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Can Kevin Seraphin pick up where he left off?


Can Kevin Seraphin pick up where he left off?

Note: This is the latest installment in a ten-part series on the top storylines facing the Wizards this season. Check CSNwashington.com daily for additional entries.

Kevin Seraphin probably thought he was going to be penciled in as the Wizards' starting power forward this year after his improved play late last season. That was until the team went out and traded for Emeka Okafor, likely moving Seraphin back to the bench.

Seraphin showed immense improvement, averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds in 21 starts to close out the season. Wins over quality teams were rare last year for the Wizards but in one marquee victory over the L.A. Lakers in March, Seraphin was unstoppable, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. It was his breakout game.

Two years ago, Seraphin was very limited offensively and looked lost in his rookie season. But over the last few months of last season he steadily improved and showed off a variety of low-post moves that had defenders on their heels.

The 6'-9" Seraphin averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds in April, including a career-high 24 points and 13 boards in a win over Orlando. He followed that up with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks in a win at Chicago. Seraphin closed out the season with 16 straight games in which he scored in double figures.

"We saw great progress in Kevin last year," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "He was able to go out the second half of the year and play with confidence. You can't play at this level without confidence, but Kevin made great strides."

Seraphin was probably the most improved player in the NBA in the second half of last season and he hopes to continue his improvement -- but as a backup to start the season. Okafor for now is the starting power forward but if Seraphin continues to improve like he did last year, the team will have to get him quality minutes.

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 



John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?