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Dissecting the newly released 2015-16 Wizards schedule


Dissecting the newly released 2015-16 Wizards schedule


For the fourth year in a row, the Wizards will open the regular season on the road, this time Oct. 28 at the Orlando Magic and then two days later at the Milwaukee Bucks in the first game of a back-to-back before their home opener vs. the New York Knicks on Halloween at Verizon Center.

All three have strong opponents have strong local ties, too. The Magic have Victor Oladipo, 2013 lottery pick from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md.; the Bucks made a major step forward by luring Georgetown big man Greg Monroe in free agency; and the Knicks recently signed Kevin Seraphin, a backup center who spent his first five seasons in Washington. Also, Jerian Grant was drafted by the Wizards at No. 19 and then traded (twice) before ending up with the Knicks.

Unlike last season, when the Wizards had a soft schedule to open the season which led to a 22-8 start, they'll be tested early. Between home games vs. the San Antonio Spurs (Nov. 4) and Oklahoma City Thunder (Nov. 10), the Wizards will see the Atlanta Hawks (Nov. 7), who eliminated them in the conference semifinals of last season's playoffs.

The Kevin Durant-to-D.C. speculation will be in full gear early with the Thunder, who will be fighting to retain their superstar who becomes a free agent next summer.


National TV: Only half (five) of what the Wizards were scheduled for at this point last year. All take place in the second half of the season, with Feb. 3 vs. the NBA champion Golden State Warriors being the first. Their second meeting March 29 also is national with games vs. Knicks (Feb. 9), Chicago Bulls (Feb. 24) and Cleveland Cavaliers (March 4) in between.

Holidays: The Wizards will not play on Christmas Day like last season when they were at the Knicks. But they'll host the Magic on New Year's Day and the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 18, MLK Day.

LeBron sightings: The East champion Cavs will host the Wizards on Dec. 1. They'll meet again in D.C. on Jan. 6 and Feb. 28 and a final time in Cleveland on March 4.

Reunion: After one season, Paul Pierce left to the L.A. Clippers to finish out his career. He's back here Dec. 28. The Wizards visit the Clippers on April 3.

Back-to-backs: The are 19 of them, with 10 being Friday-Saturday games. 

Bundling: How many times do the Wizards have four games in five days? Once (Nov. 24-28), with back-to-backs wrapped around an off day for Thanksgiving.

Biggest switch: Of 16 games in December, 11 will be vs. Western Conference teams which was much different than a year ago. The Wizards will have wrapped up season series with the Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks before the calendar year ends. 

Travel time: The Wizards don't have any road trips longer than two games until Dec. 11 when they have a four-game stretch at the New Orleans Pelicans, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Spurs. Of their 30 games before Jan. 1, they're even split home-and-away (15-15). Their next stretch of more than two consecutive games on the road doesn't come until March 8-12 (three) and 27-30 (three).

Closing out: Fourteen of the Wizards' last 23 games are on the road against teams such as the Cavs, Blazers, Hawks, Warriors and Clippers. And the home games aren't exactly walks in the park with the Bulls, Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons -- the latter three missing last season's playoffs but retooled to compete. The Wizards better take care of business early, or finishing strong against this lot may prove to be incredibly difficult if these teams also are playing for something.

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Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

The Wizards are holding their highest-profile pre-draft workout yet on Monday, hosting UNC teammates and projected lottery picks Coby White and Nassir Little. 

White earned All-ACC and All-Freshman honors during his lone season in Chapel Hill, averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Little's season with the Tar Heels did not go as smoothly as White's, but he is an NBA-ready athlete with tons of upside. 

Both White and Little could be options for the Wizards at No. 9 and would provide solutions to some of Washington's major needs. White would give the Wizards a primary play-maker while John Wall recovers from his Achilles injury, while Little would fill Washington's hole at small forward and bring some much-needed defense and rebounding to the team.

Before White and Little, the Wizards had brought in very few projected lottery picks during their pre-draft process, outside of Kentucky forward Keldon Johnson and French prospect Sekou Doumbouya. But with the 2019 NBA Draft looming on Thursday, the Wizards are ramping up their search for the player they'll pick at No. 9. 


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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again.