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Morning tip:Gortat desperate to dig out 'black hole'


Morning tip:Gortat desperate to dig out 'black hole'

Yet another game goes by for the Wizards without Marcin Gortat making much of an impact. He's upset with himself for being mostly a non-factor and was more critical of himself than coach Randy Wittman.

"I just try to play the game the right way. I hope the coaching staff will see that," said Gortat, who had 10 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday's 102-99 win vs. the San Antonio Spurs. "I know they’re watching the tape and we spoke about that many times. I just got to wait for my opportunities. ... I’m just playing awful. And to be honest with you, I can’t be mad about anything. I appreciate, actually, that they kept me in the game and they keep throwing me the ball. I’m just in a big black hole right now so I’m just trying to get out of that."

Gortat only attempted two shots in the first half. He picked up two fouls in less than three minutes and had to go to the bench. But his help defense has been a strength in four games as well as his screening to set free John Wall and Bradley Beal on the perimeter. 

Gortat's hustle got him down the court got him an easy bucket in the fourth quarter, releasing after Tim Duncan's miss for a dunk. He did it again less than a minute later but missed the layup as the Wizards trailed 90-87.

It goes back to a problem Gortat had last season when he complained about his role in the offense. 

"He just need to continue to roll to the basket. His inner point guard self still wants to pop out and shoot jump shots," Wittman said. "Even though he'll tell you he doesn't want to. Harder rolls to the basket. And if it collapses you get kick outs to Brad and Otto (Porter) that get the open 3s and then they start staying home. Brad had it going. Now if March is rolling to the basket he's going to get those opportunities."

RELATED Beal talks about his GW three-pointer just moments after

Gortat wasn't alone. Kris Humphries remained out of sync and didn't play in the fourth quarter. He had seven points and six rebounds in 23 minutes. Drew Gooden lasted only eight minutes, missing all four shot attempts.

Gortat's struggles, considering how well he looked in the preseason and that he's played in this fast-paced system with the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, are surprising. The Wizards made a concerted effort to get him involved to start the third quarter.

"I’m definitely in shape. Shots are just falling out. There’s nothing going in. I got no explanation," said Gortat, who hasn't scored more than 10 points nor posted a double-double. "If I knew what was going on, I’d let you know. But right now I just got to make shots. I don’t have too many of them but I got to make them. If I make them, I’m going to demand more. That’s how it is."

Beal and Wall are playing so well for the Wizards (3-1), the slow start is going to be overlooked for now. 

"It’s not a secret that Brad and John are going to be the number one and two punch on the team," Gortat said. "I was hoping I was going to be the third one, number three, but not right now."

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:


LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)


Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)


Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)