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3-point play: Wizards-Celtics, part deux

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3-point play: Wizards-Celtics, part deux

Three keys for the winless Wizards (0-2) heading into Wednesday' night tilt at Boston, the back-end of a home-and-home series with the Celtics.

*Remain defensive - After answering a series of questions about the team's struggling offense in two close losses, Wizards coach Randy Wittman made a salient point: it's because of the team's much improved defense that Washington was able to have a shot at wins despite the offense not clicking. Heck, the man called the Saturday's second half defense against Boston "beautiful". Especially without John Wall and Nene in the lineup, the Wizards identity, at least to the outside world, is non-existent. Those that have watched throughout training camp know that defensively is where this team can - and must considering its limited scoring options - make its mark. Two games is a nice start. Make it three and then four, now we have a trend.

*Offensive balance - Right now it's easy to critique Bradley Beal's scoring struggles, but the reality is the wing guard is the only pure scorer, shooter among the starting five. Guess what, opposing teams know this. That's why they are focusing on stopping the 19-year-old rookie while conceeding perimeter shots to veteran's like Trevor Ariza or not doubling 30-year-old Emeka Okafor in the low post. The Wizards don't have tons of other ways to go for scoring punch - maybe even fewer if Jordan Crawford's ankle injury keeps him out -, though Kevin Seraphin sinking 8 of 9 shots for 19 points on Saturday against the same Celtics suggets they have at least one inside. Wittman was not willing to state whether the 6-foot-10 center would enter the starting lineup, but Boston would certainly send a double-team Seraphin's way. That would open the court for Beal and let others revert to their more natural roles. We'll see if the coach see it that way.

*Production beyond points: Speaking of Ariza, here's hoping he bought a relaxation tape - or six - since Saturday. Throughout camp the defensive presence has been out of sorts offensively - which has carried over to other parts of his game. So much so that when Wittman offered a detailed list of what he wants out of his small forward, offense wasn't one of them. Considering he'll likely be tasked with trying to contain Paul Pierce, Ariza will be busy for sure without focusing on making buckets, not that he did that once on Saturday. Wittman offered the same simple advice for Beal; grab rebounds, play defense, basically get the juices flowing in those directions which will take some pressure, mental anyway, away from the shooting woes. Beal left college with legitimate rebounding credentials, but Wittman made a point of telling the media the 6-foot 4 guard (or 6-foot-5, or 6-foot-3, depending on the source) grabbed only one board against Boston on Saturday. Even if his scoring doesn't improve in the rematch, Beal numbers on the board and elsewhere figure to be a good indicator of whether he's gotten all those "people in my ear" out of there.

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

MORE WIZARDS’ NEWS:

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ty Lawson

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ty Lawson

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Ty Lawson's season...

Player: Ty Lawson

Position: Point guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $11.9K

2017-18 stats: 6 G, 19.2 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.5 bpg, 34.6 FG%, 62.5 3P%, 1.000 FT%, 44.2 eFG%, 114 ORtg, 115 DRtg (all in playoffs)

Best game: 4/17 at Raptors (Game 2) - 14 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 4-for-10 FG, 4-for-5 3PT

Season review: The Wizards made a surprise move the day after the regular season finished by signing Ty Lawson, giving them a fifth point guard for the playoffs. Not only did Lawson join the team last-minute, he actually got minutes in the postseason, immediately slotting in as their primary backup point guard.

Very quickly Lawson showed what the Wizards saw in him. He added a spark off the bench, particularly on offense. He showed no restraint in looking for his own shot and in Game 2 against the Raptors hit 4-of-5 from long range.

Lawson proved he still has the quickness that made him an above average NBA point guard in his prime. There were questions about his athleticism given he is 30 years old and spent most of the season in China, but Lawson was still noticeably faster than his contemporaries on the Wizards' bench.

Whether Lawson proved enough to stick around in the NBA is the real question. He only played six games for the Wizards and, though he impressed to a certain degree, teams had given up on him just a year before. 

The Wizards have five open roster spots entering this offseason and have only two point guards in the mix. They will be in the market for more backup help, though it is unclear at this point if they are interested in bringing Lawson back. They have two draft picks and the ability to add players via trades, as they have several times in recent years to address backup point guard.

Working in Lawson's favor to potentially stick around is that the Wizards do not have much money to spend. They are in the luxury tax and will likely need some cheap options to fill out the final spots on their roster.

Lawson certainly would not cost much.

Potential to improve: Shooting, scoring, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

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