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Bradley Beal questionable vs. Thunder but history suggests he'll play


Bradley Beal questionable vs. Thunder but history suggests he'll play

Bradley Beal's status hasn't changed from questionable for the Wizards for tonight's game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder even though he practiced some, but it's hard to imagine that he won't play considering the caliber of opponent and his history of playing through pain.

"You know my motto, if it ain't broke I ain't sitting down," Beal said when pushed for an answer about the left shoulder he bruised in a game Saturday. "At the same time I want to be smart and not have an injury linger on further than what I need it to."

Beal fell and took a knee to the left shoulder that forced him to leave a game at the Atlanta Hawks. Tests, including an MRI, came back negative. He didn't practice Monday. He was taking shots early Tuesday.

"I'm able to move it a little bit more. Still sore," Beal said when first asked about his non-shooting arm. "I'm still unsure about tonight. I'm not sure if the status is going to change or not."

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Using Beal's history as a guide, he has repeatedly played through worse injuries. As a rookie, he sprained both ankles. A high one on his right leg led to the first of three stress reactions in each of his first three seasons. In a playoff game with the Hawks last season, Beal rolled his ankle so badly that he left the floor in tears. He didn't miss a game. If Beal wants to play, coach Randy Wittman isn't going to stop him.

An elite opponent like the Thunder (4-3), with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, makes it more likely that he'll try to gut out any discomfort. The last time they were here, Westbrook made the game-winning shot with one second left in overtime and it came against Beal. 

"I remember I slacked off and Westbrook got a layup at the end," Beal said. "That much I do remember."

A team that has had 50 turnovers in the last two games, both losses, the Wizards (3-3) tend to play better against elite opponents. They beat the San Antonio Spurs last week on Beal's buzzer-beating three-pointer 102-99 when they only had 10 turnovers.

"That's kind of natural for any team. Whenever you have All-Stars and a great team like OKC, coming in tonight you always get pumped for that game," Beal said. "That's just naturally going to happen. Our focus today is the best it has been in terms of attention to detail. We're getting back to what we need to do. Changing our offense a little bit in terms of our spacing and making sure we're not having as many turnovers as we had in the first couple of games."

If Beal doesn't play, Gary Neal likely would start unless Wittman wants more defense on the floor. In that case, it would be Garrett Temple who started for Beal last season after he broke his left wrist. 

But even Beal admitted as he walked away, if this were a low profile team instead of Oklahoma City, he might be more inclined to sit this one out. The opponent matters and that will factor into his decision.

"It always does," he said.

MORE WIZARDS: Kevin Durant's fond memories of journey from D.C. to NBA

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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

Former NBA player J.J. Hickson faces charges of armed robbery after breaking into a home near Atlanta, stealing $100,000 from the house, and physically assaulting a teenager who was inside, authorities said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hickson, who played eight seasons in the NBA with four teams before his brief appearance in Washington, is currently being held in Coweta County Jail without bond. 

He is currently affiliated with the Lebanese Basketball League but played 15 games with the Wizards during the 2015-16 season. Hickson averaged 4.6 ppg and scored a season-high 15 points against the Nets in the penultimate game of the regular season. He has not played professionally in the United States since.  Hickson played just one season at North Carolina State before being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 19 pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Jimmy Yarbrough, the sheriff's spokesperson in Coweta, said that while at least two people were involved in the invasion, only Hickson is being held and charged.

According to authorities, Hickson entered through a side door, armed with a knife and his face and head covered. He was initially apprehended by another department and later transferred into the custody of Coweta County law enforcement. 

At this time in the investigation, very little detail is publicly available.

The teenage victim, whose name remains private, received medical treatment for several broken bones and is fortunately in good condition. 

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Keita Bates-Diop

School: Ohio State
Position: Small forward/power forward
Age: 22
Height: 6-9
Weight: 224
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 35

2017/18 stats: 19.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.6 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 35.9 3PT% (1.9 3PT/5.4 3PA), 79.4 FT%
Player comparison: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 26th, NBADraft.net 41st, Bleacher Report 21st, Sports Illustrated 31st

5 things to know:

*Bates-Diop is a uniquely versatile player who could fit in very well with positionless basketball. He is the size of a small forward, but has the wingspan to play bigger and the athleticism to guard multiple positions. Defense could be the way he makes his name early on in his NBA career. He has proven uniquely adept at blocking shots for his size, averaging 1.6 per game as a redshirt junior. Whether that will translate to the NBA level, however, is a question. He will be guarding bigger, smarter and more athletic players.

*He is a very good rebounder, especially for his size. Bates-Diop grabbed rebounds consistently throughout his career and as a redshirt junior pulled in 8.7 per game. He had 20 games of double-digit rebounds in college and three times had 14 in a game. He had seven offensive rebounds against Robert Morris in a game last November.

*Bates-Diop was the Big 10 player of the year for the 2017-18 season. Some recent winners of the award include Denzel Valentine, Frank Kaminsky, Draymond Green, Trey Burke and Evan Turner.

*He was able to redshirt because he missed most of his junior season with a stress fracture in his left leg.

*Bates-Diop wasn't an elite three-point shooter in college, but he did make strides throughout his career. As a redshirt junior, he shot a modest percentage of 35.9, though the volume he made them was noteworthy. Outside shooting is always important for NBA wings and Bates-Diop would benefit from developing a consistent three-point shot. He will probably need to simplify his motion because his release is a bit slow.

Fit with Wizards: Bates-Diop would give the Wizards depth at two positions where they need it. He could slide into Mike Scott's role as the backup forward, spending much of his time behind Markieff Morris as a smaller four while giving them insurance at the three position behind Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Bates-Diop would add length and athleticism to the second unit and he and Oubre could make a dynamic combination defending the perimeter. They would have over 14 feet of wingspan between them.

Bates-Diop would have to prove himself at power forward at the NBA level before he can be projected as a starter in the long-term. Right now they have small forward solidified with Otto Porter.

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More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

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