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Grading the Southeast division: power forwards

Grading the Southeast division: power forwards

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. We started with the floor generals, shooting guards, centersand small forwards.(2011-12 stats listed)...

Atlanta Al Horford...12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 13 games last season...Missed the bulk of last season after averaging 15.3-9.4 during 2010-11. More than just a stats guy, Horford's steady interior presence on a typical herky-jerky Hawks team helps keep them on course. Interesting to see if Tito's kid flashes more offense with Joe Johnson out the equation.Charlotte Bismack Biyombo...5.2 points,5.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks...Could argue for Tyrus Thomas or Byron Mullens in this spot, but let's not and instead give some dap to the rising second-year wide-body who turned ina surprisingly decent rookie campaign. Raw as they come offensively, but with the veteran additions in the backcourt plus center Brendan Haywood, Biyombo can stay focused on becoming a rebounding and defensive force. Now doubt theBobcats will take that.Miami Chris Bosh...18.0 points, 7.9 rebounds,82.1 free throw percentage...Because of all the attention focused on his more heralded teammates, Bosh is almost, almost underrated at this point especially considering Miami's hole at center.

Orlando Glen Davis...9.3 points,5.4 rebounds in 61 gamesWow did the Celtics get the better end of the Brandon Bass for Big Baby swap. Maybe it's just the optics considering one guy is cut while theother one maintains a doughy physique and Davis added to the out-of-shape perspective by showing after the lockout out of shape. Even with teams focusing on Dwight Howard, Davis' posted a career-low42 percent from the field. Orlando's new coach Jacque Vaughn has put it out there he wants the former LSU star ready from day one. If Davis does need that advice, Al Harrington is on deck.Washington Nene...13.7 points,7.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks...We all know how the Brazilian big man's presence turned around the Wizards last season seemingly overnight. Now we'll see how much of said turnaround was about those who left compared to what Nene and his polished game added to the equation. Thought effective offensively on the low box or the high post,the soon-to-be 30-year-old'sgame is best served being around the basket. That's why the biggest question, outside of injury concerns over Nene's feet, is how Randy Wittman schemes his interior options both on the court and rotationally. And the winner is...Probably the closest race among the top three at any position within the division, but Bosh's superior offensive game and All-Star flair trumps his closest rivals. At least with Nene, the Wizards have a legitimate option who can go head-to-head with elite post options on both ends of the court. Not sure when the last time anyone could make that claim about a Washington big man. We know it wasn't last year.Rank: 1)Bosh 2)Horford 3)Nene 4)Biyombo 5) Davis

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Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Just a few weeks ago, the Masai Ujiri-to-D.C. movement was gaining steam quickly. Just moments after Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors began celebrating their NBA Championship, reports began to swirl that the Wizards were prepared to aggressively pursue the GM.

Sources told NBC Sports Washington that there could be the possibility of a sort of mega-deal that went beyond just giving him control of the Wizards. But Wizards owner Ted  Leonsis denied earlier this month that the team had reached out, saying that "we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process."

And on Tuesday, Uriji seemed to make it official that he will stay in Toronto.

"I love it here, my family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadians. You want to win more, for me," Ujiri said on Tuesday during his end-of-season press conference.

"Yeah, I can continue to address teams wanting me and all those things. That's a blessing in life," Ujiri said. "For me the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy, and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person."

"I identify with this place and I love it. So in my mind, I'm here."

On paper, Ujiri and the Wizards looked to be a good match. Washington could offer him money and control, while also allowing him to work with his "Basketball without Borders" program in D.C.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained recently, the Raptors late-season championship run could have messed up the timing and situation that could have lured Ujiri to a new team.

The Wizards made it through the NBA Draft without a new GM, but as July and free agency approach, the search may continue to ramp up.

The answer is still out there, it just may not be Masai Ujiri anymore.


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Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

The Wizards added two pieces during the 2019 NBA Draft that franchise expects to be vital pieces of their future in Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura at No. 9 and Tennessee's Admiral Schofield at No. 42

Before Monday night's 2018-19 NBA Awards ceremony, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller caught up with the two faces of the franchise, Bradley Beal and John Wall, to see what they thought of the new additions to the squad.

Beal had high praise for Hachimura.

"I didn't know much," Beal said on what he knew about the Gonzaga product prior to the draft. "But from what I've seen watching the draft and things I've seen pre-draft and things like that, he's a monster."

The praise did not stop there. 

"He plays hard, extremely hard," Beal said. "Hopefully, he can have an impact right away." 

While an immediate impact would be beneficial for a Wizards team that could use Hachimura's scoring (he averaged 19.7 points per game at Gonzaga), Beal understands that Hachimura is still a very raw player. After all, he's only been playing basketball for eight years.

"But at the same time, we want him to grow," Beal said on Hachimura. "We know he hasn't been playing too long. But that's something we can build off of and mold him into the player we need him to be. He has tremendous upside, and I'm excited to get going. Hopefully, come September, October he's ready to go."

While Beal may not have known too much about Hachimura, he had followed the other Wizards draft pick, Admiral Schofield, for quite some time. 

"I love his game; I loved him in college," Beal said on Schofield. 

Beal joked about Schofield's body type, wondering whether basketball is the sport the Wizards second-round pick should be playing.

"He's got a football body. He's built like a tight end, wide receiver," Beal said. "I'm definitely happy that we have him, a fellow SEC guy. Him and [Jordan] McRae are going to hit it off. He can shoot, he's athletic, so I'm definitely excited to have him as well."

While Wall did not go into as much detail as Beal about the Wizards draft class, he was just as excited about the two new additions.

"I think it's good," Wall said. "We added some pieces [in the draft], [we'll] see what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

According to head coach Scott Brooks, both Beal and Wall can identify talent very well

"The thing I love about John and Brad: they love the game," Brooks said last week. "You can call them up, there could be high school players, WNBA players, it could be college players, it could be European players, they know them."

"It's like, 'don't you guys have a life?'" Brooks joked.

Wall spent most of his time with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller discussing his Achilles rehab, where he revealed he is going to begin jogging soon. That's a good sign for the Wizards, even though Wall s expected to miss the majority of the 2019-2020 season.

In Hachimura and Schofield, the Wizards got two pieces that are not expected to contribute right away, but also potentially have the ability to do so. Earning high praise from the two most important players on the Wizards' roster is a good start for both of the Wizards 2019 NBA Draft selections.