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Nene's foot woes has Wizards taking 'cautious' approach

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Nene's foot woes has Wizards taking 'cautious' approach

No doubt a good chunk of the Wizards winning turnaroundwhile closing out the last campaign stemmed from the addition of Nene. Well, that and the subtraction of a few others. Still, much of the promise of a playoff push this season comes from having the Brazilian big man for a full season.Just don't assume he and his gimpy left foot will be ready for the start of training camp next week. "Well see. Were going to be very, very cautious with him," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said at his pre-training camp press conference on Tuesday. "Nene aggravated his plantar fasciitis situation during the Olympics, I think everybody knows that."Everybody also should remember that for all of Nene's value on and off the court for the chemistry-lacking Wizards last season, he missed 14 of 25 games including a stretch of 10 straight with foot issues. With the bruising 6-foot-11 presence locked in as the focal point for a deep frontcourt, the Wizards will practice patience at leastuntil the games turn real. Training camp starts Oct. 2 at George Mason University. After eight preseason games, the regular season tips off on Oct. 30 at Cleveland."He hasnt had much time to rest this summer because of the commitment that he had to his national team," Grunfeld noted. "Were going to be very cautious, and were going to take it very slow with him and make sure that hes 100 percent when we put him out there full time. But we expected him to be ready for the regular season for sure. We will be very cautious with him."The Wizards acquired Nene at the training deadline in mid-March, a move that sent JaVale McGee and Nick Young to Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers respectively. Washington won eight of its final 10 games last season, including the last six, to finish with a 20-46 record.The just-turned 30-year-old is the Wizards projected starting power forward or center, depending on how one viewsnewly acquired veteran Emeka Okafor and third-year player Kevin Seraphin. How Wizards coach Randy Wittman plans on using his interior trio is one of the key questions entering the season.The short-termissue is simply when Nene joins his fellow bigs on the Patriot Center court and for how long."Well just have to wait and see," Grunfeld said. "He probably wont go two-a-days and go full in practice early in season. It just depends on how he develops. He knows his body very well, and we have all the confidence in the world in him coming back and helping us, just like he did last year."

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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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