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Wizards may not have wiggled way back into NBA draft via trade or buying a pick but had a plan

Wizards may not have wiggled way back into NBA draft via trade or buying a pick but had a plan

The NBA draft came and went without president Ernie Grunfeld taking a player because the Wizards didn't trade in or purchase a pick.

But they were able to sign two undrafted free agents in Devin Robinson and Michael Young who have a legitimate chance to play their way onto the roster when the regular season tips in four months.

Robinson is an athletic, 6-8 forward with a 7-5 wingspan. He can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim with authority though he's thin at 200 pounds. He's not just athletic but NBA athletic and shot 39% from the college three-point range.

Young, a senior, is a 6-9 power foward who averaged 19.6 points at Pittsburgh. Robinson was a junior. 

Why didn't Wizards buy a pick?

Golden State did it for the second year in a row by purchasing No. 38 from the Chicago Bulls. After paying $2.4 million for that spot last year to get Patrick McCaw, it cost them $3.5 million for Jordan Bell. If a team really likes a player but think he's going to be gone and don't have the pick to get him, this is the easiest move to make if you find another team that wants to unload its selection.

They do so for reasons that go beyond cash such as lack of roster spots available because of guaranteed contracts or because they're just not feeling the players who are left to choose from and would rather just take the money than go through a wasted exercise. After trading the No. 52 pick on Wednesday to get backup guard Tim Frazier, the Wizards felt that Robinson and Young were going to go undrafted and could get them without paying for the pick so they stood pat. 

[RELATED: Wizards pass on getting back into NBA draft]

It was a similar tact taken a year ago with Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu who were signed immediately after they went undrafted and stuck in Washington all seaosn.

What if both players pan out and make the roster?

That's not a problem. That's a good thing. Of course, that won't be known for a long time but that would add some intrigue to the bigger picture cause the Wizards are loaded with fowards: Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, Jason Smith, Markieff Morris, Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough.

And given his size at 6-7, point guard Tomas Satoransky can be (and has) used as one, too, by coach Scott Brooks. It would be a good problem to have because the Wizards would have extra chips to do something in the trade market during an offseason in which they have almost no cap room. Trades would be the most likely route to do anything significant to upgrade. But that's a long ways away as both have to show well at Las Vegas summer league next month and go from there.

What about a shooter behind Bradley Beal?

There currrently isn't one. Mac has a lot to prove but he's more of a scorer than a shooter at this point. The Wizards like to deploy three forwards which is a way to get around it but there's not a true shooting guard in sight. The league is going to a position-less game where teams are tied into playing two guards, two forwards and a center. But there can never been too many shooters regardless of position. 

But if Robinson and Young perform to expectations -- and that's a big if -- they'll be able to address that area. But what was anticipated to be a ho-hum summer league experience just got a lot more interesting. 

[RELATED: Wizards make up for no draft pick with key summer signings]

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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.