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Case in point: Wizards lacking floor general depth

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Case in point: Wizards lacking floor general depth

Depending on what path the Washington Wizards take with Andray Blatche or ifthey desire a full 15-man roster entering the 2012-13 season, the franchise has2-4 spots unoccupied. While these yet-to-be named players likely are of thedeep reserve variety, there are specific areas on the roster that needaddressing.For some reason whenever adding another guard, specifically a point guard,is mentioned, resistance from the fan base emerges. Not to go all Star Trek:Next Generation on you, but resistance is futile. When constructing a roster, at a basic level there are two positions onemust be three-deep at: center and point guard. The former defends the rim, thelatter runs the offense. Without the necessary bigs, opposing offenses canscore easily. Without a floor general at the ready, one's own offense turnschaotic. Everything is needed, but roles can be adjusted to fill in. Can'tteach size and for some, you can't teach being a floor general.
That's why when the Wizards start doing more than window browsing, you wantErnie Grunfeld to bag a point guard - plus a frontcourt shooter - andpreferably a veteran one at that.Right now with Nene, Emeka Okafor and Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards are lockedand loaded inside. Right now with John Wall still learning to efficiently playin half court sets, Shelvin Mack simply learning to play with the ball in hishands and no other backcourt distributor on the roster, another point guard isneeded. (If you just thought "hey, Jordan Crawford can run anoffense", go sit in the corner.)Let'sstart with experience, or the lack of it. While the Wizards frontcourt has maturedfollowing two trades, the current backcourt corps remains in a teething stageby comparison. Including Crawford and rookie Bradley Beal, who in time couldemerge as a fallback point option, the Wizards top four guards have played atotal of five years in the NBA. Simply bringing back Roger Mason - a reasonable move considering Beal alonecannot fix all the shooting woes - does not change the dynamic. The soon-to-be 32-year-old can play the point in a pinch, but not strong enough to justify extended minutes. As strictly a two-guard, his minutesfigure to be limited behind Crawford and the Florida rookie. By the way, everyone wants totalk aboutOklahoma City's young squad. Even with Russell Westbrook and James Harden,the Thunder felt compelled to add atrue graybeard in Derek Fisher. Cannot make up forknowledge by talent alone.Speaking of Beal, one of the reasons told to me by several collegebasketball watchers regarding his 3-point shooting struggles in college stemmedfrom the Gators lacking a true point guard. Rather than getting set up forlooks, Beal's opportunities were random and often uncomfortable. Yes, he willplay with Wall at times, but assuming Beal comes off the bench, seemsreasonable to help his development - not to mention all the young bigs - byfinding a stable option opposite him.Then there is the in case of emergency situation. Let's say Wall suffers aninjury, big or small. For a single game, a team can get by with a mishmosh of alineup, but over time the offense will breakdown without on-court direction.Teams can get away with carrying two point guards if both options are trulyadept at running the offense. That's not the case here, not yet anyway.It's also not the case that any single realistic free agent option serves asa magic elixir for a postseason run. However, several options have been through the NBA wars or have shown some level of point guard aptitude.On the high-end backup scale, former WizardKirk Hinrich kills two birds with one transaction since he can handle and shootthe rock, though he likely is seeking a more established playoff team. JordanFarmar, expected to be bought out by the Hawks following his inclusion in theJoe Johnson trade, has played under the brightest NBA lights. John Lucas IIIturned in his best performance against the Wizards last season. For the right price,Jonny Flynn could be an interesting flyer.There are othersto ponder, but likely the true crop of available guards emerges after thebigger fish have been reeled in. To be clear, none of this means Mack must go, not even close. The 6-foot-3 guard isno empty vessel as a baller, but for now he is best off the ball, a role heplayed with great success at Butler. The Las Vegas Summer League will go a longway towards showing how far Mack has come as a lead guard or how much he still has to learn.Playing 10-12 minutes a game behind Wall is one thing. Playing extended minutes while having to direct other youngsters is another. Potentially being thrust into a 30 minutes a game scenario while still making the transition to becoming a lead guard is quite, quite another.Right now, if this is truly a playoff-or-bust year as a certain someone has said, going into the season with only two young point guard types isunacceptable.

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4

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