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Good and bad from Wizards through four games with Warriors up next

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Good and bad from Wizards through four games with Warriors up next

The Wizards are tied atop the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 record to begin the season and up next is the Golden State Warriors, set for Friday night at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Four games isn't a large sample size, but let's look at some early trends involving this team...


1. Bradley Beal is Balling 

Like the Wizards as a team, Bradley Beal is off to an impressive start and there's reason to believe he can be even better as this season goes on. We know Beal can score, we know he can shoot.

Now he's opening up the rest of his game and it might earn him his first All-Star appearance. Through four games - yes, a small sample size - Beal is averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.

That type of versatility could put him in the All-NBA conversation. He wants to rebound more and so far it's working well. Also worth noting is Beal's 8.0 free throws per game. He can become one of the NBA's best scorers and getting to the line is a great way to do that. The only thing he isn't doing well is shooting threes.

He's at 26.3 percent and we know that won't continue.

2. Porter is More Aggressive

Otto Porter is also looking like a new guy through four games. He's been much more aggressive, especially in the first half. Against the Sixers he scored the Wizards' first eight points and against the Pistons he had 20 points at halftime. Right now he's averaging 16.8 points, 7.5 assists and 3.3 steals.

Consistency has been an issue for him over the years, so we'll need to see more, but that is a very good start for him. And like Beal, his 33.3 three-point percentage is likely to go up and quickly.

3. Getting to the Free Throw Line

Beal isn't the only Wizards player drawing contact and getting calls. The Wizards are second in the NBA in free throws made per game (25.0), fifth in attempts (31.0) and ninth in percentage (.806). That includes two extremes, though. Against the Sixers they had 38 attempts and made 30 of them. Yet on Wednesday against the Lakers they attempted 23 including overtime and hit just 15 (65.2%).



1. Threes Aren't Falling

Last year the Wizards were eighth in the NBA with a 37.2 percentage from three-point range. Through four games this year they are 28th at 28.4 percent.

That is not going to last and not just because Beal and Porter haven't found their groove. Both John Wall and Mike Scott are shooting just 14.3 percent, much lower than usual. Plus, both Jason Smith and Markieff Morris are hurt to varying degrees. Yes, Smith returned on Wednesday, but a sprained right shoulder is not optimal for a right-handed shooter.

If last year and the preseason were any indication, he will eventually start lighting it up from long range.

2. Defense is a Work in Progress

Wednesday night against the Lakers was a solid defensive performance overall for the Wizards, even though they would like to have several plays back from late in the game. But there are other numbers after four games the Wizards will need to improve on.

They are allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent from the field, which ranks 25th in the NBA. The Wizards rank in the bottom half of the league in opponents three-point percentage (36%, 17th in NBA) and 22nd in defensive rebounds per game.

3. Bench Still a Mixed Bag

Given Kelly Oubre, Jr. is a starter at the moment, he doesn't count for their second unit.

And on their bench, only Jodie Meeks has passed the eye test as a major contributor and that's with his 36 percent from the field in mind. Ignore that number, however, and he's been a nice spark off the bench. He can score in bunches and we have seen that so far through four games.

The bench will be tough to evaluate fully until the Wizards get Morris back, but Tim Frazier, Mike Scott and Ian Mahinmi aren't off to the greatest of starts. All three have had their moments, but haven't made the impact we know they are capable of.


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Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?


Utah Jazz make guard Rodney Hood available, would Wizards be a fit?

Momentum is building towards Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood getting dealt before next month's NBA trade deadline. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Saturday that multiple teams have already expressed interest in the four-year pro:

Hood, 25, is on an expiring contract and would provide scoring for a team in the market for offense. He's averaging 16.7 points this season on 41.3 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three.

Hood isn't a very efficient player, but he can stretch the floor. He's also big for his position at 6-foot-8 and is a very good free throw shooter (86.2%).

The Wizards could use help at the shooting guard position with Bradley Beal logging heavy minutes. They have an improved bench after making several upgrades last offseason, but shooting guard Jodie Meeks has yet to establish a consistent role in their rotation due to his low shooting percentage.

The Wizards don't necessarily need offensive help, but Hood could help take pressure off of Beal. He could also play in lineups with both Beal and John Wall.

It's unclear what the Jazz want in return for Hood and whether the Wizards could make a worthy offer. If Utah is taking the longview to build for the future, that could mean a first round pick and the Wizards have already parted with their last two.

Regardless, if the Wizards decide to target shooting guards in the next few weeks, expect Hood's name to come up.


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Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Wall: A few teammates didn't respond well to recent team meeting

Do NBA seasons even count if an emergency team meeting hasn't taken place yet? 

In what's becomming an annual right of passage for underperforming NBA teams, the Wizards recently held a team meeting to address some of the biggest issues that have been dogging them all year. 

While these meetings typically act as motivating springboards that help bring teams together, the Wizards' recent family therapy session might have done the opposite. 

Enter John Wall. Wall, who's already publically voiced concerns over the team's (lack of) effort this season, recently spoke about how the meeting might have rubbed some of his teammates the wrong way:

"At our team meeting, I think a couple guys took it in a negative way," Wall said after the team's win in Detroit. "It hurt our team. Instead of using it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a bit."

That's certainly not a ringing endorsement from Wall, and definitely not something you want to hear after a team meeting. Currently, however, the Wizards are back to their winning ways, coming off a nice road win in Detroit. So maybe it worked!