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Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

The tip-in by Marcus Morris to beat the Wizards raises a lot of questions about how they closed a game that they once trailed by 16 points in the third quarter only to lead at the end.

The Detroit Pistons won 113-112 Saturday, but it was the last offensive possession that's worth being looked at again.

Coach Scott Brooks wasn't asked about it postgame, but given the shot John Wall took he should've been. 

Had the Wizards gotten two points, the only way Detroit beats them is with a three-pointer which is much easier to defend. Instead, any shot beats them. 

Unlike when Wall made the first game-winner of his career Jan. 10 vs. the Chicago Bulls, this wasn't the same situation. He took a jump shot in that game, and he was being contested by a 7-footer, but that was a much better look. 

Let's compare:

Andre Drummond is playing so far back and Reggie Jackson is aggressive in getting up on Wall to get around Markieff Morris' screen. Drummond's containment is there and Jackson is locked and trailing, but they completely ignore Morris. If Wall makes the pass, the Wizards have multiple options here. First, Morris has a wide-open three that could make it a two-possession game. He was 2-for-5 from deep in the game at that point. If Drummond steps up to close out Morris, he's easily beaten off the dribble and to the rim. If Wall drives all the way with Jackson trailing, the likelihood that he gets a whistle on any contact is rare in this situation. It's a low-percentage shot. The better option to get Wall 1 vs. 1 with Drummond or take Jackson out of the play is to pass back to Morris and reset. Wall can execute a dribble-handoff as Morris effectively acts as a screen. Wall would be going into the paint at full speed grabbing the ball. He'd be stepping into a jump shot or catching Drummond squaring up and unable to contest. If Drummond were to step up, that's Morris' cue to dive to the rim for the cleanup of a miss in a size mismatch with Jackson. More likely, Jackson sticks with Wall to double-team him and Morris could get a late delivery at the rim for an uncontested shot. Who knows how Detroit adjusts, if at all, but the result here is a stepback, low-percentage jumper that's a tough shot even for the likes of Kyrie Irving. It bails out the defense rather than re-applying the pressure. 

This was the winner Wall made, the first in his career, in a 101-99 win over the Bulls on Jan. 10. The backstory here was the Bulls continually switched on pick-and-rolls as long as Marcin Gortat set a solid screen on Michael Carter-Williams. That left Wall vs. Robin Lopez. But also look at the spacing of the floor here vs. the previous example. There are three defenders on the strong side vs. Detroit. In this one it's 2 vs. 2. There's a lot of room for Wall to operate, and even though he still takes a difficult shot he's going to his strongside when it comes to taking pull-up jump shots -- his right. Lopez has no help and is playing deep, Wall is able to get the needed separation and fade to drain it with five seconds left. 

Brooks always talks about not caring about who takes the final shot, be it Wall, Beal, Morris or Otto Porter -- all of whom have done so this season. It's about the best quality shot that goes to the taker's strength.

When the defender is 0-2 feet from Wall when he's taking a shot more than 10 feet away from the basket, his accuracy is 21.4 percent, according to the NBA's SVU data. In fact, when he's defended in this situation he only takes that shot 1.9 percent of the time, an indication that Wall knows this isn't his comfort zone.

[RELATED: Brooks confident in Beal despite shooting slump]

 

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What would the Rockets have to offer for the Wizards to consider trading Davis Bertans?

What would the Rockets have to offer for the Wizards to consider trading Davis Bertans?

The Rockets are in a difficult position with the NBA Trade Deadline less than two weeks away. 

They've fallen to the sixth seed in the Western Conference, James Harden is in the middle of a terrible shooting slump after carrying Houston's offense for the last three months and the Russell Westbrook experiment hasn't produced the results general manager Daryl Morey was hoping for. 

The West is a bloodbath this year, and outside of Harden and Westbrook, the Rockets don't have any reliable offensive weapons with Eric Gordon posting by far the worst shooting percentage of his career (36 percent). With two stars who don't fit well together and a collection of journeymen veterans filling out the roster, Houston is trying just about anything to upgrade their roster. 

According to Shams Charania, the Rockets are making future draft picks available in trade discussions ahead of the deadline. The Wizards have received a ton of interest regarding Davis Bertans and will have to decide whether to trade him before the deadline or risk losing him for nothing in free agency. Could the Rockets sway Washington towards trade?

