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Five takeaways from the Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Knicks


Five takeaways from the Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Knicks

In their second preseason game with this quick-paced offense, the Wizards' defensive lapses and inability to contain an elite scorer such as Carmelo Anthony led to Friday's 115-104 loss to the New York Knicks at Verizon Center. 

Otto Porter had his hands full defending Anthony, who heated up after the first quarter to score 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting. Porter had 22 points in Tuesday's win but ended this one with nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Marcin Gortat had 15 points, John Wall 13, Bradley Beal 12, and Kris Humphries and Gary Neal 11 each.

Bradley Beal only shot 5-for-14 for the Wizards but was aggressive in attacking the basket throughout. He had eight rebounds and three assists. His end-to-end dunk over Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was the highlight of the night. 

The Wizards were minus six players because of injury. Joining Alan Anderson (left ankle), Jared Dudley (back surgery) and Martell Webster (right hip), neither of whom played in the opener, were Garrett Temple (left hamstring), DeJuan Blair (left knee), Drew Gooden (right glute).

In his first year with the Knicks, Derrick Williams came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points. Kevin Seraphin, who spent his first five years in Washington, didn't make the trip because of a knee injury.

  • The Wizards were intent on challenging three-point looks but have been willing to concede long twos. Blending defensive principles with this fast-pace offense is still a work in progress. New York made half of its 42 field goals in the first half. They shot 5-for-11 from three-point range. 

  • Porter still needs to gain some strength if he's going to defend the likes of Anthony in the mid-post. Porter played good position defense and contested him in the first quarter when Anthony missed 3 of 5 shots. Anthony is a master at using his backside create space by bumping off his defender. Even though former Wizards forward Trevor Ariza was thinly built he gave Anthony fits with his anticipatory skills and fought him for every spot on the floor. Porter has his work cut out for him to do it on both ends when facing someone of this caliber. 

  • Beal stayed true to his word and avoided long twos. He attacked the basket -- and few oohs and aahs for an in-and-out dribble in transition -- and created for others though his assists doesn't show it. His should've had at least six.

  • Oubre not only had his first action as a pro but got a nice chewing out from coach Randy Wittman for what appeared to be missing a defensive rotation. If the scouting report on him coming out of Kansas is accurate, the 19-year-old can handle it. He dealt with Bill Self. He was 0-for-7 in 25 minutes. 

  • Kris Humphries is now 3-for-10 from three-point range in two games. When Beal dribbled into the paint, he drew multiple defenders which left Humphries with an unobstructed view. He'll get plenty of clean looks until he can prove he's a consistent threat. He made two long twos early in the fourth quarter which is where he's clearly more comfortable. 

RELATED: Beal posterizes Porzingis with one-handed slam

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report


Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, according to the report

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to sources of ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season. .


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John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

John Wall knows the decision between loyalty and money is a tough one for Bryce Harper

In just a few months, Nationals star Bryce Harper could become one of the biggest free agents not just in baseball history, but sports history. He will decide whether to stay in Washington with the team that drafted him and oversaw his development as a young player, or to leave for another city.

Wizards guard John Wall has twice faced the prospect of free agency and twice has decided to sign contract extensions to stay in D.C. Though the salary structures of baseball and basketball are different, there are some parallels between the two. 

Wall has a unique perspective on the call Harper has to make and gave his opinion on the matter in a 1-on-1 interview on the latest episode of our Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"Well, it’s kind of tough. It depends on if you want to do it off of loyalty, or if you want to do it to make sure you make the most money you can make. That’s the toughest decision that you can have. I have the opportunity here where I have loyalty and I can also make the money, so that was a bonus and a plus for me in both situations," Wall said. 

Wall noted how as an NBA player he can have the best of both worlds. The league's collective bargaining agreement allows teams to pay players they drafted significantly more money.

That, however, has not stopped NBA stars from changing teams. Wall in many ways is an outlier as many superstars have left money on the table to depart their original teams. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George have all done that, to name a few. Kawhi Leonard could be next.

Harper, though, may also be able to make more money elsewhere. The Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox or some other team could conceivably offer more money than the Nats and there are some cities like L.A. and New York that could open up more endorsement opportunities.

There's no question it pays to be the best player on the Yankees. Look at Derek Jeter and how his stardom was boosted by that distinction.

Loyalty is also going to come into play for Harper and the past few days have shown he is a sentimental person, as he has talked about all the people he has connected with over the years and how much the Washington community means to him.

Wall took all of those things into account when he decided to stay in D.C. and not look elsewhere via free agency or trades, which have become commonplace for All-Star players in the NBA.

"It was how much what the city means to me is the reason I wanted to stay and what I want to bring here is a championship, it’s what I promise and I hope I can do that," Wall said. "My dad’s from here. Just the way they welcomed me from the first day I came here. Sticking with me through the tough times, when we wasn’t winning early on and then we started to win. The city just embraced me and I embraced the city back. It feels like home and I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else."

Though the difference in money likely won't be as drastic, Harper will have to choose how much loyalty and the human connection he has with people in Washington matters in his free agency decision. Wall knows the feeling.

Hear Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast: