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NBA GMs pick Wizards for playoffs but overlook John Wall

NBA GMs pick Wizards for playoffs but overlook John Wall

The results from the annual survey of 30 NBA general managers are in, and while they picked the Wizards to be a playoff team under first-year coach Scott Brooks they didn't list John Wall among the top four point guards or give votes to any other players on the roster in any category.

The Wizards tied for seventh place in the survey with the Charlotte Hornets. Exactly 3.3% picked them to finish as high as third place despite having a roster that has been retooled after a 41-41 season.


Despite all of the changes made by the Chicago Bulls in acquiring Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, they're picked to finish out of the top eight playoff spots in ninth place. Predictably, the Cleveland Cavaliers are No.1, followed by the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The team that made the postseason last year but is out based on the GMs? The Miami Heat. That makes sense as they've lost Wade and Chris Bosh. 

In the West, 96.7% picked the Golden State Warriors to finish first -- compared to 51.7% picking them in 2015-16 -- followed by the San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. 

Wall, the Wizards' three-time All-Star, didn't finish in the top four choices for best at his position, with 63.3% for Steph Curry (Warriors), 20% had Chris Paul (Clippers), 10% for Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and 6.7% went with Kyrie Irving (Cavs). And Wall (40%) came in second to Westbrook (46.7%) for player fastest with the ball.

Though Wall has been among the top distributors in the league, and that includes "hockey" assists, the last few years he didn't even register in the voting for best passer. Paul, James and Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves), Rondo and even Ben Simmons, a rookie who has yet to play an NBA game, received all of those votes.

GMs weren't allowed to vote for their teams or personnel. A sample of the results:

  • 96.7% said that the Cavs and Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.
  • 83.3% tabbed the Warriors has having "best overall offseason moves" largely because of Kevin Durant. And 80% determined that Durant is the one-player acquisition that will make the biggest impact. The next closest was 13.3% for Al Horford (Celtics), who came close to signing with the Wizards.
  • 83.3% still call Gregg Popovich (Spurs) the best head coach, and the often-overlooked-but-worthy Rick Carlisle (Mavs) is next at 13.3% followed by Brad Stevens (Celtics) with 3.3%.
  • 76.8% called LeBron James the best small forward for the 11th year in a row while 63.3% deemed Steph Curry (Warriors) as the best point guard, 56.7% had James Harden (Rockets) as best shooting guard, 29% had Anthony Davis (Pelicans) as the best power forward and 33.3% went with DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) as the best center.
  • 75% said the opposing player who forces coaches to make the most adjustments is James while two-time MVP Curry was at just 21.4%
  • 70% chose Ben Simmons (Sixers) as the rookie who will be the best player in five years.
  • 69% picked the Warriors to win the NBA title for the second time in three years
  • 66.7% identified Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) as the league's best defender
  • 63.3% name coach Steve Kerr (Warriors) for running the best offense, followed by 16.7% for Popovich and 6.7% for Carlisle and Mike D'Antoni (Rockets). 
  • 60% say Tom Thibodeau (Timberwolves) runs the best defensive schemes and also 78.3% believe he will make the biggest impact of new/relocated coaches.
  • 56.7% said the Timberwolves are the most improved team, followed by 23.3% for the Jazz and 10% for the N.Y. Knicks. 
  • 50% believe the Spurs are the best defensive team in the league, followed by 13.3% for the Celtics and 10% each for the Cavs, Warriors and Jazz. 
  • 48.3% chose Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) as the NBA player they'd sign today if they were starting a franchise while 20.7% opted for Durant and 17.2% for James. A year ago, the injury-prone Davis was the runaway choice at 86.2%.
  • 46.7% said James, who has won the league MVP four times, would win it for the regular season this year, followed by 23.3% for  Westbrook, 10% each for Curry and Harden and 6.7% for Durant. Despite getting older, James garnered more votes than he did a year ago from the GMs (39.3%). 
  • 46.7% predict that Kris Dunn (Timberwolves) will be Rookie of the Year.
  • 46.7% rolled with Jamal Crawford (Clippers) as the bench player who makes the biggest impact when he enters the game.
  • 41.4% said Carlisle is the head coach who makes the best in-game adjustments, with 31% siding with Popovich and 13.8% for Stevens. 
  • 31% believe that Devin Booker (Suns) is most likely to have a breakout season.
  • 27.6% called Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) the best international player in the league, followed by 24.1% for last year's first-place selection, Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), and 22.4% for Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs). 
  • 27.6% went with Chris Paul (Clippers) as active player who will make the best head coach, with 10.3% going with Ronnie Price (Thunder) and former Wizards forward Jared Dudley (Suns). 
  • 24.1% felt that George Hill (Jazz) is the most underrated player acquisition of the offseason. 
  • 23.3% went with Dejounte Murray (Spurs) as the rookie who was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft (29th), 16.7% chose No. 5 pick Dunn and 13.3% settled on 38th pick Patrick McCaw (Warriors). 
  • 23.3% selected Tony Allen (Grizzlies) as the toughest player, followed by 16.7% for Leonard and 13.3% for Westbrook. 


