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Wizards send rookie Sheldon McClellan to D-League for brief stint

Wizards send rookie Sheldon McClellan to D-League for brief stint

With little playing time currently offered at the NBA level, the Wizards sent rookie swingman Sheldon McClellan to the Delaware 87ers of the D-League on Tuesday.

McClellan, they hope, will benefit from extra minutes and be able to work on things he can't necessarily hone in practice.

"It's a great opportunity," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We definitely don't look at it as a demotion or a punishment. It's an opportunity to improve. When you get into the NBA season, it's December and January is coming up, you don't get a lot of practice time. And when you do, it's very short and it's not the intensity that you need to get better as a young player. He's going to be able to get minutes and get practice time. He needs to be able to improve on all parts of his game. I think he can be a pretty good player."

McClellan, 23, made the Wizards out of training camp as an undrafted rookie. He has appeared in seven games this season and averages 4.6 points in 11.1 minutes per game.

The majority of those numbers came from the two starts he made on Nov. 12 and 16. He played 35 minutes against the Bulls on Nov. 12 and scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. McClellan has logged just one minute in the Wizards' last nine games.

McClellan is the second Wizards player to spend time in the D-League. Fellow undrafted rookie Danuel House also went there in mid-November. He averaged 15 points in 27.3 minutes across two games with the 87ers.

House and McClellan know each other well having both grown up in Houston, Texas. They remain close and House gave his friend some advice before he left for Delaware.

"I personally told him just go there and have fun. Have fun and be a good guy like you are," House said. "Just play, just play the game the right way. You don't have to shoot everything. I also told him to enjoy it because this is your only chance to be the superstar because when you come back, you've gotta join the rookie crowd. But I also told him to help someone get better down there, too."

The Wizards will keep a close eye on McClellan and review film of his games. House said that can present a good opportunity for young players to show the coaching staff something they haven't seen in practice.

"What I tried to do is picture myself as a coach, what I would like to see down there with my player to go in and compete hard. Just showcase his talent and showcase the stuff that he's been working on," he said.

NOTES: Ian Mahinmi was out again on Tuesday night with the Magic in town. It was his 18th game missed this season overall and his fifth straight since he was diagnosed with a sore right knee. Brooks said on Tuesday that Mahinmi underwent an MRI last week that cleared him of any structural damage:

"He's practiced, that's a test. He did on Sunday. He's feeling better, that's all I can keep saying. he's feeling better. He's going to do another workout tonight. He did get an MRI a week or so ago. Everything was fine. Just some soreness. We need to be able to control it and monitor it and hopefully we can get rid of it so he can get on the court and play some consistent minutes for us."

Mahinimi, 30, signed a four-year deal worth $64 million to join the Wizards as a free agent this offseason.


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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

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!