Bertans' fit with the Rockets would be seamless. They've struggled with floor spacing while Harden has the ball because nobody respects Westbrook's jumper and Gordon continues to struggle. Bertans would alleviate everything for that offense and become one of Harden's favorite kick-out targets. Bertans currently leads the NBA in catch-and-shoot three-point makes per game (3.2), so just imagine the kind of damage he'd be able to do off of Harden's dribble penetration. 

So the Rockets have plenty of reasons to be interested. The next part would be getting the Wizards to part with the Latvian sharpshooter. According to Chris Mannix, any and all trade inquiries into Bertans have gone nowhere, so the Rockets would probably have to come with their best offer to convince Tommy Sheppard to change his mind. 

Here are a few packages that could work. The Rockets and Wizards need to match salary in any trade. A Bertans-for-picks scenario would not be legal under the current CPA. 

Rockets receive: Davis Bertans

Wizards receive: PJ Tucker, 2021 first-round pick

The Wizards are straddling two different timelines at the moment. They have a number of promising young players and might end up with a top-five pick in this year's draft, but they also have Bradley Beal under contract for at least another season and John Wall returning from Achilles surgery next season. 

This trade would give the rebuilding timeline a first rounder far enough in the future where the Rockets could be in the midst of a tear-down, while giving the win-now timeline an established veteran who can knock down threes and defend at least three positions.

If the Rockets think this is too much, they may want to consider the direction of their franchise past this season. It might be time to go all-in. 

Rockets receive: Davis Bertans

Wizards receive: Danuel House, Ben McLemore, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick

This one would be an alternative if Houston refused to give up Tucker.

If the Rockets acquired Bertans via trade, they'd own his bird rights. This would allow them to re-sign him in the summer without using cap space, which holds significant value to a team like Houston given the fact that Harden and Westbrook will make over $80 million combined for the next two seasons at least. 

It's not certain whether the Wizards would be interested in any of these potential offers or if they even plan to consider talking to teams about Bertans.

Maybe they feel confident in their ability to re-sign Bertans in the summer. There aren't many teams with cap space this year after last year's free-agent spending spree, and the ones that do aren't very good. More money and familiarity could be the way to ensure Bertans stays in DC to play with Wall and Beal. 

What we do know is that there's bound to be more speculation before February 6 and until the clock strikes 3 p.m. on that day, teams will continue to leak information to get the market moving. 

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Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

The Wizards may be 15-29, on pace for fewer wins than last year and sport the worst defense in the league by a wide margin, but Wizards fans can find solace in one simple fact. 

They aren't the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Heat one night before, the Wizards waltzed to their easiest win of the season. Bradley Beal was unguardable, Davis Bertans caught fire from three and Cleveland's top-five pick, Darius Garland had another rough shooting night. 

Suffice to say, Cavs fans weren't feeling great after the game last night. Here are some reactions we felt Wizards fans would want to see. 

Sad fans wanting to jump ship

"Absolutely disgraceful performance. In all my years as a fan of this team, I’ve never seen a group of players so lazy and pathetic. I’m taking my fan-hood to San Antonio where it looks like they know how to run a basketball team," said @FreakySportz

"Why do I continue to watch this team smh," wrote @cmcgoingal98

"PLAYERS DON'T CARE!! THIS GARBAGE IS UNREAL!!" @El_Matador92 screamed through his keyboard

"This is a wasted season... They need to trade [Kevin] Love now. He isn't a difference-maker," said @chanowski_j

What could have been with Bradley Beal

Beal had 36 points and eight assists on 15-22 shooting against the Cavs Thursday night. Nobody on Cleveland's roster could contain him, and after the game, it had Cavs fans wondering what could have been if Beal fell past the Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft.

"We missed him by one spot in the draft," wrote @Hockey_Wolf

 

"I love Bradley Beal's game," said @The Real_DiO

"Beal 15-22 from the floor. You have to go into the game knowing he's the primary scorer. How many wide-open looks did he get?" wrote @CLESportPrspctv

"Not much you can do when a team is that committed to getting their star open shots. And Beal is great when free to shoot or drive... Wizards just were committed and determined to get him free," said @KirkLOB

Love brings Beal back to life

The best moment of the night came after Beal took a charge in the second half and laid flat on his back once he got hit. Then Love came over and did his best to revive the star shooting guard. 

Naturally, the jokes were flying at the Cavs' expense. 

"Love is so ready to be traded lol," wrote @ife_any

"Someone needs to revive Kevin Love's career," said @JRaviloi

"Should've left him for dead. Did you see what he did to us last night?" wrote @Belasic_Mark

"Highlight of the night," said @MomOnWarpath

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