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‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

Capital City Go-Go

‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

The Washington Wizards G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, held their second open local player tryouts at the Entertainment and Sports Arena Saturday morning in Southeast D.C.

Over 100 hopefuls filed into the arena with plans to impress Go-Go General Manager, Pop Mensah-Bonsu, head coach Ryan Richman, and his staff. 

Although each player in attendance has a unique path that’s led them here, they all shared one simple, yet intricate goal:

One shot in the G League. 

Adam Stanford, a prospect from California, traveled on a red eye to make the tryout on a less-than-ideal amount of sleep.

“My plane left at midnight from LAX, I had a two-hour layover in Denver, made it to Reagan National at five, checked into my hotel at six, took an hour nap and then Ubered here for tryouts,”  he said. 

“If I made this team it’d be big. Not just for me but for everyone who knows what I’ve been through from college to now.” 

Stanford is a 6-foot-4 wing from Campbellsville University, where he averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and was an academic All-American. 

Even with his positive outlook on the process, and an impressive showing Saturday morning, Stanford’s name wasn’t called for a follow-up workout later in the afternoon. 

The harsh reality that your chances are extremely slim to make a G League roster from an open tryout can be a tough pill to swallow, but as a guy who’s been on the opposite end of the chopping block, Mensah-Bonsu had an immense amount of respect for those who showed up to compete Saturday.

“Personally it’s tough because I never wanted to be that guy to read out the numbers of those who did make the team, and skip over those who didn’t,” Mensah-Bonsu said, “it’s heartbreaking. We always anticipate what the DMV has to offer in terms of the wealth of talent in this area.

"I was pleasantly surprised because we ended up selecting 15 guys to stick around for the afternoon portion, but going into this we were only planning to pick five.” 

Those who made the cut won’t be announced until a later date, which leaves the larger point of how those who were passed on respond?

The all-time leading scorer in Peach Sun Belt Conference history, Detrek Browning, was in attendance Saturday and put on a show. His combination of quickness, deep range shooting ability, and a knack for loose balls/putbacks captured the attention of every media member in attendance. 

However, his name wasn’t called for the next round of tryouts. 

Still, in a state of shock, he delivered words of encouragement not just for his self, but others to turn to after a similar letdown. 

“I for sure thought I was going to get a place here, but you just gotta focus and move on,” Browning said. “I quit my job in June to focus on basketball and it’s been paying off. I’ve seen my game increase exponentially.

“I did my best and that’s what matters,” he added. “I appreciate them not picking me up, it’s just going to make me work even harder.”




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Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Most MVP award winners thank coaches, parents and anyone who helped them become great. Elena Delle Donne is not most people.

The Washington Mystic's superstar forward had a lot to be thankful for after receiving the second MVP honors of her career, creating a long list on Twitter. Some injury-preventing accessory manufacturers made their way high up on her list.

Delle Donne became the first woman player to shoot 50/40/90 splits over the course of an entire WNBA season this year, but she was perhaps more grateful for the apparrel that allowed her to stay on the court: her knee brace and face mask. 

The Delaware native often deflects praise onto her teammates and coaches when receiving accolades, but when EDD's knee is being held together by her bulky brace and her nose is feeling protected after a fracture earlier in the season, they definitely deserve the thanks. 

She had a gruesome knee scare in a Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Dream in the playoffs last season, and even missed some early season games this year in recovery. Still, Delle Donne wouldn't let her knee keep her out of action, as her 31 regular season starts were the most games she's played since 2015. It's been evident she's had an edge all season to help her Washington Mystics get back to the Finals, and this time finish the job. 

Delle Donne's face mask has also been somewhat of a fashion trend in recent weeks with star athletes around the District. Wizards all-star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal along with Redskins runing back Derrius Guice, all wore the face masks in solidarity when they came to support the Mystics at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. 

Despite Delle Donne's nose having been fully recovered, she's kept the face mask on during games for style and reassurance. Considering these ailments, it's impressive Delle Donne's shooting touch not only hasn't been affected, but instead has improved. 

After a Game 2 win over the Las Vegas Aces, Delle Donne and Co. have the opportunity to make their season mantra come true and #RunItBack to a second straight WNBA Finals appearance.