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Key adjustment for Wizards: Backcourt backups for John Wall, Bradley Beal

Key adjustment for Wizards: Backcourt backups for John Wall, Bradley Beal

In three of the last four years, the Wizards have exited the playoffs in the conference semifinals. What have they lacked to get over the hump to make the conference finals?

In 2014, it was another creator off the dribble. All they had was Bradley Beal, who was in his second season and not nearly as diverse as he is now, and a limited catch-and-shoot three-point specialist in Trevor Ariza. The Indiana Pacers realized this and exploited the weakness, clogged the paint to keep out John Wall and their series was over in six games.

The following season it was Paul Pierce in place of Ariza and at a more salary-cap friendly pricetag. He had the three-point range but also the mid-range game that Ariza lacked to pull up. That six-game series loss to the Atlanta Hawks could be directly attributed, however, to Wall's broken left hand and wrist that cost him three games. 

This past May, in a seven-game series loss to the Boston Celtics, the Wizards faced a team that had multiple strong defenders in Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder. To have the best chance, Wall and Beal couldn't have any let up and had to be on every game.

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Short of having a Big 3, and with their salary cap constraints, they'll have to compensate by strengthening other spots on the roster:

Corrective action: Backcourt backups.

The fallout: Wall and Beal had their best seasons as professionals, though both were on fumes the last time out. Wall shot 8-for-23 in a Game 7 loss to Boston after playing 44 of 48 minutes. In the previous game, he logged 42.  Beal played 43 and 46 minutes in the last two games.

The departed: Trey Burke; Brandon Jennings

The fixes: Tim Frazier and TBA.

The first move president Ernie Grunfeld made with the roster after a 49-win season was trade their No. 52 pick in last week’s draft for a proven backup to Wall.

This is where Frazier enters. Because of salary-cap constraints, there’s was only so much that could be done. His contract is just $2 million and he should be a much more reliable backup than Burke or Jennings.

Even in the first regular-season game, the Wizards complained that they couldn’t hear or understand Burke’s play calls. It either was because his voice wasn’t loud enough at Phillips Arena vs. the Atlanta Hawks or he was unsure of himself.

When you’re a point guard and the coach determines you’re better off not running the offense, that’s problematic. Jennings played with more pace and confidence but the shooting was absent. He also couldn’t defend the position.  

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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

Bovada's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds were released, and there's a few head-scratchers on the list. 

First, let's keep in mind that these odds are to get you to place a bet more than anything. They want you to see something, and tempt you to throw your money at it.

That being said, John Wall comes in tied for 14th, while Bradley Beal doesn't show up on the list.

Now, let's look at who else was on the list over Beal.

Lonzo Ball has 100/1 odds to win MVP, DeMarcus Cousins who is still recovering from a torn Achilles, and  Kristaps Porzingis, recovering from a torn ACL also appear over Beal.

Just thinking out loud here, but that seems like maybe a bit of a stretch right?

Porzingis may not play at all for the Knicks this coming season, and Cousins is expected to miss months before making his debut in Golden State. 

Cousins also plays on a team with Steph Curry (15/1) and Kevin Durant (9/1). 

Also missing from the odds was Klay Thompson. So, yeah. 

New Raptor Kawhi Leonard also comes in at 11/1. 

2018-2019 - NBA MVP - Odds to Win

LeBron James                        10/3
Anthony Davis                         4/1
Giannis Antetokounmpo        9/2
James Harden                         11/2
Kevin Durant                            9/1
Kawhi Leonard                        11/1
Russell Westbrook                  14/1
Stephen Curry                         15/1
Joel Embiid                              16/1
Kyrie Irving                               16/1
Ben Simmons                           35/1
Damian Lillard                          45/1
Karl-Anthony Towns                50/1
DeMar DeRozan                       80/1
John Wall                                  80/1
Donovan Mitchell                     85/1
Jimmy Butler                            100/1
Nikola Jokic                              100/1
Victor Oladipo                          100/1
Chris Paul                                 100/1
LaMarcus Aldridge                   125/1
Paul George                              125/1
DeMarcus Cousins                   150/1
Gordon Hayward                      150/1
Jayson Tatum                           175/1
Blake Griffin                              225/1
Devin Booker                            275/1
Kristaps Porzingis                    275/1
Kyle Lowry                                325/1
Lonzo Ball                                 450/1

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