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Morning tip: How resilient are Wizards? They're about to find out


Morning tip: How resilient are Wizards? They're about to find out

Early in the season, John Wall and Bradley Beal were handling a disproportionate amount of the workload for the Wizards as they won three of their first four games. Now, they don't have to as coach Randy Wittman seems to be making the right adjustments with his bench.

But this week is the first serious test of the Wizards' resolve. They will have four games in five days, starting with vs. the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and at the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. They have Thanksgiving off and then another back-to-back set, on the road at the Boston Celtics on Friday and vs. the Toronto Raptors on Saturday at Verizon Center.

Not one of these games will be a walkover, especially the Celtics who already beat the Wizards (6-4) by 20 points in their first meeting. 

Wittman summed it up best after his team erased an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat the Detroit Pistons 97-95 over the weekend: "I thought our bench saved the day, twice for us. They were huge. Eighty-two game season that's what it takes. It's good to have strong bench play. Our bench isn't going to play good (every night) and our starters are going to save the day."

Wall and Beal combined to score 91 points in their first two wins. During this current three-game win streak, however, Wall has scored a total of 42 points. Beal, who was out with a left shoulder contusion until coming back against Detroit, only contributed seven.

While Otto Porter has increased his output during this streak (15 points, 47.2% shooting, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals) and Marcin Gortat is averaging near a double-double (13 points, nine rebounds), it's the bench production that's eye-catching:

  • Nene is averaging 11.7 points on 62.5% shooting (15 of 24), 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in just 19 minutes

  • Jared Dudley is averaging 9.0 points on 67% shooting (8 of 12), including 75% on three-pointers (6 of 8) and 4.3 rebounds

  • Garrett Temple is averaging 8.7 points and shooting 46% on three-pointers (6 of 13), 80% on free throws (8 of 10)

  • Ramon Sessions is averaging 8.7 points, 5.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and has been to the foul line 17 times

This offensive spike also is a product of their defense, which has allowed them to get into the open court and get quality shots using pace and space. Drew Gooden and Gary Neal, for the moment, have taken a step back in the rotation.

To make it through four games in five days, this is where the play of the bench escalates of importance. Ideally, the starters will hand them leads instead of deficits.

MORE WIZARDS: NBA finds officials erred on Porter's violation to end Wizards-Pistons

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

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:


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


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


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