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Morning tip: Dudley's impact is just tip of the iceberg for Wizards

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Morning tip: Dudley's impact is just tip of the iceberg for Wizards

About a week ago, everyone outside of the Wizards' locker room wanted to blow up the pace-and-space offense, trade Marcin Gortat because of his struggles adapting and rebounding or claim doom and gloom because of Bradley Beal's absence.

Now two games later, after a blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks 115-86, how smart would that have been? The Wizards (5-4) appear to have gotten their swagger back by defeating a team that's expected to compete for a top four seed for the second time this season. And they're not even close to being whole with Drew Gooden (back spasms) ailing, Beal missing his third game in a row (left shoulder contusion) and Alan Anderson (left ankle surgery) yet to play this season. 

But one of the other key pieces, Jared Dudley, appears to finally be in full swing. He had his best game of the season with 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting, seven rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot off the bench in 23 minutes. 

"This whole summer, I had surgery, didn't get to work on my game," said Dudley, who had a bulging disk in his lower back repaired. "You come back you have to get back in shape. My weight is at where I want it to be. I wanted to work my way back instead of practicing, waiting until December. It's time. It's rhythm. Any time you see the ball go down you get a little confidence and your teammates look for you a little more."

Dudley played for the Bucks (5-6) last season. Because coach Jason Kidd started Giannis Antetokounmpo at power forward, Wizards coach Randy Wittman rode with Dudley over Kris Humphries who was coming off a career-high five three-pointers in the previous game.

After misfiring badly on his first attempt, Dudley had the hot hand. His basketball IQ is off the charts. How good can the Wizards be? They've already beaten an elite team in the San Antonio Spurs. The Orlando Magic aren't nearly that good, but they're more of a gatekeeper of the East. The Wizards have bested them twice like the Bucks who have given up an average of 116.5 points to Washington despite their length at every position. 

"It's not so much scoring," Wittman said of Dudley. "Spacing, smart, ball movement, being in the right spot, fighting his tail off at the defensive end. I like those things that he's done the last couple of games."

Dudley is a key part of any success they have going forward. He was part of a bench that contributed 46 points.

"My game it's not stunning when you look out there. It's not something that I'm going to wow you," Dudley said. "Anytime I hit some shots, it buys me more time to do all the little things. ...

"Guarding this team, I know all their plays. I played there. I know their strengths and weaknesses. It's a huge advantage for me."

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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