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Grading the Southeast division: point guards

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Grading the Southeast division: point guards

We've talked about all the various changes made by the Wizards this offseason - or really since they made the move for Nene last season.Now we look at how the local NBA team stacks up with its Southeast Division rivals, position by position, starting with the point guard (2011-12 stats listed)...Atlanta - Devin Harris...11.3 points and 5.0 assists in 63 games for Utah...What the Hawks lack in backcourt size they make up for in speed, thoughthe eight-year veteranis no longer the get to the rim dynamo he was back in the day. Atlanta could startHarris alongside incumbent point guard Jeff Teague, though one likely comes off the bench. Best bet now is that somebody won't be Harris.Charlotte - Ramon Sessions...11.3 points, 5.5 assists, 44.3 percent on 3's...Charlotte handed the penetrating Sessions a two-year, 10 million deal after the Lakers passed. Assuming the 26-year-old gets the starting nod over rising second-year guard Kemba Walker because the woeful Bobcats need an experienced hand at the wheel. That's not the same as saying Sessions is the long-term answer because he's not. For now he and the other newly added vets make the Bobcats less comical than last season's seven-win team.Miami - Mario Chalmers...9.8 points, 3.5 assists, 39 percent from beyond the arc...On another team, Chalmers might just bea nice rotational optionstill best known as being theguy who nailed the big 3-pointer in the NCAA title game for Kansas. On the Heat, he's the starting guard (LeBron James is the true floor general) for the NBA champs who isn't afraid to take big shots even with uber stars all around him. Averaged 12 points in conference finals against the Celtics and tallied 25 points in a Game 4 win over Oklahoma City inthe NBA Finals.Orlando - Jameer Nelson...11.9 points and 5.7 assists in 57 games last season...Always decent, but not much more than that - and now the former Saint Joe's star won't have those easy tosses inside to Dwight Howard with which to pad those assist totals. Will need to step up his scoring and, well, everything for this rebuildingMagic squad.Washington - John Wall...16.3 points, 8.0 assists, 1.4 assists...We know the deal: the Wizards swapped out knuckleheads for veteran levelheaded types, then drafted poised off-guard and perimeter shooting threat BradleyBeal. The moves are both about a playoff push and giving the 2010 No. 1 overall pick a greater opportunity to reach his massive potential. Wall cutting down on the turnovers and hitting anything from distance would help. Playing against Team USA this summer likely did.And the winner is...Based on potential and actual play, the Wizards win, the Wizards win. Even though this current NBA era is loaded with a dizzying array of point guards, outside of Wall the SE division is not where they live (though Teague is a riser and Walker remains an upside play). Harris and Nelson are solid options who have played for rings while Chalmers loves crunch time. From a take over the game standpoint, the Wizards have the best of the lot. If they are going to reach the postseason, this category needs to be even more decisive in the Wizards favor come the spring.Rank: 1) Wall 2) Chalmers 3) Harris 4) Nelson 5) Sessions

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?