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NBA GM on restricted free agent Beal: 'I'm scared of him'

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NBA GM on restricted free agent Beal: 'I'm scared of him'

Having lost three straight games and five of six, the Washington Wizards (20-24) need a boost and fast. That's especially true with three straight games on deck against the Rockets, Thunder and Warriors. Bradley Beal, recently back from his latest leg stress injury plus a broken nose, is helping with his shot. In six games since Jan 13, he's sinking 45 percent of his 3-pointers and half his attempts from any angle.

Beal also remains on a minutes limit. Because the leg injuries have become recurring and the fourth-year wing guard is an important part of Washington's future, all know the importance of finding a fix. 

Then there is the important money factor, as in Beal enters restricted free agency this summer. Along with teammate John Wall, Beal is among a select group of players on USA Basketball's working roster ahead of the 2016 Olympics. Two years in a row, he's elevated his game in the postseason. Beal's shooting form is textbook. He won't turn 23 until June. Those are among the positives. The injury concerns, however, may have some around the league concerned about making a long-term investment.

“He’s one of the best pure shooters in the league,” a general manager told Yahoo's Chris Mannix, “but I’m scared of him.” 

With 38 regular season games remaining, their is time to alleviate some of those fears. Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, spoke with Mannix about the process.

“It’s been frustrating for Brad because he’s a great competitor and he wants to be there for his teammates, his coaches,” Bartelstein said. “The good news is that we have got this thing figured out.

As for specifics, Bartelstein shared the following, as reported by Mannix:

[Beal] has increased the padding in his sneakers. He has added more vitamin D to his diet. He took a more gradual approach to returning from his most recent injury in December, easing back into things rather than immediately ramping up when he felt healthy. Some shooters don’t elevate much on 3-point shots; Beal does, increasing the impact, a factor that is compounded by the hundreds of jumpers Beal puts up in practice. To that end, Beal has adopted a more regimented program designed to minimize impact as much as possible.

One of the challenges for Beal and the Wizards are his minutes. The leg injuries have typically cropped up when Beal starts playing over 35 minutes on a regular basis. With Washington fighting for a playoff spot, the Wizards will want their best players on the court as much as possible. Yet overdo it and the perimeter threat might not be available at all. That's what can drive fear for those thinking long-term. His All-Star worthy game is what makes Beal so enticing and why the Wizards need him at max capacity as soon as the doctors give the thumbs up.

RELATED: Morning tip: Stay on course or move on to 2016-17 for Wizards?

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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:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

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

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

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

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

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

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