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Who would Wizards draft if they luck into No. 1 pick?

Who would Wizards draft if they luck into No. 1 pick?

The chances that the Wizards luck into the No. 1 pick in the NBA’s draft lottery is 0.6%, which is basically next to impossible. The official answer will come Tuesday, but in case they were to be so fortunate to keep the pick it would be LSU’s Ben Simmons.

If the Wizards don’t jump up to the top three in the lottery, they’ll stay at 13th. Because their pick is top-9 protected, that would mean it’ll go to the Phoenix Suns who sent them Markieff Morris at the trade deadline. Morris essentially, 26, and a quality starting power forward essentially becomes their draft pick. 

In the event the unthinkable were to happen, their decision will be made easy if they choose to keep the No. 1 pick though assets it could bring in a trade for help now and later could be intriguing.

A lot of doubt has been raised since LSU’s season ended without an NCAA Tournament berth and a 19-14 record, and the pitchforks have been out en masse to assassinate Simmons’ character.

According to several NBA scouts who saw Simmons and former LSU players still close to the program in conversations with CSNmidatlantic.com, most of that either isn’t true or overblown. How else can coach Johnny Jones' staff explain those results unless Simmons isn't painted as a problem child? What player his age wouldn’t need to be knocked down a few pegs for having a big head? He’s no cancer or bad teammate.

Simmons entered his freshman season out of Australia amid spectacular hype. He averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He’s the first player in SEC history, since statistics were kept starting in 1969, to be in the top five in each category.

With the NBA’s draft combine taking place in Chicago – Simmons didn’t attend – the chatter begins anew on who’ll be the top pick.

Duke’s Brandon Ingram, a 6-9 small forward, is the one who could unseat Simmons from the perch. If he does, it's because he's perceived as having the higher ceiling as a player and not the other noise. Simmons is 6-10 and projected to be a small/power forward.

Simmons' shooting range has to improve. He can get stronger. He can be less dependent on his left hand. He has to be more assertive. But who are these things not true about when most lottery prospects are teens? The latter about his assertiveness, maybe that wouldn’t have been questioned if Simmons actually had plays called for him in crunch time and got the experience? LSU didn’t always take advantage of him. In a 77-75 loss to Oklahoma, Simmons didn’t get a shot up in the last five minutes.

“You can criticize every player’s game at this point because they’re all young,” one league scout said. “But he can make other people better. His vision, his passing, that’s what separates him. It’s not just about what Ben Simmons can do for Ben Simmons.”

Simmons will be 20 by the time his rookie season begins. Regardless of who is the top pick, almost everyone agrees there’s not a player who is going to take any franchise from the outhouse to the penthouse single-handedly. It's going to take a few years for that potential to be realized. 

Falling into Simmons as a backup to Markieff Morris, who is under contract with the Wizards through 2019, still would be a game-changer. The Wizards like him as the top pick in that hypothetical, far-fetched scenario in which their name is called at the NBA lottery next week. And despite all the recent misdirection about Simmons, so do most of the other 29 NBA teams. 

And the pick would be so valuable even in this unspectacular draft field, it would give the Wizards a lot of other options such as trading down, swapping it for current proven players and future assets and getting them a jump on restructuring for the 2016-17 season and beyond.

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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.