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Morning tip: John Wall's turnover problem explained

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Morning tip: John Wall's turnover problem explained

The NBA leader in touches per game is Wizards point guard John Wall, and that's for good reason. They can't win without him, especially with Bradley Beal out injured, and he has to do even more than usual. That means more scoring, assisting, ball-handling and turnovers.

Wall has posted three consecutive games of seven turnovers, but they were able to overcome them in Saturday's 105-99 win at the Orlando Magic when he also had 24 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals. 

Wall averages 98.4 touches per game, according to the NBA's player tracking data from SVU, far more than Chris Paul (85.6), Stephen Curry (84.8) and even the ball-dominant James Harden (83.1). But how long does Wall possess the ball per touch? It's 4.19 seconds, which is 46th longest. That means Wall, who is second in the league with 9.6 assists, moves it. A lot.

After a deflating, 97-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, coach Randy Wittman wasn't about to put the blame at the feet of his point guard who was named December player of the month in the East by the league. Garrett Temple has had a career season already with four games of 20 points or more in place of Beal. Jared Dudley is shooting 45.1% from three-point range, the best of his career since 2009-10 with the Phoenix Suns when he shot 45.8% with Steve Nash.

Wittman saw the issue in that game as bigger than Wall who didn't have anyone running the floor with him consistently. 

"We weren’t really committed to running," Wittman said. "It’s hard to run for 48 minutes. If you’re not committed your going to take jogs down the court rather than sprints to the corner like you’re supposed to to spread to floor to create driving angles. There’s a lot of times I thought we changed our style of play to walk the ball up rather than run."

Even when Beal was playing he had miscommunication with Wall over running to the right spots on the floor. At times, the ball would be delivered anticipating a teammate would run into a certain spot in the way a quarterback throws a receiver open in football. Other times, like Wall did in the fourth quarter in Orlando, he'll try a risky, behind-the-back pass in traffic to Marcin Gortat that would arrive at the big man's ankles.

"Some of them will be right there, backdoor, it hits their hands, they go out of bounds," Wall said. "I think I'm making the right reads. Sometimes we drop them. A couple of them are my fault. Give credit to the defense, I try to make a skip pass (to the weak side), they got their hands up. ... I try to make the right play if it's there and I feel like we can score off it. Sometimes we lose the ball. Sometimes it's a bad pass by me.

"If it's turnovers like that I can deal with it. It's the ones when I'm just trying to do too much and put myself in bad situations are the more frustrating ones." 

Wall has fewer weapons to work with than Harden, who is No. 1 in the league with 4.6 turnovers per game, and Russell Westbrook is third at 4.3. Wall is No. 2 at 4.5.

The rest of the top five are Rajon Rondo and Paul George (3.9), players who are offensive initiators for their teams. So while Wall's turnovers can be alarming at times, he's at least in elite company.

 

MORE WIZARDS: Bradley Beal is close to returning to Wizards

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

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