76ers

Ben Simmons still has a chance to be an All-Star

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Ben Simmons still has a chance to be an All-Star

WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards point guard John Wall will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday and could miss much of the rest of the regular season.

The Wizards announced Tuesday that Wall would have the operation in Cleveland and that a timeline for his return would be determined afterward.

A person with direct knowledge of the injury said Wall could miss six to eight weeks. That person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not release any estimate of the length of Wall's absence. Washington's last regular-season game is on April 11.

"It just proves that he wasn't the John that we know," backup guard Tomas Satoransky said. "His knee was bothering him all season long."

This is the latest knee problem for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky. Wall had surgery on both of his knees before last season.

Coach Scott Brooks delivered Tuesday's news to other players at a shootaround.

"The message is we just need guys to step up and take their game up a level. It's going to be tough without our best player," forward Markieff Morris said.

"By the time he comes back, we'll be in the playoff push," Morris said, "or just getting ready for the playoffs."

Wall is second on the Wizards in scoring this season, averaging 19.4 points, and is second in the league with 9.3 assists per game. In July, he agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension that starts with next season.

He was selected last week to participate in his fifth NBA All-Star game but now is expected to miss that event in Los Angeles next month, which opens up a spot for Ben Simmons to potentially become an All-Star. Commissioner Adam Silver will choose the Eastern Conference player who will replace Wall in the event.

Assuming Silver considers both frontcourt and backcourt players as a replacement for Wall, Simmons' competition for the spot figures to include Kemba Walker, Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond.

If Simmons is selected, he would play on Team LeBron and would be pitted against Joel Embiid, who will be playing for Team Stephen. 

The timing of the surgery gives Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld a chance to find a new point guard before the NBA trading deadline, which is Feb. 8.

In the meantime, reserves Satoransky and Tim Frazier figure to get additional playing time.

"We cannot panic about it," Satoransky said about the prospect of losing Wall for a lengthy absence.

"John is the main guy, so it's always tough to cover your main guy when he goes down," said Satoransky, who is averaging five points and 2.6 assists this season. "It's very challenging. Obviously, I like challenges, but it will (mean) a lot of responsibility."

The Washington Post first reported that Wall would be having a procedure on his knee.

He sat out Washington's most recent game, at the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, because of a recurrence of soreness and swelling in his left knee. Earlier issues with the knee led him to sit out nine games in November and December, and he got platelet-rich plasma injections to try to cut down on the inflammation.

The Wizards entered Tuesday, when they were scheduled to host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder at night, tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 27-22 record.

Led by its backcourt of Wall and Bradley Beal, a first-time All-Star pick this season, Washington lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals each of the past two years.

Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith to have 2nd workout for Sixers

Kevin Knox, Zhaire Smith to have 2nd workout for Sixers

The Sixers are taking another look at two prospects two days before the NBA draft, in which they hold pick No. 10.

Kentucky forward Kevin Knox will be back at the training complex again Tuesday for an individual workout. Last week, he participated in a group setting.

Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith also will return for a second group workout.

Both stood out their first time in Camden, New Jersey.

“He walked into the gym, it’s not hard to see the intrigue with his size and mobility, his frame,” senior director of basketball operations Vince Rozman said of the 6-foot-9 Knox last week. “He’s 18, so there’s a lot to develop from.”

Knox, who averaged 15.6 points (34.1 percent from three), 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a freshman, was confident following his first performance for the Sixers.

“They’re really interested in me,” Knox said. “They love my game, they love the way I can shoot the ball. That’s something they really like to do is shoot a lot of threes. My versatility, being able to take guys off the dribble is something that would complement really well with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.”

The 6-foot-5 Smith posted 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists his freshman season. He was focused on demonstrating shooting, decision-making and playmaking during his first workout.

“He’s got great length,” vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said last week. “He’s a terrific, terrific athlete. He didn’t shoot the ball as well throughout the year, but he came in here today and shot it pretty well.”

The Sixers additionally hold picks No. 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60. Tuesday’s group workout also will include La Salle guard-forward B.J. Johnson, USC guard De’Anthony Melton, Fairfield guard Tyler Nelson, Kansas guard Malik Newman and Wichita State guard Landry Shamet.

More on Sixers, NBA draft

• Knox thinks he would fit with Sixers

• NBA draft profile: Kentucky's Knox

NBA draft profile: Texas Tech's Smith

NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

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NBA draft profile: UCLA PG Aaron Holiday

Aaron Holiday

Position: Guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 187

School: UCLA

Sixers fans should recognize the name. Aaron Holiday is the brother of former Sixers first-round pick Jrue Holiday and Bulls wing Justin Holiday. Aaron is the youngest — and smallest — of the three. 

A three-year player at UCLA, Holiday developed into one of the most prodigious scorers and shooters in Bruins history. He was the first UCLA player to lead the Pac 12 in scoring (20.3 points per game) since some guy named Reggie Miller. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Pac 12 first team.

For his college career, Holiday averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per contest in 101 games (65 starts). He also hit 180 treys, shooting 42 percent from three.

Strengths
Holiday’s most obvious and translatable NBA attribute is his jump shot. He shot over 40 percent in all three of his seasons at UCLA and is capable off the dribble, off screens and in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He also has NBA range and is not afraid to pull up from any spot on the floor.

For his size, he’s a good, creative finisher and features a pretty nice floater. He understands how to attack defenses, especially in the pick and roll. He’s excellent at changing his pace and lulling defenders to sleep. He’s a good and willing passer. Defensively he has excellent instincts. He’s aggressive and does well at getting his hands in passing lanes.

Weaknesses
Size is a huge issue for Holiday. The other big issue is, he’s just an OK athlete that lacks quickness and explosion while driving to the basket. Defense is always going to be an issue as he’ll struggle to guard some of the bigger and more explosive point guards in the league. He also struggled with turnovers.

NBA comparison
Aaron Brooks, most recently of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both players make up for their size with excellent perimeter shooting. Brooks was more explosive coming out of Oregon, but also has a good change of pace to confuse opponents. Holiday has better feel and vision. Brooks has struggled defensively at the NBA level and Holiday will likely encounter the same issues.

How he'd fit with Sixers
It’s tough to project Holiday to the Sixers. His shooting would play well here and playing with a 6-foot-10 point guard would certainly help his cause, but where would he fit? He won’t be a starter right away and the Sixers already feature T.J. McConnell off the bench. McConnell provides energy and top-notch defense that Holiday cannot.

Draft projection
The modern NBA is all about the three so teams will be interested in Holiday as a backup point guard and shooter off the bench. He could go anywhere from the late teens to the mid-20s.

More on the Sixers and the NBA draft