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Morning tip: Wizards find their Trevor Ariza again with Kelly Oubre

Morning tip: Wizards find their Trevor Ariza again with Kelly Oubre

The latest stretch by Kelly Oubre isn't just his best basketball of the season but of the small forward's two-year career. And he's doing it on both ends going into the playoffs for the Wizards.

In the last seven games,, Oubre has played from 23-29 minutes and has had 16 points and seven rebounds; 14 points and five rebounds; 10 points, six rebounds and two steals; 10 points, four rebounds and three steals; six points and two rebounds; 15 points and five rebounds; and 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks. 

But his greatest value can't always be seen in the statistics. The Wizards (48-31) aren't playing good defense, but the 6-7 small forward with the 7-2 wingspan has excelled against all shapes and sizes.

Coach Scott Brooks will use Oubre to cool a hot hand or in an end-of-game-situation, which are the first two examples, against the best offensive player:

vs. Carmelo Anthony, a 6-8 forward

vs. Jimmy Butler, a 6-7 guard/forward

vs. Isaiah Thomas, a 5-9 point guard

vs. Kemba Walker, 6-1 point guard

vs. Al Horford, 6-10 power forward/center

When the Wizards go to a five-man lineup with Oubre in for Markieff Morris with the starters, they allow just 100.2 points per 100 possessions in 200 minutes together. That's almost four points better than the regular starting five.

When Oubre is on the floor with Brandon Jennings, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi, they allow just 84.3 per 100 in a total of 86 minutes.

The best defensive pairings for the Wizards involve Oubre among the five. A playoff series can be flipped because of an adjustment such as Oubre to take away a team's key weapon. 

In 2013-14, when the Bulls had a chance of turning around their first-round series with the Wizards, it was forward Trevor Ariza who was assigned to the problem matchup, point guard D.J. Augustin. He extinguished that hope.

While it was Paul Pierce and then Otto Porter who took the starting role upon Ariza's departure, Oubre is proving to be a closer match.


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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 


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G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

Time is nearly up for the Washington Wizards to replace Ron Baker on the active roster.

Jordan McRae made his strongest push yet for the gig.

McRae, one of the Wizards’ two-way contract players, scored 54 points for Capital City Friday night in the Go-Go’s 118-107 win over the Main Red Claws. That’s the most points scored by any G-League player this season.

Makes sense this wing guard holds the distinction. McRae leads the league in scoring with 29.5 points per game.

Finding such opportunities with Washington this season has not come as easy. McRae, a 27-year-old with prior NBA experience, scored only four points in 35 minutes over eight games for the 19-26 Wizards this season.

While shuttling back and forth between the two levels since Baker’s release on Jan. 7, the 6-foot-5 guard’s lone appearance came in the final minutes of a 17-point win over Philadelphia on Jan. 9.

For now, McRae and Devin Robinson, Washington’s other two-way contract player, offer in-case-of-emergency depth. Robinson traveled with the Wizards to London for Thursday’s win over the New York Knicks but did not play.

Someone else will join the roster soon.

League rules mandate a minimum of 14 players. Teams have two weeks to reach that number should they drop below. Washington, which kept its 15th slot open all season, did upon releasing Baker.

The Wizards could and likely will fill the void by signing a free agent to a 10-day contract. Another body would not hurt.

John Wall (heel surgery) is out for the season. Uncertain recovery timelines exist for forward Markieff Morris (neck) and center Dwight Howard (back surgery).

McRae is not an option for the 10-day scenario, but he has shown a readiness with the scorching Go-Go. Capital City has won seven of its last eight games.

“He’s done a great job staying with his development on and off the court,” Go-Go coach Jarell Christian said of McRae. “He’s our leader. For him to continue to play the right way, everyone else just falls in line.”

McRae’s scoring surge comes after he sat out last season with a shoulder injury.

“It was the first time in my life being injured. Being out for a whole year, it was tough for me,” McRae said. “Being with these guys every day, going back and forth with the Wizards, it’s tiring, but its fun. It’s my job.”

Christian offered advice on the key for McRae should the Wizards eventually turn McRae’s contract from a two-way to an NBA deal and set him loose on the court.

“I think it’s just about his mentality. When he's thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession. Being a floor spacer and continue to play defense,” Christian said. “He’s taken initiatives in some games and become the best defender on the team. I think every team wants somebody who wants to take that initiative and become a lockdown defender.”