Quick Links

Four questions: Should Wall and Beal sit out Game 2?


Four questions: Should Wall and Beal sit out Game 2?

Four big picture questions heading into Game 2 including health of John Wall and Bradley Beal, lineup changes, Otto Porter's role and remembering what Paul Pierce said about the Hawks at the same time he said "It" about the Raptors.

The Wizards won Game 1, meaning they'll return home with nothing less than a coveted split after two games. Therefore, should they consider sitting the banged up duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal?

The Los Angeles Clippers won the series opener at Houston on Monday without an injured Chris Paul. On "Inside the NBA," Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith both stated Paul should continue resting the hamstring he injured in Saturday's Game 7 win over San Antonio. "I don't play Chris. I don't play Chris at all," Barkley stated. "You got a free game coming up. ...Now you're looking at your next game is Friday. He'll be off almost a week."

Wall (swollen left hand) and Beal (sprained right ankle) were banged up Sunday. If they sit out Game 2, they would have five days off before Saturday's Game 3. The Wizards already snatched away home court advantage. Why not give one or both of you stars time to rest their various ailments?

Truth is no reasonable argument for sitting the starting guards will matter to those kids. The pattern has been set, particularly this season (think about those ankle injuries Wall dealt with in January/February). If trainers clear Wall and Beal to play, they will. Both are young and fearless and don't worry about tomorrow when there is a game today. The various adults within the organization appear to have the same stance.

Does Otto Porter receive the full breadth of this postseason opportunity if Garrett Temple was healthy from the start?

Temple is something of a security blanket for regular season Randy Wittman, especially when defense is required. Considering three-guard lineups were viable against the perimeter-oriented Raptors and how Porter's role had roller coaster-esque swings during the season, good chance the coach would finds ways to get Temple minutes. Maybe even the most minutes if Porter struggled early in games.

As for Playoff Randy, the one uses Marcin Gortat in the fourth quarter and Paul Pierce at stretch-4 and has the Wizards firing off one 3-pointer after another, who knows. Clearly there is no getting Porter out of the rotation now.

Marcin Gortat and Nene aren't playing heavy minutes together in crunch time, yet share the court in the starting lineup opening the first and second halves. Should Wittman strongly consider if not actually split up the big man pairing right from the jump?


The standard starting five has a negative plus minus (-8) rating through five games. The next two five-man units with the most minutes are +16 (includes Gortat) and +8 (includes Nene) while surrendering fewer points per possession. Both have either Paul Pierce or Gooden at power forward. Having a perimeter shooter at the four helps spread the court offensively for Wall, who has been a heat-seeking missile when it comes to finding open teammates with the pass.

Lastly, Toronto in Game 3 and Atlanta in Game 1 jumped out to sizable leads, putting Washington into catch-up mode from the  start. The Raptors were mentally fragile. The top-seeded Hawks are not. Why give them any kind of early confidence?

Now the caveat. This is an ego thing. If sitting one of them - meaning Nene - at the start of games causes any waves, forget it. Drew Gooden, who played 26 more minutes in January than anyone reading this, certainly is cool coming off the bench. Same with the low-key Porter. Besides, the Wizards are 5-0 in the postseason. Why mess with success.

Hawks big men Al Horford and Paul Millsap concur considering the way they controlled the game against Nene and Gortat. If Atlanta can actually make open shots in Game 2, look out.

Wait, didn't Paul Pierce have interesting comments before the playoffs about the Raptors and Hawks?

In fact, he did. Here's the section of Pierce's interview with ESPN beyond the now infamous "It" comment.

"We haven't done particularly well against Toronto, but I don't feel they have the 'It' that makes you worried,'' Pierce said. "There isn't a team I look at in the Eastern Conference that makes me say, 'They are intimidating, we don't have a chance.'

"As good as Atlanta is, they just don't give off that aura where we're afraid of them."

The Wizards certainly didn't play scared in Game 1 despite being on the road after a week off and trailing by double digits for long stretches. With The Truth in their side, no reason they should.

RELATED: [Wizards hopeful injuries will heal in time for Game 2]

Quick Links

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

USA Today Sports Images

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Bruno Fernando

School: Maryland
Position: Center
Age: 20 (turns 21 in August)
Height: 6-10
Weight: 237
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 33.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.9 bpg, 60.7 FG% (5.1/8.4), 30.0 3PT% (0.1/0.3), 77.9 FT%

Player comparison: Jusuf Nurkic, Bam Adebayo

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 24th, NBADraft.net 12th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 28th, Ringer 37th

5 things to know:

*Fernando tested the NBA draft waters last year before returning to school and clearly helped his stock by doing so. He went from a likely second round pick to someone who could fall in the lottery. Fernando is ranked in most mock drafts as the third-best big man in this draft behind Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes.

*He is one of the best rebounders in this class. He averaged 10.9 boards per game as a sophomore and had five games of 15 or more. That includes a 19-rebound performance against Nebraska on Feb. 6. Fernando is a strong, physical forward so there is reason to believe those skills will translate to the next level.

*Concerns about Fernando include his lack of an outside shot. He attempted only 13 threes in college and did most of his damage around the rim. But the potential for Fernando to become a reliable scorer in the NBA appear to be there. He has soft touch around the rim and can finish with power.

*Defensively, Fernando needs some work. He has the physical tools with his size and long arms, and he averaged 1.9 blocks per game in college, but some evaluatiors criticize his defensive instincts and discipline. As long as Fernando can block shots and rebound in the NBA, he should be fine on that end of the floor.

*Fernando is originally from the country of Angola and has played for their national team in several international tournaments. Angola basketball is famous for being the subject of one of Charles Barkley's most memorable quotes. During the 1992 Olympics, he said of USA's next opponent: "I don't know anything about Angola, but I know they're in trouble."

Fit with Wizards: Fernando would fit the Wizards in a variety of ways. Rim protection and rebounding are their biggest needs and he would help them to different degrees in both areas. With rebounding in particular, he could be a big plus.

But two questions about Fernando could give the Wizards pause. One is if they can justify taking him ninth when he may fall into the teens and second is what his ceiling will ultimately be. Does he have All-Star potential or will he top out as an Enes Kanter-type rebounding specialist?

Ideally, the Wizards would find someone with very high upside to give them hope for a true franchise building block moving forward. There may be better options than Fernando at No. 9, even if they play positions that are less of a need for the Wizards.

Best highlight video:


Quick Links

Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

USA Today Sports images

Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

With Dallas' Luka Doncic and Atlanta's Trae Young leading the way, the top five NBA draft picks from 2018 have been selected as the top five NBA rookies this season.

Doncic and Young were unanimous first-team selections for the NBA All-Rookie team, which was announced Tuesday. Phoenix's Deandre Ayton, Memphis' Jaren Jackson and Sacramento's Marvin Bagley III are also on the first team, which was chosen by 100 voters who cover the league.

Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young were the first five picks in the last year's draft.

This marks the first time since the 1984 draft that the first five picks ended up as first-team all-rookie -- the selections that year being Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley. That was the entirety of the rookie team that season; the NBA didn't start doing first- and second-team selections until 1988-89.

The Hawks had two all-rookie selections this season, with Kevin Huerter on the second team to join Young. Also on the second team were a pair of Los Angeles Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet, along with Cleveland's Collin Sexton and New York's Mitchell Robinson.

Rookie of the year will be announced at the NBA Awards show in Los Angeles on June 24. Doncic, Young and Ayton are the finalists.

Doncic and Young join other unanimous first-team all-rookie picks over the last decade: Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell (2018), Malcolm Brogdon and Dario Saric (2017), Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis (2016), Andrew Wiggins (2015), Michael Carter-Williams (2014), Damian Lillard (2013), Kyrie Irving (2012), Blake Griffin (2011) and Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry (2010).

Others receiving votes: Phoenix's Mikal Bridges, New York's Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier, Minnesota's Josh Okogie, Dallas' Jalen Brunson, Brooklyn's Rodions Kurucs, Chicago's Wendell Carter Jr., Charlotte's Mile Bridges, Detroit's Bruce Brown, Sacramento's Harry Giles III, Orlando's Mo Bamba and Indiana's Aaron Holiday.