure in free agency to the Los Angeles Clippers. It's their $80 million point guard, John Wall. 

"It's all on me now. Going into my sixth year, having three great veterans in Trevor Ariza, Al Harrington and definitely Paul Pierce, those guys taught me how to be a leader the best way you can. Now I have to go from Day 1 and do what those guys did in the past and lead my team," said Wall, who was in attendance during the Wizards' summer league game Tuesday vs. the Dallas Mavericks."

The Wizards came within a left wrist injury that kept Wall out for three games from the Eastern Conference finals. Still, he averaged a double-double in Games 5 and 6 to the Atlanta Hawks, who were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round. 

Wall is coming off his second consecutive All-Star appearance, and he recently began working out again now that his the multiple non-displaced fractures in his wrist and hand have healed. 


He expected Pierce to leave, and really likes the depth they've added with so many shooters to help diversify their sometimes stagnant offense. Bradley Beal missed 19 games with injury and Martell Webster missed more than half the season because of back surgery and never was close to being himself.

"Without having Martell last year we didn't have a backup two behind Brad. We went out and got Rasual Butler to help out a big part," Wall said. "Then you have a guy in Gary Neal who can make shots, help other guys in the second unit. Our second unit is probably going to be the deepest we've ever had."

Still, Wall is haunted by the Hawks beating them in six games. Had he been healthy, he was certain the outcome would've been different.

"It was terrible, especially after the Hawks got swept," Wall said. "Any other series I was cool (watching). Seeing a team that we could've beat, should've beat, that was frustrating."

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.


Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."


Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.


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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!