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Morning tip: Otto Porter's strongest competition for Most Improved Player in NBA

Morning tip: Otto Porter's strongest competition for Most Improved Player in NBA

A career season is being posted by Otto Porter, and it couldn't come at a better time with him in a contract year going into this summer. He'll be on the short list of players vying for the Most Improved Player award when the 2016-17 regular season ends. 

"Anytime he shoots and misses, we're surprised," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said, after Porter led them with 21 points by shooting 5 of 7 from three-point range in a 112-86 win over the Atlatnat Hawks on Friday.

Porter already has eight double-doubles -- three more than his total in three previous seasons since he was the No. 3 overall pick in 2013. 

Porter is shooting 45.6% from three which leads the NBA, and contibuting 14.4 pointrs on 53.5% shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals. All are career-highs. But he's not necessarily the leader of the pack. 

Clint Capela (Rockets): The center took over for Dwight Howard and has been a difficult matchup for some. His stats are modoest, 11.7 points on 62.4% shooting, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, He's doing it all in just 23.1 minutes per game.

Harrison Barnes (Mavs): In starring role in his first season in Dallas, the forward has gone from 11.7 points per game with Golden State to 20.4. The counter-argument for Barnes is his team's record.

Ruby Gobert (Jazz): The big man was an All-Star consideration with 12.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, and defensively he has been key to their resurgence as a likely playoff team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The first-time All-Star has gone from 16.9 points to 23.4 His. 8.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game also are career-highs. 

Porter's toughest competition will be Antetokounmpo and Gobert. If the Wizards hold to form as a winning team, that could prove the difference with Barnes. But Antetokounmpo probably is the one to beat because he's more popular (and on all the highlight reels). Last year, C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers won the recognition as the Most Improved Player.

 

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Wizards add veteran Lavoy Allen to group of training camp invites

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards add veteran Lavoy Allen to group of training camp invites

The Wizards will have six-year NBA veteran Lavoy Allen in to compete for a roster spot in their 2018-19 training camp, his agency announced on Wednesday. NBC Sports Washington has confirmed the deal.

Allen, 29, joins three other players who received training camp invites. They include Tiwian Kendley, Chris Chiozza and Chasson Randle.

Randle’s rights were sent to the Capital City Go-Go in a July trade. Chiozza and Kendley caught on with the Wizards first during the Las Vegas Summer League before getting spots in training camp.

Allen’s rights were acquired by the Go-Go in the G-League expansion draft last month. A 6-foot-9 forward, Allen has played for the Sixers and Pacers at the NBA level. He holds career averages of 4.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 388 total games.

Allen will push for a final roster spot, though the Wizards have more depth than they did at this time last year. Barring something unforeseen, they have 14 guys under contract in addition to their two two-way players, Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae.

Though the Wizards can keep a 15th player, they don’t have to by league rules. Last year, they opted to leave roster spots open for most of the season.

Regardless of whether he makes the NBA roster, Allen could be a solid option for the Go-Go as they begin their inaugural season.

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Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota but the Wizards are not on his shortlist

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USA Today Sports

Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota but the Wizards are not on his shortlist

Just days before NBA training camps are set to begin, All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler is trying to force his way out of Minnesota.

The four-time All-Star has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, according to ESPN, has given them a list of three preferred teams: the Knicks, Nets and Clippers.

That list is extra-pertinent because Butler has a player option after this upcoming season, and he is reportedly willing to sign a contract extension with any of those three.

That does not mean the Wolves will honor his request, but any team other than those three that trades for him will be at risk of losing him after one year. That risk worked out well for the Thunder this past year in their trade for Paul George, but every situation is different.

Butler’s list tells us a few things about his priorities. For one, he wants to play in a major market. New York and L.A. are the top two markets in the NBA. To that point, it’s interesting he has omitted the Lakers.

For those wondering if the Wizards would be a fit, those factors would seemingly work against them retaining him beyond one season. Though D.C. is a big market, it’s not L.A. or New York. And Butler would not be the clear star in Washington with two All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal already in place.

That is all beyond what the Wizards would have to give up for Butler. Though he’s not quite Kawhi Leonard, the return probably wouldn’t be far off. The Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan, a perennial All-NBA selection, among other pieces. The Thunder had to part with Victor Oladipo in their package for George and that has since proven to be a steep price.

Maybe the Wizards could offer Otto Porter, Jr. and/or some combination of draft picks and young, emerging players. But it would be a hefty price given the risk of him potentially leaving, and though Butler is very good, he’s not as young or as good as Leonard, for comparison.

To give up the farm in a trade, that player better make his new team significantly better. It’s questionable if Butler could do that for the Wizards.

The Wizards have done their due diligence in checking in on George, Leonard and others who have become available in recent years. It would not be surprising if they make a call for Butler, but as of now not enough adds up to make it a perfect match.

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