Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards' hope 'Man with a 1,000 moves' keeps stretching his game

Wizards' hope 'Man with a 1,000 moves' keeps stretching his game

In the Greater Washington area, finding a viable NBA stretch-4 option has been as elusive as no rush hour traffic on the Beltway or a deep postseason run by one of the four major sports franchises. Don't look now but it's possible the Wizards have a solution.

By solution we mean a player capable of:

  • Knocking down open 3-pointers off feeds from a driving and dishing John Wall 
  • Rebounding with gusto
  • Defending opposing big men inside or perimeter threats outside.

In recent seasons the likes of Jared Dudley, Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries and Drew Gooden provided some of these elements, but were liabilities elsewhere. 

Based on his preseason and training camp work, Andrew Nicholson might be that solution.

He's intriguing out there," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Nicholson with an intonation that infers he truly believes what he's saying and not just using words to form a sentence. "He has a unique game."

Brooks spoke shortly after Nicholson scored 11 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and sank 3 of 5 from beyond the arc last Thursday in a preseason romp over Philadelphia. When presented with the concept of the free agent addition filling this big man need, Wall nodded as he simply answered, "Him."

Two nights later, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder led Washington with 19 points against Sacramento. Nicholson, who backs up Markieff Morris, hit 7 of 13 shots including 2 of 4 3-pointers.

"[He's] been a great pickup," Brooks continued. "First of all, he's a great teammate. Guys really enjoy watching him play. He has a low post game. He's a man of 1,000 moves. Has big hands. He has good touch with either hand around the basket. He's unique in the fact that most 3-point shooters can't score down low and most low post scorers can't shoot 3's. He can do a little bit of both."

That versatility is the key. Dudley was among the top 3-point shooters in the NBA last season, but the Wizards were a mess on the boards with the undersized option. The Morris acquisition fueled a rebounding surge. He can also defend bigs and has the foot quickness needed to roam the perimeter, but isn't a knockdown shooter. 

Nicholson made a career-high 36 percent of his 3's last season with Orlando. If Morris (32.3% career) has a similar surge, look out.

"It's something  I tell our guys. You've got to put your time in every day. You can't just expect to make shots in the game. You have to work on your game," Brooks said. "That's a part of a lot of the guys' game, the 3-point shot. It helps our spacing. It just helps everything about our game offensively."

Then again, it's not just sinking 3-pointers for the power forward options, which include veteran Jason Smith.

"Those guys bringing are bringing the physicality, " Wall said. "Knowing how to rebound, to knockdown shots, but also make the right plays."

If Nicholson can keep up this multi-faceted game, it won't be a stretch suggesting the Wizards will have made the right play by signing the man with a 1,000 moves. 

Quick Links

5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

usatsi_10649028.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

usatsi_10648782.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS