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Morning tip: Defensive inadequacies unravel Wizards on 0-2 road trip

Morning tip: Defensive inadequacies unravel Wizards on 0-2 road trip

When the Mavericks made 16 three-point shots last year, it was because Wes Matthews was hot.

The Wizards didn't have the personnel required to defend the arc consistently and the opponent was just a better team at that time. 

Fast forwards just more than a year. In their first meeting of this season, the 10-win Mavericks didn't need Matthews making 10 threes. He only made two. But the rest of his teammates converted 15 more in a 113-105 win Tuesday at American Airlines Center. For the first time in a long itme, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was beyond agitated by what he witnessed.

"We got outworked. I haven't said that a lot this year with our team," said Brooks. "They were moving the ball. We were hoping they would miss. Not doing a very good job of making them miss."

The Wizards (16-18) head back to Verizon Center on a two-game losing streak after a back-to-back set. They also had games on the table late that they could've/should've won at the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs but failed to execute to end regulation.

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This region of the West hasn't been kind to Washington, now 3-12 on the road. They've yet to beat a team from the West there.

When they're playing well, the Wizards can score with anyone because of John Wall and Bradley Beal. But if their bench isn't productive, they have to be more connected defensively to make up the difference. 

Dallas, which had 17 points from Devin Harris and 16 from Seth Curry off the bench, scored 43 points. It was similar to what Eric Gordon did en route to a season-high 31 points for the Houston Rockets in a 101-91 win vs. the Wizards on Monday.

Gordon made 6 of 12 threes in part because the Wizards lost containment. When Nene would swoop to the rim, they'd suck in to try to stop the 7-footer who has trouble finishing in traffic. That would open up Gordon at the arc for wide-open looks on the extra pass. 

The game in Dallas wasn't much different.

"We were defending with no purpose. We were giving open looks from the three-point line. They made 17? They could've made 30," Brooks said. "Unacceptable how we played."

Beal had 25 points and had plenty of clean looks from deep as the Mavericks' defense was nothing to brag about either. But he didn't make his, going just 3-for-11 though his last make cut the deficit to 110-105 with 2:12 left. "We just showed spurts of playing solid defense, palying well. We couldn't get stops. We just keep shooting oursevles in the foot by our defensive efforts."

The Mavericks are the NBA's worst-scoring team, 95.6. The Miami Heat were in a similar position earlier this season and scored 114. The Orlando Magic, too, and they dropped in 124. 

While the offensive explosiveness has been better than anyone could've expected, the defensive problems were unforseen. Brooks has emphasized that side of the ball since the first day of training camp, and with Markieff Morris instead of Jared Dudley as the starting power forward the Wizards have the capability of being better defensively. And better at rebounding. It hasn't happened. 

"We felt like we could just beat them. We had a great situation, a great opportunity to come in and take advantage of it and we didn't," said Beal, who led an inspired effort at the end of the first half as the Wizards wiped out a 58-47 deficit with a 22-5 run. "We just didn't get stops when we needed to."

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Troy Brown gets love from peers, including ROY votes, in NBA Rookie Survey

Troy Brown gets love from peers, including ROY votes, in NBA Rookie Survey

The annual NBA Rookie Survey is always a way for us to take an early peek into how rookies feel about their peers (competition?).

For Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr., he certainly has gotten the attention of the rest of his rookie class.

Brown ranked 6th for "Best Playmaker" in the class, and also received votes for Rookie of the Year and having best career potential.

Last year's class certainly lived up to the hype, with Ben Simmons winning Rookie of the Year. Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum definitely made strong cases for themselves as well though.

This time around, the class was dominated early by big men in the draft, but there's plenty of hype around the group as a whole again. Could it be the year we look back on as the class that brought the big man back to the NBA?

Possibly. 

NBA.com again talked down the rookie class at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot at the New York Knicks' practice facility. This year's group (36) answered seven questions about their class, as well as a few about the current player they most admire and what they're expecting as they make the jump to the NBA.

Here's how they ended up voting:

Who will be the 2018-19 Kia Rookie of the Year?

1. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix -- 18%
    Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 18%

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 9%
    Kevin Knox, New York -- 9%

5. Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 6%
    Devonte' Graham, Charlotte -- 6%
    Michael Porter Jr., Denver -- 6%
    Trae Young, Atlanta -- 6%

Others receiving votes: Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento; Troy Brown Jr., Washington; Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Harry Giles, Sacramento; Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio

LAST YEAR: Dennis Smith 26%

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago -- 13%

2. Kevin Knox, New York -- 10%
    Jerome Robinson, LA Clippers -- 10%

3. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix -- 7%
    Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 7%
    Mikal Bridges, Phoenix -- 7%
    Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 7%
    Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio -- 7%

Others receiving votes: Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento; Miles Bridges, Charlotte; Troy Brown Jr., Washington; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers; Devonte' Graham, Charlotte; Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Trae Young, Atlanta

LAST YEAR: Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum -- 18%

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?

1. Keita Bates-Diop (48), Minnesota -- 13%

2. Michael Porter Jr. (14), Denver -- 10%
    Lonnie Walker IV (18), San Antonio -- 10%

4. Jalen Brunson (33), Dallas -- 6%
    Gary Trent Jr. (37), Portland -- 6%

Others receiving votes: Grayson Allen (21), Utah; Mohamed Bamba (6), Orlando; Miles Bridges (12), Charlotte; Bruce Brown (42), Detroit; Jevon Carter (32), Memphis; Hamidou Diallo (45), Oklahoma City; Donte DiVincenzo (17), Milwaukee; Luka Doncic (3), Dallas; Jacob Evans (28), Golden State; Devonte' Graham (34), Charlotte; De'Anthony Melton (46), Houston; Svi Mykhailiuk (47), L.A. Lakers; Jerome Robinson (13), LA Clippers; Mitchell Robinson (36), New York; Mo Wagner (25), L.A. Lakers; Robert Williams III (27), Boston; Trae Young (5), Atlanta

LAST YEAR: Donovan Mitchell -- 19%

Which rookie is the most athletic?

1. Zhaire Smith, Philadelphia -- 24%

2. Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City -- 15%
    Josh Okogie, Minnesota -- 15%
    Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio -- 15%

5. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento -- 6%
    Miles Bridges, Charlotte -- 6%

Others receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix; Mikal Bridges, Phoenix; Bruce Brown, Detroit; Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Collin Sexton, Cleveland; Robert Williams III, Boston

LAST YEAR: Dennis Smith Jr. -- 44%

Which rookie is the best shooter?

1. Trae Young, Atlanta -- 47%

2. Kevin Huerter, Atlanta -- 13%
    Svi Mykhailiuk, L.A. Lakers -- 13%

4. Gary Trent Jr., Portland -- 9%

5. Grayson Allen, Utah -- 6%
    Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee -- 6%

Others receiving votes: Aaron Holiday, Indiana; Kevin Knox, New York

LAST YEAR: Luke Kennard -- 49%

Which rookie is the best defender?

1. Jevon Carter, Memphis -- 29%

2. Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 14%

3. Josh Okogie, Minnesota -- 11%

4. Mikal Bridges, Phoenix -- 9%

5. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis -- 6%
    Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 6%

Others receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix; Bruce Brown, Detroit; Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Melvin Frazier Jr., Orlando; Mitchell Robinson, New York; Omari Spellman, Atlanta; Gary Trent Jr., Portland; Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio

LAST YEAR: Josh Jackson -- 26%

Which rookie is the best playmaker?

1. Trae Young, Atlanta -- 35%

2. Jalen Brunson, Dallas -- 15%

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 9%
    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- 9%
    Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 9%

6. Troy Brown Jr., Washington -- 6%
    Aaron Holiday, Indiana -- 6%

Others receiving votes: Devonte' Graham, Charlotte; De'Anthony Melton, Houston; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Jerome Robinson, LA Clippers

LAST YEAR: Lonzo Ball -- 72%

What will be the biggest adjustment for you, playing in the NBA?

1. Speed or pace of the game -- 31%

2. Schedule/Length of season -- 24%

3. Physicality (size and strength of opponents) -- 19%

4. Travel -- 10%

5. Lifestyle/Time management -- 8%

Also receiving votes: Conditioning, Playing NBA defense, Not having the ball as much

LAST YEAR: Physicality (size and strength of opponents) -- 37%

What is the most important skill you need to develop?

1. Ball-handling -- 19%
    Shooting -- 19%

3. Defense -- 14%

4. Playmaking/Reading the defense -- 11%

5. Everything -- 8%

6. Motor/Work ethic -- 6%
    Strength -- 6%
    Time management -- 6%

Also receiving votes: Basketball IQ, Communication, Confidence, Leadership

Who is your favorite player in the league?

1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 29%

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 9%
    Kevin Durant, Golden State -- 9%

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 6%
    Chris Paul, Houston -- 6%
    Dwyane Wade -- 6%
    Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 6%

Others receiving votes: Kobe Bryant; DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Paul George, Oklahoma City; James Harden, Houston; Jrue & Justin Holiday, New Orleans/Chicago; Kyrie Irving, Boston; Jusuf Nurkic, Portland; John Wall, Washington; Nick Young,

LAST YEAR: LeBron James -- 31%

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Northwest Division...

Portland Trail Blazers, C+

2017-18 finish: 49-33, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Seth Curry, G Nik Stauskas, G Anfernee Simons, G Gary Trent, Jr.
Out: F Ed Davis, G Pat Connaughton, G Shabazz Napier

The Blazers are about as cash-strapped as anyone out there, so they had very little room to work with in free agency. They made some minor moves but nothing of real note. They had a solid draft, but picked Simons who is a long-term project. And they had to let some decent players go in free agency. The best thing that happened to the Blazers this summer was re-signing Jusuf Nurkic. Other than that, it was a pretty mediocre offseason for Portland.

Oklahoma City Thunder, A

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Dennis Schroeder, C Nerlens Noel, G Hamidou Diallo
Out: F Carmelo Anthony

GM Sam Presti deserves high praise for another strong offseason. Most of the acclaim comes from the Thunder re-signing Paul George despite the assumption of many he would leave in free agency. But OKC also snagged Noel on a cheap deal, adding more athleticism and depth behind center Steven Adams. And they got Schroeder back in the deal for Anthony when they could have shed his salary for nothing in return. They also added three second round picks, including Diallo who looked good in the Summer League. It's hard to imagine the Thunder doing better than they did, given the financial resources they were working with.

Utah Jazz, B

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 2nd round of playoffs
In: G Grayson Allen, F Tyler Cavanaugh
Out: F Jonas Jerebko

The Jazz get most of their points from re-signing players like Dante Exum, Raul Neto and Derrick Favors. Though the price tag for Favors is a little high, they did a nice job of bringing the band back together, knowing they have an opportunity to get better this season simply by having Rudy Gobert stay healthy. The Allen pick has potential to work out very well for them. He looked good in the Summer League and should complement Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio well at the guard position. All in all, there was nothing flashy for the Jazz but they made some solid, smart decisions.

Minnesota Timberwolves, C

2017-18 finish: 47-35, 1st round of playoffs
In: F Anthony Tolliver, G Josh Okogie, F Keita Bates-Diop
Out: F Nemanja Bjelica

The Wolves have enough salary committed to where they could only do so much this summer. Tolliver is a nice pickup and should add shooting to their frontcourt. Bates-Diop gives them nice value as a second round pick. It would have been nice to see the Wolves change something via trade, but they have reason to believe they can get better if Karl-Anthony Towns continues to ascend and Andrew Wiggins reclaims his form as a scorer.

Denver Nuggets, B+

2017-18 finish: 46-36, missed playoffs
In: G Isaiah Thomas, F Michael Porter, Jr. 
Out: F Wilson Chandler, G Devin Harris

The Nuggets had a solid offseason just as they get ready to make a big leap forward as a franchise. They re-signed Nikola Jokic to a long-term deal, added Thomas on a low-risk contract and took a chance on Porter in the draft. They lost Chandler in a salary dump, but have the tools to win 50-plus games next season. Thomas could be a big difference maker if healthy and Porter gives them another building block for the future. If he can get past his back injury, he will fit in nicely with their young core.

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