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Dudley on point with role, fit with Wizards

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Dudley on point with role, fit with Wizards

Jared Dudley spent part of his 30th birthday on a conference call with media members. Another celebration of sorts began the week prior when the Wizards acquired the veteran forward from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The engaging Dudley explained he sensed the Wizards might work once Paul Pierce blew out the candles on his time in Washington. If all goes to plan, this stretch-4 option becomes the positional present coach Randy Wittman unwraps at the start of the regular season.

"I liked my situation in Milwaukee, but if they told me I was going to opt-in and go to Washington, I would have opted in the first day because I can't see a situation's that's better for me right now," Dudley said Friday.

During the call, Dudley explained with detail the Wizards' situation and how he and the other new guys fit in. Washington becomes his fifth NBA team and fourth in four seasons.

"This was a place I was thinking about going possibly in free agency," said Dudley, who opted into the final year of his contract with the Bucks on June 30. Approximately 48 hours later, Milwaukee shipped him to Washington.

"I decided to opt back in. I knew [Washington] could be a possibility once Paul Pierce left. I think that I fit in well."

Dudley can play either forward position. Besides, Washington's backcourt is spoken for going forward.

"(I) can help fill that void as a 3/stretch-4," he said. "Playing with John Wall. ...Bradley Beal ready to become an All-Star. It's that 3/4 position where they had a [void]. I think with myself, Alan Anderson and the rookie, hopefully we can help fill that void."

Even with the future Hall of Fame forward in Pierce last season, the Wizards were not loaded on the wings. In terms of options, that's certainly not the case this season even as Pierce left for the Los Angeles Clippers. Otto Porter improved during the playoffs. Washington signed free agents Gary Neal and Anderson. They drafted Kelly Oubre Jr., - a.k.a. "the rookie" - in the first round. Perhaps most interesting of all, the Wizards traded with the Bucks for Dudley. The cost, extremely minor. The payoff? '

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"'Versatility," Wittman said. "He's a team guy. He's a good locker room guy. He's a good teammate. He can play multiple positions. He has a smart basketball IQ. All those things,."

Of Dudley's 595 NBA games, he started 212 of them including 22 with the Bucks last season. That means he's mostly been a come-off-the-bench kind of player, which the former first round pick by Charlotte in 2007 said he has no issue with in Washington. 

Same goes for playing either forward spot, though it's that perimeter power forward role Dudley improved on last season.

"I think the appeal was with Paul Pierce leaving, there was a 3-spot void. Obviously they have Otto Porter who had a great playoffs and is a good young player," Dudley said. "With a young guy, usually teams, especially playoff teams, like to have a young guy and a vet. I felt that fit.

"Also, last year I really expanded my game, going to the stretch-4 where it was easier to guard 4's. I could stretch it with the 3-ball. I could take them off the dribble."

The career 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc sank 38 percent of his attempts last season while averaging 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds. Dudley drained 8 of 14 (57.1) 3-pointers during Milwaukee's playoff series loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Washington deployed Pierce and Porter together with great success during the playoffs. That pairing was rare during the regular season in part because Wittman didn't want to overuse the 37-year-old Pierce. Expect that formation to receive heavy rotation this campaign.

"I'm excited to work with Otto Porter," Dudley said. "The stretch-4 position, I know I can help out. You see now in today's age people going small-ball. Indiana will put Paul George at the 4. Draymond Green plays stretch-4. (Paul) Millsap. You have to have a versatile 4 that can guard those positions and that's what I think I can do and hope to bring."

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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