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Morning tip: Too many holes still exist in Wizards' 3-point defense

Morning tip: Too many holes still exist in Wizards' 3-point defense

Again, three-point accuracy allowed by the Wizards is an issue. They got away with allowing the Chicago Bulls, the worst team in the NBA from long range, to shot 80% in the first quarter but the Boston Celtics beat them behind it.

Their biggest free-agent acquisition, Al Horford, only shot 2-for-6 from three but presented matchup problems as the spread option at center. He didn't play in the Celtics' 30-point loss in early November. 

"They made shots. Horford is a handful for guys," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after his team allowed 8-for-11 three-point shooting in the first quarter. "He's a stretch five that we have to do a better job of handling that coverage. But we got them again. We'll figure out how to play him better."

Horford had too much space to operate. And his screening ability got Isaiah Thomas (5-for-11) loose as well as Jae Crowder (4-for-6) and Terry Rozier (2-for-3). Overall, they were 17-for-41 from long range, 41.5%.

After practice today, the Wizards (19-19) will play the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. They'll see Boston again Jan. 24 with the season series tied at 1. 

The Wizards led by 10 in the third quarter only to melt down as key players missed open looks. John Wall, who had a disfigured right pinkie and a badly swollen left wrist, shot 4-for-21. Markieff Morris had a favorable matchup beginning the second quarter against second unit bigs only to finish 6-for-21. 

"John did not shoot the ball well. Keef did not shoot the ball well. That's not normal," Brooks said. "They're not going to shoot great every night but they're not going to shoot this bad. Very rarely. The game was physical. We have to do a better job managing that."

Morris' suggestion was a simple one: Mix up how they defend Thomas, who figured out the coverage and ended the game 14-for-29 shooting for a game-high 38 points. 

"You see I.T.? You got to make an adjustment, get the ball out of his hands at least," Morri said after Thomas' 20-point fourth quarter spurred the comeback for Boston. "The guy was going crazy out there. We've got to do something different."

[RELATED: Brooks fed up with lack of foul calls in Wizards' loss to Celtics]

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With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

Forty two days have passed since the Feb. 6 trade between the Wizards and the Bulls, a deal that started a new era of sorts in Washington with the departure of Otto Porter Jr., a former third overall pick who had stuck with the franchise for a second contract. 

Though the confusion of that first night, as the Wizards informed Porter just before a game against the Bucks, has passed, both teams are still sorting things out and evaluating what they have as the end of the season nears.

Porter won't play on Wednesday night due to a shoulder injury as the Wizards battle the Bulls in Chicago at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. But as these teams square off now over a month later, it seems like a good time to look at how the deal has gone for them so far.

Basically, neither team has really taken off. The Wizards are 8-9 since the trade and the Bulls are 8-10. Porter has put up strong numbers, but has missed time due to various injuries. Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, the two players the Wizards acquired from Chicago, have also improved from their season stats while ostensibly benefiting from a change in scenery.

Porter averaged 12.6 points and shot 45.7 from the field and 36.9 percent from three with the Wizards this season. With the Bulls, he has put up 17.5 points while shooting 48.3 percent overall and 48.8 percent from long range. 

Perhaps most notable is the fact he's taking 13.4 total shots and 5.3 per game from three. Both would be career-highs if held for an entire season. For years, the narrative about him in D.C. was that he either wasn't aggressive enough to create his own shots or the Wizards failed him by not running plays with him in mind.

Parker has simply been much more efficient with the Wizards than he was in Chicago. He's averaging about the same amount of points - 14.8 compared to 14.3 with the Bulls - but his effective field goal percentage has raised from 51.4 to 60.7. The latter would rank seventh in the NBA if it qualified for leaderboards.

Portis is putting up 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds, both of which would be career-highs if carried for a full season. And he's shooting 45.6 percent from three, well above the 37.5 percent clip he posted in Chicago this year.

Both teams, interestingly enough, have seen a surge on offense. The Bulls are 23rd on the season in points scored (105.3), but since adding Porter are ninth, averaging nearly 10 more points per game (115). The Wizards are seventh on the season points (114.4), but since the deal top the entire league with 117.5 per game. 

Defensively, it has been a different story. Both the Wizards and Bulls rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive rating. Both teams were bad at defending before the deals and haven't shown improvement.

This trade, of course, will ultimately be judged for what happens well beyond this season. The Wizards gave up a valuable asset in Porter, who is only 25 and is under contract for two more years, albeit at arguably a steep price for his production. His contract loomed large in Washington, but can be viewed differently in Chicago because of their otherwise cheap roster of young talent.

Parker and Portis are both likely to hit free agency this offseason, Portis as a restricted free agent. Parker has a team option, but at $20 million it is unlikely to be picked up.

The Wizards could keep both of them, one or neither of them this offseason. And whichever way they go will significantly affect the way the trade is evaluated. If they part with either, the financial flexibility they will then get will have bearing on how the deal is graded.

But for now, both teams seem to be doing well with the pieces they got. All three have improved their numbers in the short period of time they have played with their new teams.


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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

As Chase Hughes writes, it's been quite a year for the Wizards' roster due to injuries and trades. How many of these names can you list without checking?

Here's the complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season:

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Dwight Howard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Austin Rivers
Ian Mahinmi
Jeff Green
Tomas Satoransky
Chasson Randle
Jordan McRae
Devin Robinson
Troy Brown Jr.
Thomas Bryant
John Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Jabari Parker
Bobby Portis
Sam Dekker
Ron Baker
Gary Payton II
Okaro White
Jason Smith
Trevor Ariza

Read more here.