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With Las Vegas summer league over, where key players stand with Wizards

With Las Vegas summer league over, where key players stand with Wizards

This isn’t the ending that Kelly Oubre was hoping for as he set his sights on winning the Las Vegas summer league tournament. It ended in the quarterfinals with an 88-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls and a 3-2 record for the Wizards, who performed much better than they had in his rookie season.

Summer league, however, isn’t about wins or statistics. The Sacramento Kings won it all here a few years ago. Exactly what did that translate into when the games actually counted? Nothing. So it’s important to not get caught up in that minutiae.

Most of the players who competed in Las Vegas won’t be on NBA rosters for the 2016-17 season. Most will land in the D-League or overseas. A lot of those who do make it, not counting the high first-round picks who'll get their chances quicker because of their draft status if nothing else, will be buried at the end of benches hoping for a chance to prove themselves.

RELATED: THE WIZARDS' STRANGEST OFFSEASON MOVE

The Wizards have 2-3 roster spots in play going into training camp which will begin in late September. From now until then, there will be a lot of down time – and likely another move by the front office – to get everything in order.

Kelly Oubre: The ending wasn’t as good as the first four games, but Oubre played hard throughout. Even when his shot wasn’t falling he did all of the other small things to keep the Wizards alive. There were times in the early going when Oubre was off the floor that there was no offensive flow. But he was the linchpin on both ends of the court. Oubre got away from attacking the rim vs the Bulls and settled for a lot of long jumpers but overall he's likely solidified himself as a rotation player under new coach Scott Brooks. 

Aaron White: The forward was hit or miss, especially on the offensive end, and wasn’t always able to hit the three-point shot – his primary objective as stretch four. It’s not clear if he’ll even attend camp at this point, but he appears to be a long shot to beat out the competition. If he's on the floor with better players, he's expected to play better as he's a classic role player.

Jarell Eddie: Though he agreed to push the guarantee date on his contract to the start of the regular season, the 6-7 shooter is a lock to make the roster. He did this as a favor to the organization to give them more salary cap flexibility to make other moves but he’ll get his $980,000. Guaranteed.

Micheal Eric: After starting the first three games, he took a lesser role to give Kaleb Tarczewski more burn. Eric was the Wizards’ best big on both ends as he was a rim protector and good finisher. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective. The Wizards have offered him an invite for training camp but he hasn’t accepted. He’s mulling his options.

Nate Wolters: He missed the first game because he wasn’t with the Wizards in mini-camp and another game because of a sore ankle. Wolters started the last two games and showed extremely well. He created for others by keeping his dribble alive, getting to the rim and even finishing through contact. The Wizards, however, have three point guards under contract entering camp and it’s “unlikely,” CSNmidatlantic.com was told Saturday, that he’d attend camp. It would make better sense for Wolters to go where he can find a roster spot.

Danuel House: The 6-7 guard/forward played his way into a training camp invite and earned a small guarantee in the process. Even when House’s three-point shot isn’t falling, he can put the ball on the floor, drive to the basket and finish. He gets to the foul line. He runs the break. His passing needs improvement but he has an NBA body and the skill set that suggests he’s ready. Very good chance he makes the cut.

Daniel Ochefu: The undrafted center received $75,000 to attend training camp but there’s no guarantee he has a roster spot. Though he’s younger than Eric and in theory has a higher ceiling, he’s not better than him now. Ochefu is raw and limited offensively though defense is the strength of his game. Given where the Wizards stand with bigs under contract, it’s difficult to see how he makes the regular season roster. He played sparingly compared to his counterparts.

Sheldon McClellan: Despite his guaranteed money to attend training camp, exactly where he stands isn’t clear. The Wizards are high on him even though he had marginal impact during summer league. He played well with House on the second unit. McClellan’s shooting touch is still a question but he has the tools to make him a possibility though House appears to have nudged ahead of him.

Shawn Dawson: The 6-6 guard played 10-15 minutes off the bench, and briefly showed promise. Dawson has been offered a spot in training camp but hasn’t accepted it yet. He’s determined to make the cut even if it means sitting on the bench. He makes his living driving to the basket. His jump shot and the range on it never was on display. The assumption is he’s not there yet and he needs more seasoning.

