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No Lin no problem for Knicks?


No Lin no problem for Knicks?

In probably one of the more surprising moves of the off-season, the New York Knicks stopped the Linsanity and opted to let last season's wonder kid Jeremy Lin go to Houston after the Rockets offered the guard a 3-year, 25 million dollar deal which the Knicks did not match.

Lin literally came out of nowhere to be the poster boy of the sports world last winter as he exploded onto the scene, leading the Knicks back to prominence in what had been a sluggish start for the team. Lin averaged 18 points a game in 25 starts and had several memorable moments, including a game-winning three-pointer at Toronto in January and a 38-points spree in a home win over the L.A. Lakers.

Undrafted out of Harvard, Lin was just trying to hang on to an NBA roster in his second season in the league and he made the most of his opportunity in New York with the point-guard-starved Knicks. Lin scored 25 points in his first-ever NBA start last February and helped the Knicks reel off seven straight wins. Lin broke defenders down off the dribble, stepped out and hit jumpers, and was also able to dish the ball,averaging6 assists in 35 games.

Lin missed the final month of the season and the playoffs with a knee injury but it was thought management would re-sign the restricted free agent to play for New York after bringing back the buzz to Madison Square Garden, even with starsCarmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire already in the fold. The Knicks, though, decided to let Lin walk after the Rockets offered a back-loadedguaranteedcontract that New York was not willing to match.

Without Lin, the Knicks will rely on veteran guards Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton next season. Despite being 39 years old, Kidd got a three-year contract with the Knicks while Felton also received a three-year deal. Kidd is coming off a season in which he averaged only 6 points and 5 assists in Dallas. Felton, who has struggled with his fitness, put up 11 points and 6 assists for the Blazers last season.

Going forward and with Lin out of the picture, this team is clearly Carmelo Anthony's. The all-star forward will be entering his second full season in New York and it's expected that he would guide the Knicks past the first round of the playoffs, a place they bowed out of the last two years. Anthony averaged 22 points a game in 2011-12 but he will need forward Amare Stoudemire also to be a big contributor.

Stoudemire, the 100-million man, averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds this past season but his slicing of his hand punching a fire extinguisher after a playoff loss to Miami last spring will hang over him until he can help the Knicks go farther in the post-season.

The defensive player of the year in the NBA, Tyson Chandler, returns at center for the Knicks. Chandler posted 11 points and 10 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game last year. The Knicks brought back veteran Marcus Camby to back up Chandler.

The Knicks said goodbye to energy forward Landry Fields, but also added Corey Brewer who comes over from Chicago. New York also re-signed long-range specialist Steve Novak.

We shall see if the Knicks' decision to let Lin go pays off or backfires but a lot will depend on whether Anthony and Stoudemire can take their games and the team to the next level in the playoffs.

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Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

The Wizards closed their 2019-20 preseason schedule with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, which means up next is the regular season opener on Wednesday night in Dallas. Now that the exhibition schedule is (finally) over, here are five takeaways from what we saw...

Injuries have added up

The Wizards entered this preseason with a lot of things to sort out in their rotation due to the significant roster overhaul they went through in the summer. But injuries complicated things further for head coach Scott Brooks, who wasn't offered anything close to a full cupboard to work with.

The most notable injuries were to Isaiah Thomas (thumb) and Troy Brown Jr. (calf). Both players will be key members of the rotation when they recover, but are each on track to miss the start of the regular season. The same goes for C.J. Miles, who has a foot injury. There is also Ian Mahinmi, who has an Achilles issue, though he is not likely to play a big role on the team this season.

Hachimura looks the part

The early returns on rookie Rui Hachimura have been good. The 2019 ninth overall pick has not looked timid or out of place on an NBA floor. He has shown he can attack the rim assertively and has even made a few threes. Those two areas will be key to watch for him this season; how he can adapt to NBA interior defenders and shooting threes from a longer distance.

Hachimura is a likely starter for the Wizards this season and should get ample shot opportunities. He is going to have a chance to be a focal point of the Wizards' offense and probably a long enough leash to play through his mistakes. As a young player, you can't ask for much more than that.

Also impressive this preseason were Moe Wagner, who was much better than he showed in the Las Vegas Summer League, and Thomas Bryant, who looks like he is going to take another step from his breakout season last year. Bryant is more confident knocking down threes and has been a force on the glass. Don't be surprised if he averages a double-double this season.

Small forward is a question

The Wizards had Brown penciled in to be their full-time starting small forward, according to a person familiar with their plans, but his injury is expected to keep him out to start the season. He did a post-practice workout the other day and wasn't moving very quickly, either due to discomfort in his calf or to be extra cautious in fear of a setback.

Either way, he is still rehabbing and so is Miles. The Wizards also released Justin Anderson, leaving them with no obvious choice to start at the three. At this point, it looks likely they will have to either put someone there that is probably best suited for another position like Hachimura, Davis Bertans or Jordan McRae, or roll with someone who is very inexperienced like Bonga or Admiral Schofield. The odds seem better they choose the former.

Final roster spot?

The Wizards now have until Monday at 5 p.m. to decide who gets their final roster spot. The safe money at this point is probably for point guard Justin Robinson to get that spot and for Chris Chiozza to have his contract converted to a two-way deal.

The Chiozza part has been speculated for weeks and it is the direction the team is leaning, NBC Sports Washington was told. If Chiozza did get the two-way contract, he could remain with the team to start the season and help fill the void at point guard while Thomas recovers from his left thumb surgery. Chiozza would have 45 days allotted at the NBA level, but that clock would not begin until Oct. 28 when G-League training camps open.

Beal's commitment

This season took on an entirely different tone with Thursday's news Bradley Beal would sign a contract extension with the Wizards. This year had the potential to be overshadowed by Beal's uncertain future, but now that has been put to rest. The trade rumors can be set aside as Beal has made it official his commitment to the Wizards' plan.

Now, that could get interesting late in the year if losses are piling up. He ultimately wants to win and it will bear watching how he shows his frustration if the team isn't playing up to his standards.


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Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

The Washington Wizards and Mystics join in on Nike’s NBA and WNBA Game Growers program. The Game Growers program is meant to provide eighth grade girls with the skills and assets they need in order to grow their participation in sports in their communities. 

With this new program, the Wizards and Mystics can contribute to expanding the game of basketball for young DMV girls. Along with that, the Washington Mystics just won the WNBA Championships, this is perfect timing for them to introduce the sport to the next generation.

Today, the Game Growers Program officially was put into action, on a YouTube video stream. The video stream had Las Vegas Aces forward A’Ja Wilson, actress Sky Katz, the Director of Operations for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association Terri Jackson featuring in it. They discussed the advantages of being an athlete beyond going professional and encourage girls to apply.

In order for the future basketball stars to get in on the action, they must apply to GameGrowers.com by submitting their ideas on how to grow the game of basketball in their communities. The application opened today and will close on November 15, 2019. The winners will be made public in December 2019. 

By January 2020 two girls will join alongside the Wizards and Mystics in going to Training Camp at Nike’s World Headquarters in Washington County, Oregon. This event won’t only be run by Nike and professional basketball players, but will also have GENYOUth (a youth empowerment organization) tag along as well. At the Training Camp, the girls will have an opportunity to polish up their ideas with Nike and NBA and WNBA teams. 

If lucky, some Game Growers teams will be chosen to exhibit their ideas at the 2020 WNBA Draft, which will be in New York City this April.