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Bradley Beal's defense continues to frustrate Kyle Korver


Bradley Beal's defense continues to frustrate Kyle Korver

Based on the way the playoffs are going, it's probably a good time to resurrect the discussion of where the Wizards rank among NBA backcourts. While 2014-15 MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are deservedly called the future, John Wall and Bradley Beal can't be quickly discarded as afterthoughts any longer.

Curry and Thompson are struggling and trailing the Memphis Grizzlies 2-1 in their Western Conference semifinal. The Wizards dominated supposedly an equal or better backcourt in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan by sweeping the Toronto Raptors and now are giving the Atlanta Hawks' Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, both All-Stars, fits.

It's probably safe to say that Korver, the NBA's best three-point shooter coming into the postseason, is sick of seeing Beal who is proving that he can consistently be the two-way player for the Wizards in this second-round series with the Hawks.

Korver has been a non-factor, unable to free himself from Beal who is able to still get his shots. In a 103-101 Game 3 victory for the Wizards on Saturday, Korver played 37 minutes and only attempted five shots. His two made field goals came on second-chance points from offensive rebounds by Atlanta. 

"It's tough. He's got to play against a guy that moves around like Korver does," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after Sunday's practice. "But he's done a great job, staying aggressive at both ends. It gets harder and harder the farther you move along."

Korver was matched up with Beal for 9:32, and he was 1-for-4 for just three points, according to the NBA's SportVU player tracking data.

And consider that Beal is doing this after rolling his troublesome right ankle so badly in Game 1, when he led all scorers with 28 points, that he left the court in the fourth quarter in tears. And without John Wall, who fractured his left hand and wrist and has missed the last two games and is unlikely to play again this series.

"Don't let my face fool you now. It was tough," said Beal of chasing around Korver after Game 2. "I was trying to do whatever I could. It wasn't easy. A lot of treatment the last couple days but I was out there, no excuses."

These difficulties for Korver shouldn't bee too surprising as there was ample evidence in the regular season. There he shot 1-for-7 and 0-for-4 though Atlanta still won those games. He's 11-for-31 in this series for 35.4%. Otto Porter and Garrett Temple, lanky, long, defense-first players, have contributed to the poor shooting, too.

"Brad, myself, Otto, we've been watching a lot of film on him and understand where he likes to get to his spots, and we just try to do a good job of topping him, sending him away from the screens, getting them out of their sets in terms of denying him wing passes and stuff like that," Temple said. "The bigs have done a great job as well when he comes off the curl, the bigs are there to help and we're helping the helper. We've done a great job of being aware of where he is. He gets a lot of his points off transition."

Beal sets the tone with how he starts out on Korver. Even without Wall, the Wizards have the tools to keep Teague contained, out of the paint and smother his ability to kick the ball out to Korver spotting up around the arc.

"This team is beatable,' said Beal, who tied a career playoff high with seven assists in Game 2 and surpassed it with eight in Game 3. "We feel like we're the better team."

[RELATED Bradley Beal's thoughts on Jeff Teague? Not a fan

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson


Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

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

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!