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Bobby Portis doesn't let Wizards workout speak for itself


Bobby Portis doesn't let Wizards workout speak for itself

The primary takeaway from Bobby Portis' session with the Wizards media Monday is that the Arkansas power forward is as candid as he is tall.

For example, most NBA Draft prospects deny they pay attention to pre-draft rumors and buzz when it comes to where they might land. The 6-foot-10 Portis and reigning SEC Player of the Year freely copped to his expected range following a group workout with the Washington Wizards.

"Right now, eight to 20. Anywhere in there I’m in play," stated Portis, an inside-outside threat with range extending beyond the 3-point line.

[MORE WIZARDS: NBA Draft profile: Keifer Sykes]

The Wizards, owners of the 19th overall pick, are in the market for big man with perimeter shooting skills, also known as a stretch-4. Portis didn't hesitate when asked if that's his role on the next level.

"Yessir. No doubt," said the polite and engaging 20-year-old outside the Verizon Center practice court. "The stretch 4 position is a position that has to do with some of everything. Dribbling, scoring. And scoring at the high post, shooting the three ball, posting up, so it does a lot of different things that brings value to a team. I feel like I can do that for whichever team that picks me. But I can’t pick the team. They have to pick me."

Based on Portis' assessment of his workout, not to mention the long-limbed forward's production with the Razorbacks, there is a good chance the Wizards would select him with their current pick if available. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his sophomore season while shooting 46.7 % (14 of 30) on 3-point attempts. What he lacks in high-end athleticism and rim-protector skills he makes up for with passion and relentless energy.

"I showed them I can run, get up  and down the court. Showed them my versatility, that I can put the ball on the floor and score in different ways and showed them I can also defend. I showed them a lot of different things today," the Little Rock native said.

"I’m not going to lie, today they kind of got me a little tired today. But I pushed through it and got my second wind and I feel like when I got my second wind I was ready to go."

On the go describes Portis' itinerary during the pre-draft process. The Wizards were his ninth workout. Two more stops - Milwaukee and Atlanta - are on deck. "It’s been a crazy ride," he said. 

"I’ve been getting great feedback. I don’t feel like I’ve had a bad workout yet," the confident forward said without a trace of arrogance. "I feel like I’ve been playing at a high level. I’ve been playing with energy and effort and I’ve been giving it my all. ...I can’t pick where I want to go, I can’t do anything. But just one thing I can do, play as hard as I can and just show these guys that I’m ready for this next level."

Portis took his game up another level during the 2014-15 campaign, beating out numerous Kentucky standouts for SEC Player of the Year honors.

"My freshman year I came in with a lot of hype and people wanted a lot out of me so I was kind of dummying it down to the freshman role a little bit but came back this year a lot stronger and I came back just ready to go," the 246-pounder said. "So I feel like when I get into the league, there’s going to be things that I will obviously have to adjust to but that’s just basketball.

"Everything isn’t peaches and cream. It’s not going to be gold from Day 1. I have to just come in and progress throughout my career and try to be the best Bobby Portis I can possibly be."

The NBA invited Bobby Portis to Brooklyn for the June 25 draft. Bobby Portis plans on attending. "All kids dream about being there and want to shake the commissioner’s hand and put the hat on and smile at the cameras so that’s something I want to do too."

As for the all important fashion game, the decision is down to two options. This is where the straight shooter turned coy. 

"I ain’t going to tell y'all. Then you start leaking it," Portis joked. "But I’m going to be a bit spiffy."

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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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:


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


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


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