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John Wall's energy contagious in Wizards' win over Clippers

John Wall's energy contagious in Wizards' win over Clippers

In the closing seconds of the Wizards' 117-110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon, John Wall could not contain his excitement. While dribbling the ball down the sideline and across halfcourt, he leapt up and down in the air pumping his fist.

As soon as the clock ran out, he turned to the crowd in front of him, shouted and raised his hand in the air to encourage their applause. Wall and his team had just finished off their most impressive win of the season so far, a thorough performance against one of the NBA's best teams, and Wall was ready to celebrate.

That was just one of many moments shared between Wall and the 17,380 fans at the Verizon Center on Sunday. The Wizards' star point guard wears his emotions on his sleeve. That style can sometimes get him in trouble, like on Sunday when he earned his seventh technical of the season. But when used positively, Wall's energy can make even the most mundane of NBA regular season matchups a whole lot of fun.

"He's the most passionate and energetic player I know. He has the heart of a champion," guard Bradley Beal said of Wall.

"John is an emotional player," head coach Scott Brooks said. "That's how he plays. He gets the crowd involved. He plays with a lot of passion and I will never take that away from him. I like guys that play with passion. I don't like guys that don't compete and that's not John."

As the Wizards have played better in recent weeks - they have won five of their last six games overall and five straight at home - the crowds have followed. After the Wizards' win over the Bucks on Dec. 10, players remarked how it was the best crowd of the season. That group seemed to be outdone on Sunday.

"As long as our crowd continues to be as loud as they were [today], that would be great for us," Beal said. "We feed off their energy. I think sometimes they don't realize how important they are to us because their energy is like a sixth man. That's another challenge and a distraction to the other team. We definitely feed off that and John definitely feeds off of it."

"We feed off of it a lot. The crowd was in the game today and we needed that to win. We need them every game," forward Markieff Morris said.

"I thought our crowd was great. They were into the game. It helps when you have that support," Brooks said.

Wall certainly helped that cause both with his play - he had 18 points and 11 assists - and his efforts to egg them on. But, when discussing his emotion on the court, the technical does happen to stand out.

Wall received the penalty with 1:18 left in the third quarter after he made an up-and-under layup on a fastbreak. Blake Griffin went for the block, but instead hit him in the head and Wall wasn't happy about it.

"The play I got a technical on, I shot a reverse layup and got hit in the head," Wall said. "It's the same type of play that happened in our game against Memphis, when they looked at it and called it a Flagrant 1. I feel like we should get the same calls. I felt like that was a call that they should have looked at and called it a Flagrant 1."

Wall, of course, didn't get the foul he wanted. Instead, he has his seventh technical which trails only DeMarcus Cousins for the most in the NBA this season. One more and he's halfway to 16, the threshold for a one-game suspension in the NBA. The Wizards just played their 26th game, so there is plenty of time left for him to accrue more.

"I'm not concerned," Wall said. "It was just the emotion of the game... It's tough… you try to do the things that bring energy to your team. When things are not going your way, you try to find other ways to impact the game."

"John is an emotional player, as you saw with the technical. We will once again talk about that," Brooks said. "We have to keep our emotions in check. There's times when you lose control, I get that. And he's actually been better the last couple of weeks of keeping those emotions to himself and not the referees."


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Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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