MORE WIZARDS: BULLS BOUNCE WIZARDS FROM SUMMER LEAGUE

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Wizards may have found Thomas Bryant 2.0 in Moe Wagner, another steal from the Lakers

Wizards may have found Thomas Bryant 2.0 in Moe Wagner, another steal from the Lakers

Moe Wagner has openly expressed his desire to follow the trajectory of Thomas Bryant, whom he has reunited with as a teammate now in Washington after they previously overlapped in Los Angeles.

He is a big man who can stretch the floor and plays with loads of energy. And he was a Lakers castoff now hoping to find his NBA niche in a Wizards uniform.

Through 10 games in Washington, Wagner is ahead of schedule. What he did on Friday night in Minnesota was something Bryant didn't do until months into last season, and technically it was much rarer than that.

Wagner became the first player to put up 30 points and 15 rebounds off the bench since Yao Ming in 2002 and the first in Wizards/Bullets franchise history since Cliff Robinson in 1985. No NBA player had ever dropped 30 points with 15 boards and hit four threes off the bench before in NBA history.

Wagner did this, mind you, against Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the best centers in the league. And Wagner did it all in only 25 minutes as he battled through foul trouble to make 13-of-15 shots overall and shoot a perfect 4-for-4 from three. 

He had his moments on the defensive end as well. While Towns lit up the Wizards for 25 points in the first half and for 36 in the game, 19 of those came in the second quarter when Wagner had to take a seat because of his fouls. 

Wagner's defensive style isn't pretty. Without the length or instincts to block shots, he has to scrap his way to getting stops. He uses his fouls and has a knack for drawing them.

Wagner took three charges in Friday's game and now has 10 on the season, which leads the NBA. Last year, Bradley Beal and Jeff Green led the Wizards with 12 for the entire year.

Charges generally aren't utilized in the NBA because they are very difficult to achieve. Last season, the Dallas Mavericks led the entire league with 0.84 per game. Though Wagner is averaging one per game himself this year, that pace will be difficult to sustain. Last season, Ersan Ilyasove led the league with 0.73 charges drawn per game and DeMarcus Cousins was No. 1 with 0.5 per game the year before. 

But there are players for whom charges are a defensive weapon. Ilyasova and Cousins are always near the top of the league in the category and so is Blake Griffin. Shane Battier might be the most famous charge-taker of all-time. Maybe Wagner can be next.

Taking charges, though, are just one of the ways Wagner is using his energy and effort to affect games for the Wizards. After Wednesday's win over the Timberwolves, he is second on the Wizards in deflections, second in contested shots and second in screen assists; all hustle stats. And his net rating is best on the team and fourth-highest in the NBA. 

Wagner is so far proving to be a diamond in the rough, just like Bryant was last year. Keep in mind the Wizards got him in a salary-dump trade from the Lakers that also gave them Isaac Bonga and a second-round pick. All the Wizards gave up was cash considerations, which they used to be famous for coveting.

All of this makes it fair to wonder if the Wizards can do it again. They got Bryant from the Lakers and then Wagner.

So, who is the back-up center currently on L.A. they can poach next summer?

Well, technically that would be either Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee, so maybe not. But the Wizards already fooled the Lakers once and it looks like they did it again.

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Bradley Beal passes Gilbert Arenas and John Wall for most 40-point, 10-assist games in team history

Bradley Beal passes Gilbert Arenas and John Wall for most 40-point, 10-assist games in team history

Bradley Beal led the Wizards to their third win of the season Friday night with a brilliant 44-point, 10-assist performance against the Timberwolves. 

It was the third time in his career scoring 40 points and dishing out 10 assists, which is now a Wizards franchise record. Beal passed Gilbert Arenas (2) and John Wall (2) to become the outright leader in this high-profile category.

The other two instances where Beal went 40-and-10 were last season against Toronto (43 points, 15 assists) and in 2018 at the Suns (40 points, 15 assists). 

This wasn't the only impressive statistical feat Beal accomplished on Friday. He recorded his third 40-point game of the season while shooting over 60 percent, something only four other players have done so far in 2019-20.

Beal is now averaging 29.7 points, 6.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds on the year. He's clearly on his way to another All-Star game selection, and if he keeps up this level of production he'll earn himself his first All-NBA selection and perhaps a place in the MVP discussion. 

Even though the Wizards are in the midst of a rebuild and have had their fair share of frustrating moments, but at this point, Beal is must-see television. 

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