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Morning tip: Wizards' vets say 'lot of work to do' for Wall, Beal


Morning tip: Wizards' vets say 'lot of work to do' for Wall, Beal

The very second that John Wall and Bradley Beal returned for the 2015-16 season with the Wizards, the inevitable questions about being the NBA's best backcourt.  And any backcourt worth its salt will give the same, predictable response like they did: "Yes." 

It'll cause mild controversy (it shouldn't) and make for good headlines and fodder as teams head into training camp. But even veteran teammates such as Drew Gooden and Jared Dudley understand there's more to it than lip service. It's about results. In the playoffs, Wall and Beal have helped the Wizards get farther than Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors two years in a row. And this past season, they dominated the matchup with a playoff sweep.

So the last hurdle is Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA championship. That might will take a lot more convincing.

“They have a lot of work to do to become the best," said Wizards forward Drew Gooden. "Are they up there? Yes. But to separate themselves, we got a lot of work to do.”

That means getting the Wizards past the second round of the playoffs. Beal could be in a contract year if he doesn't come to terms on an extension before Oct. 31. Unlike Wall, he has yet to make an All-Star Game or avoid injuries. If he wants the Wizards to show him the money, whether that's now or after the season when he becomes a restricted free agent, he has to take the biggest leap. As a point guard, Wall already is the best player at his position in the conference. Beal has yet to rise to that level as a shooting guard.

"Brad has to put in a season where he’s healthy. You want him to put in, if not 82, close to 75 games. Get him to that All-Star level," said Dudley, who is in his first seasons with the Wizards. "John has been a two-time All-Star. John is doing well. The question is does John want to be in top 15 or 20 or top 5, top 10. That’s a huge step for him to take. Bradley has gotten better with the ball. It seems he’s more assertive scoring. Our best scorer. Bradley has a bigger jump to make than John because of health and getting to the All-Star Game."

The Wizards had chances in each of the last two seasons to upset the No. 1 seed in the East in the second round. Last season, Wall broke his left hand and wrist to end their quest in six vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Still, there's no guarantee that even with Wall healthy that the Wizards would've gotten past the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James.

Dudley, who spent most of his career with the Phoenix Suns, knows about coming close. They pushed the eventual champion L.A. Lakers to six games in 2010.

“The good thing about them, they’re having chance after chance," Dudley said of Wall, in his sixth year and signed through 2019, and Beal who enters his fourth. "When I was in Phoenix, the team got broken up real fast. Amar’e (Stoudemire) signed with New York. You see the Spurs, people know the Spurs, ‘Hey you’re getting too old,' but the thing about the Spurs they have gotten old but their continuity and chemistry keep improving. In this day and age, it’s so tough to improve your continuity with free-agent signings, new people coming in here. They’ve had their core for a long time so they’ll keep improving. To get to the finals, you have to beat LeBron. That’s what it comes down to. It’s easier said than done."

That's all Wall and Beal have to do. Then the question of "Who's the No. 1 backcourt" becomes a more serious debate.


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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson


Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Draft prospect profiles on Moe Wagner, Michael Porter, Jr., Grayson Allen and more

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by Nick Ashooh and Stefon Marquis to talk NBA Draft. 

They broke down five prospects and their potential fit with the Wizards: Moe Wagner of Michigan, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, Grayson Allen of Duke, Collin Sexton of Alabama and Omari Spellman of Villanova.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!