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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

The Philadelphia 76ers, amazingly, will have not one but two No. 1 overall draft picks making their NBA debuts on Wednesday night when the Wizards host the Sixers in their regular season opener at Capital One Arena.

Markelle Fultz is getting much of the hype and understandably. He was the most recent top pick, is from the D.C. area and the Sixers had to trade up to get him. But Ben Simmons is also ready to debut and the Wizards aren't about to overlook him.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has already watched some of the limited film available on the 2016 top pick and he likes what he sees.

"He's a problem. He can do a lot of good things on the court. He has great size and strength. His athleticism is off the charts," Brooks said. "He has size, he has length, he has jumping ability. He's going to be a heck of a player for a long time."

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Simmons, 21, is 6-foot-10 but has the mobility of a guard. At the NBA Draft Combine in 2016, he recorded a 41 1/2-inch. max vertical leap, equal to Zach LaVine and higher than Aaron Gordon. His agility test time was better than Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.

Athletes like Simmons don't come around often. He's a difficult player to match up with, regardless of his inexperience and reputation as a poor shooter. Size and speed are two things that can't be taught.

Whom the Wizards throw at him will be interesting. Perhaps Kelly Oubre, Jr. or Otto Porter will get the nod. Brooks, though, insists it won't be up to one player.

"We have the versatility on defense where we can match up with different players. That can help us guard players like that. But you're talking about a guy who can put the ball on the floor and get to spaces and spots that normally a 6-10 guy doesn't. Your team defense has to be locked in," Brooks said.

Simmons missed all of last season with a foot injury, but was impressive this preseason. A player who can pass like this at 6-foot-10 is a serious anomaly:

[RELATED: SIXERS WON'T START FULTZ VS. WIZARDS]

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NBA Power Rankings 2017-18: Celtics still won't lose, Wizards rise

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NBA Power Rankings 2017-18: Celtics still won't lose, Wizards rise

The Celtics passed their toughest test yet with a win over the Warriors. 

The league's leading defense held the defending champion Warriors to a season-low 88 points Thursday night to keep its winning streak alive, and added their 15th straight win Saturday against the Hawks.

Spoiler alert: there's obviously no way you can move them from the top spot after doing all that. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

The Sixers and Knicks are actually above .500, and see themselves rising, while teams like the Clippers and Thunder can't seem to put a consistent stretch together. 

Heck, the Clippers would be happy for a win at this point. 

The Magic also seem to be leveling out after a strong start to the season.

To see where all 30 teams came in this week, check out our latest NBA Power Rankings.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

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Wizards at Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Can Wall play?

The Wizards were without star point guard on Sunday night, as John Wall sat out due to a swollen left knee. The Wizards lost and it was in large part due to their lack of offense. They scored only 91 points, their second-lowest output of the season so far. With a healthy Wall, maybe that doesn't happen.

Head coach Scott Brooks told reporters in Toronto that Wall could miss Monday's game as well. But by tipoff Wall will have had two full days off following his last game, on Friday against the Heat. The Bucks, though, present a unique challenge with a deep backcourt featuring Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton and others. This is also the second game of a back-to-back for the Wizards. They were 7-9 in games with zero days rest last year.

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Recent history

The Wizards won three of their four matchups against the Bucks last season and have taken 14 of their last 19 meetings going back to 2012. Washington has absolutely owned the Bucks and that hasn't changed even in recent years with the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as a superstar. The Bucks, though, are a different team with Bledsoe so there is no guarantee the recent success continues.

One thing to keep in mind is that these teams had a bit of bad blood last year. The Bucks' lone win against the Wizards was on Dec. 23 in Milwaukee. The Bucks won in a blowout and Antetokounmpo remained in late in the game to chase a career-high in points. The Wizards didn't like that and after beating them in a rematch on Dec. 26 several players including Wall said publicly they thought it was disrespectful.

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Bucks are on the rise

Speaking of Antetokounmpo, the guy just keeps getting better. This year he's averaging a ridiculous line of 30.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals. He is shooting a cool 56.3 percent and so far looks like a legitimate MVP candidate.

Antetokounmpo has some help, too. Middleton is averaging 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals. Brogdon, the reigning rookie of the year, is averaging 14.1 points and 3.8 assists. There is also Bledsoe, who hasn't quite broken out yet since joining the Bucks in a trade.

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