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Morning tip: Jared Dudley is just a smaller version of Nene

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Morning tip: Jared Dudley is just a smaller version of Nene

That Nene could be out for tonight's game for the Wizards puts an even brighter spotlight on Jared Dudley with the second unit. He's everything that the 7-footer is in a lot of ways, especially between the ears, but brings a different dynamic.

Nene (sore left calf) used to be a power forward. Hes' now the backup center. Dudley used to be a small forward, but he's now a 6-7 power forward who stretches the floor to the three-point line. 

“You look at his stat line sometimes but his knowledge and basketball IQ and ball movement and positioning on the floor defensively have all been really, really good," said coach Randy Wittman of Dudley after Monday's practice. "That’s been a big plus in the development of our second unit. It doesn’t come in terms of points or rebounds or assists. He has probably more hockey assists than a lot of guys on our team."

Dudley was slow to get acclimated with his new team, after coming here in a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks over the summer. He had surgery on his lower back to repair a bulging disk in July. He wasn't able to even shoot the ball during recovery and was 242 pounds for training camp in October. He's down 10 pounds, and the Wizards (6-4) are up in production when Dudley is on the floor as they outscore teams by 17 points per 100 possessions.

That puts Dudley in elite company, but he figures he could drop a few more pounds if needed though he won't go too far. Every Monday, the Wizards check every player's body mass index.

"Maybe five pounds. I still have to guard power forwards. I can’t be out there 225," Dudley said. "When I was in Phoenix I think the lowest I was was 227. I’m 232 right now. For me it’s a good weight. I think the lowest would be 229. Over here we don’t really go by the weight. We go by the body fat."

The 27 minutes that Dudley played in Saturday's 97-95 win in Detroit tied a season high. He had nine points, one rebound and one steal. But that hardly reflects his impact.

“What I’ve learned over the last two, three years, I try to be the quarterback on defense even though I’m at power forward. I feel they can control the defense so much more than the point guard and wings because I can call the defensive coverages even though my man might not be in it," Dudley said. "It might be Nene, I can call (isolation). I can tell the rookie to stay high and me low.

"I can have more impact defensively where I can kind of control the pieces and how I want them. I started (that) in Milwaukee. It’s been huge for me.  I can see the game on the backside looking at the whole defense, seeing who we want to shoot the ball, who we don’t want to shoot the ball. ... You get to a point in your career, I don’t care about stats. It’s not to me averaging 10 or 12 points. I want to shoot a good percentage so I’ll turn down a good shot if it gets Gary Neal a great shot."

When the Wizards started to fray in the third quarter vs. the Pistons, Wittman went back to his bench early to help erase an 11-point deficit. That meant Nene, Dudley, Garret Temple, Ramon Sessions and Neal. 

“How many minutes have we ever played together? Preseason we weren’t out there. I was in and out of the lineup. First six, seven games I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. Now I think you have more of a chemistry, commitment," said Dudley. "Temp wasn’t even in the rotation that we got now. He’s a huge part of that. It’s a different dynamic. We’re better defensively. Coach Wittman changed the defensively philosophy and simplified it. I think everyone agreed with that. We’ve shown the commitment to that.

"Offensively, it starts with Nene. He’s the one guy that can get his own shot and then we move the ball. Me being the four, when I get the ball even when I’m open sometimes it’s getting the ball side to side and getting other guys involved."

With possibly no Nene, Dudley will have to do more vs. the Pacers. During this three-game winning streak, he's 8 of 12 shooting, including 6 of 8 on threes. For the season, he's shooting 49% from the field, and 43% from three.

"The thing for me is being healthy," Dudley said. "Once I’m healthy, I’ve shown throughout my career I can shoot the ball well. I can play at a high level."

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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:

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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