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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Ian Mahinmi's season...

Player: Ian Mahinmi

Position: Center

Age: 30

2016-17 stats: 31 G, 17.9 mpg, 5.6 ppg, 0.6 apg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.8 bpg, 58.6 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 57.3 FT%, 58.6 eFG%, 110 ORtg, 104 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Mahinmi's first season in Washington did not go as planned, as various leg injuries kept him out for most of the year. It started in preseason with a partially torn meniscus and carried into the playoffs with a calf strain. Earlier this summer he had a minor procedure on his left knee, as well.

Because Mahinmi only appeared in 31 games with the Wizards in his first season, health is the storyline for him as he enters the second year of his four-year, $64 million free agent contract. The first question is if he can stay healthy. Next, it's what type of impact will he make if given the opportunity to play for a full season. 


Mahinmi's impact was seen in glimpses in 2016-17. For instance, he had the best defensive rating of any Wizards player and that happens to be an area the team needs to improve. Mahinmi can add something the Wizards lacked last year, a rim protector who can set a tone particuarly for their second unit.

Mahinmi's presence relates directly to Marcin Gortat, of course. The more Mahinmi plays, it could mean a lighter load for Gortat, who would play 48 minutes every night if head coach Scott Brooks let him. It will be interesting to see if and how Brooks tries to use Mahinmi and Gortat. Will it depend on opponent matchups? Will they play together? Regardless, Mahinmi should help the Wizards improve defensively if he can stay on the court.

Potential to improve: Availability, free throw percentage, chemistry with second unit.


Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?



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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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Bullets legend Wes Unseld excited for Phil Chenier ahead of jersey retirement

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Bullets legend Wes Unseld excited for Phil Chenier ahead of jersey retirement

When Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey is raised to the rafters at Capital One Arena on March 23, there will be a lot of emotions for those who have followed his career. There will be a unique sense of pride for his former Bullets teammates who know how integral he was to the franchise's success in the 1970s.

Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, for one, thinks it's not only well-deserved but that it is probably overdue.

"It's about damn time, to be honest with you," he said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "I thought it should have been up there a long time ago. This guy was instrumental in a lot of the success this organization has had over the years."


Chenier and Unseld played nine seasons together with the organization, first in Baltimore and then representing Washington, D.C. Unseld recalls Chenier, a three-time All-Star, as a gifted player on both ends of the court. Many remember Chenier for his shooting abilities and the fact he consistently averaged 20-plus points per game, but Unseld wants everyone to remember the defense as well.

"He was the total player," Unseld said. "He could get into you defensively."

Unseld first met Chenier when he had already made a name for himself and Chenier had yet to set foot on campus of the University of California. It was in San Francisco and Unseld was stopping through on his way to Japan.

They played together in a scrimmage and Chenier was just in high school. 

"They brought this little kid out on the court who looked like he was in the sixth grade. I thought, man, this little kid could play," Unseld said.


It was just four years after that when Chenier joined Unseld on the Bullets as a selection in the hardship draft. Chenier made an instant impact and earned All-Rookie honors for the 1971-72 season.

Unseld still saw Chenier as a kid playing well beyond his years.

"When he came to the team, he looked so young. I remember a few of the older guys said they had to protect this guy because he could carry us. He could give us something that we really needed. We couldn't allow him to get beat up or hurt," Unseld said.

There was one time in particular where Unseld remembers he had to look out for Chenier. They were playing against Walt Bellamy, another NBA Hall of Famer who had previously played for the Bullets. Bellamy would stick his knee out on screens and caught Chenier a few times with the trick.

Chenier was furious and told Unseld in the huddle. Unseld made sure it didn't happen again.

"I sure as hell didn't want him hurting Phil at that time. We needed him," Unseld said. "I just wanted to make sure that if Walt stuck another knee out then it was something we would have to deal with."



Unseld saw Chenier grow up as a basketball player and as a man. He is now thrilled to know that Chenier's jersey will be hanging up along with his and that Chenier will finally get this day he has so long deserved.

Chenier will have many close ones on hand for the ceremony including his kids, grandchildren and longtime friends. Unseld hopes they and all the Wizards fans out there understand how good Chenier truly was.

"It just shows them visually and it tells the rest of the Washingtonian people that they recognize that [Phil] was a pretty damn good player," he said.

Chenier's jersey retirement will take place at halftime on March 23 when the Wizards host the Denver Nuggets.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

You can listen to Wes Unseld's full interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast right here: