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0-6, by the numbers


0-6, by the numbers

Rather than rehash last night's 16-point loss at Charlotte, the lowest point of the Wizards' 0-6 season, thought we would take a basic look at those pesky statistics (Yes, we understand, no John Wall, no Nene. Regardless, the games count).

*Let's start with the scoring, or lack thereof. After tallying 76 points against the Bobcats, Washington is averaging a league-low 86.0 per game while tallying 1.02 points per shot, also last. The Wizards have topped 90 points twice in six games while still waiting to reach triple figures. Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks, Washington's next opponent, are averaging 101.9 points per game. By the way, from a past is prologue angle, last season's Wizards team, which opened the season with eight straight losses, failed to score at least 100 points until the 13th game.

*Bradley Beal leads the Wizards with 12.2 points, the lowest per game average for any team leader. 88 NBA players are averaging more, including Utah guard Randy Foye (12.6), the ex-Wizard acquired in the infamous 2009 trade with Minnesota. Other not-so notable scorers averaging more per game than Washington's leader include Mike Dunleavy, Chandler Parsons and E'Twaun Moore.

*Despite sitting tied with Sacramento at the bottom of the NBA's 3-point shooting list (27.9 percent), the Wizards are launching the third-most attempts (25.7) from beyond the arc. Tuesday's 5 of 31 horror show, which included the starting backcourt of Beal and A.J. Price missing 20 of 23 tries, didn't help the cause.

*Benefitted by the most playing time of his career, Price is averaging 7.7 assists, tied for seventh with Brooklyn's Deron Williams, with a 3.29 assist-to-turnover ratio (13th). Shot selection has been the larger issue; 30.6 field goal percentage, 26.8 from beyond the arc. Only his backup Jannero Pargo has a lower effective FG percentage on the roster than Price's 38.2 (Washington's ranks 28th overall in EFG at 43.8).

*Beal has made 20 of 21 free throws, ranking sixth at 95.2 percent. Martell Webster (90.9) also with only a single miss in 11 attempts. Despite those efforts, Washington ranks 24th at 71.4 percent. More troubling is the lack of attempts, 17.5 per game (28th). By comparison Dwight Howard leads the league at 10.9 free throws per game (Beal leads the Wizards with 3.5). After taking only seven attempts in Saturday's loss at Indiana, the Wizards worked their way into 32 free throws against Charlotte, but missed 11 of them.

*The lack of low post scoring options works against the Wizards in the free throw department. So does the fact that their best interior scorer - Kevin Seraphin - has taken only six more free throws on the season than anyone reading this. The burly Seraphin's 1.2 attempts per game matches his average from last season. Over his career Nene averages 4.6 attempts.

*Of the players with at least 10 field goal attempts on the season, only last season's first rounders - Chris Singleton (13 of 26) and Jan Vesely (8 of 16) - are shooting at least 50 percent. Speaking of Vesely, the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft played 14 scoreless minutes over the last two games, missing four free throws and his only field goal attempt

*Trevor Ariza ranks fifth in steals, averaging 2.33 per game. Washington's starting small forward has worked himself off what was a month-long funk on both ends of the court, though his 34.6 field goal percentage remains unsightly.

*Defensively the Wizards have been solid if not strong at times, allowing 94.2 points (14th), which is why they had late-game chances to win against Indiana and twice against Boston. That likely won't be enough Wednesday in Dallas against a Mavericks team that is scoring at a high clip even without the injured Dirk Nowitzki.

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Wizards GM search: Resetting the potential candidates

Wizards GM search: Resetting the potential candidates

The Wizards general manager search reset needs a reset.

We head into the holiday weekend with the local NBA team still lacking a permanent front office leader. Zero reports of interviews of any kind since last week’s meeting with Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly.

At least we can cross off the idea of flirting with Portland’s Neil Olshey. The Blazers’ President of Basketball reportedly signed an extension one day after NBC Sports Washington reported interest from the Wizards.

For now, we wait, though be prepared for a hire any day – or not. At this point, here are the names to consider.

Tommy Sheppard – The Wizards VP of Basketball Operations began running the show on an interim basis following the firing of President of Basketball Operations on April 2. That he’s making the calls from inside the house, running the pre-draft process and showing a Wizards world with him in charge gives Sheppard an inside track over all other candidates.

To call him the favorite, however, might be a stretch at this point based simply on the fact that he has not been hired despite his in-house status. Sheppard is well respected around the NBA and league voices would tell frustrated fans they shouldn’t consider him Grunfeld 2.0.

Theory: If Sheppard gets the nod, the Wizards promote Go-Go general manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu to serve as Sheppard’s number two and then promote the benefits of their G-League investment beyond player development.

Troy Weaver –The Thunder assistant general manager met with the Wizards twice. Weaver, long considered a rising front-office star, worked with Wizards coach Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City and flashed his recruiting skills at Syracuse when he landed Carmelo Anthony. The D.C. native still has ties to the area.

Danny Ferry – Like Weaver, Ferry met with the Wizards twice in Washington. Throughout the search process, multiple league sources told NBC Sports Washington that the former Hawks and Cavaliers general manager is the best candidate for the Wizards’ opening even over Connelly. The Hawks won 60 games during the 2014-15 season and reached the Eastern Conference Finals.

Some question the strength of his candidacy based on any lingering controversy stemming from comments he made as Hawks GM regarding Luol Deng’s heritage in 2014, of which an independent investigation stated Ferry's intentions were not racially motivatedThis week former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. vouched for Ferry’s character on a local radio show.

Neither Ferry nor Weaver was likely to have heard back from the Wizards since Connelly’s involvement as of mid-week, according to sources familiar with the situation. Like the rest of us, they wait for news. 

Larry Harris – There’s no official reporting linking the Wizards to Golden State’s assistant GM. Washington and New Orleans both used the same consultant, Mike Forde, during their front office searches. Many of the same people have interviewed for both jobs. Harris, the former Bucks GM who joined the Warriors in 2008, met with New Orleans before the playoffs began.

That the Wizards appear patient with their search may suggest they are waiting for someone still in the playoffs.

Masai Ujiri – Speaking of an executive whose team is still in the playoffs… Ujiri’s Raptors are one game away from reaching the NBA Finals. NBC Sports Washington previously reported Ujiri showed interest in Washington. However, expectations of high salary demands and compensation from the Raptors for their President of Basketball Operations stunted any serious movement.

Bonus names -- Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton was part of the Wizards front office from 2003 to 2013. … Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren was deemed a candidate by the New York Times early in the process. One Boston-based source believes that Zarren would prefer remaining with the team he grew up rooting for rather than pursue most open GM jobs. … Spurs assistant GM Brian Wright, another D.C. area native, just completed his third year with San Antonio. 


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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: KZ Okpala

School: Stanford
Position: Forward
Age: 20
Height: 6-10
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: 37 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.5 bpg, 46.3 FG% (5.9/12.7), 36.8 3PT% (1.1/3.0), 67.1 FT%

Player comparison: Kyle Kuzma, Gerald Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 27th, Sports Illustrated 29th, Ringer 41st

5 things to know:

*Okpala is a tall, lanky wing who loves to drive from the perimeter to the rim. He made the All-Pac-12 team this past season after improving his scoring average from 10.0 points as a freshman to 16.8 points as a sophomore. He also increased his rebounds per game average from 3.7 to 5.7.

*He is arguably one of the most athletic players in this class. At 6-foot-10 in shoes, he has great size for a wing player and measured at the NBA combine with a 7-2 wingspan. He also has an impressive vertical leap of 37 inches which would be good even for a point guard. He is also fast in the open court. Teams will be enticed with his ceiling on both ends of the floor.

*Okpala scored a lot in college but has a raw offensive game. He isn't fully there as a ball-handler and has an improving, but still inconsistent outside shot. The fact he made a leap from his freshman to sophomore year as a three-point shooter was a very good sign. His 36.8 three-point percentage on three attempts per game is encouraging but does not offer any guarantees that he can stretch the floor at the next level. His 67.1 free throw percentage doesn't help his cause.

*He is just the third player from Stanford to leave for the NBA before his junior season, joining the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, who were first round picks in 2010.

*Okpala is the son of two Nigerian immigrants. He had a 4.4 GPA in high school.

Fit with Wizards: Okpala would fill a need for the Wizards in that he is a forward and they don't have many of those under contract for next season. He would also give them a young player with high upside, something they currently lack.

But Okpala also seems to offer decent bust potential. Ever since Kevin Durant came into the league, there have been a lot of players like Okpala to come along, ones that are tall enough to play inside but prefer to work on the perimeter.

Sometimes that can work, like with Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brandon Ingram (sort of). But for every success story, there seem to be a lot of guys like Perry Jones and Thon Maker.

Okpala seems very much like boom or bust, and the Wizards may not be able to afford taking a chance like that.

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