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By the numbers: Sessions assisting Wizards' preseason goals

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By the numbers: Sessions assisting Wizards' preseason goals

It probably doesn't surprise anyone that John Wall leads all NBA players with 36 assists entering Monday's preseason action. That's even with the Washington Wizards point guard sitting out Saturday's road game in Milwaukee.

That Ramon Sessions is second on the assists list might be a tad shocking. 

The Wizards' backup point guard has a robust 34 assists in five games (Wall's numbers are over four games). Credit Washington's up-tempo approach leading to more possessions and therefore more assist opportunities. On a per game basis, the Wizards technically have players ranked first (Wall, 9.0), fourth and fifth (Sessions, 6.8), though Garrett Temple (7.0) only played one game. Washington (4-1) leads the league with 29.8 assists per game.

However, let's also note that Sessions is making plays while directing the second unit. He's also making few mistakes. With only six turnovers, Sessions ranks third league-wide with a 5.8 assists-to-turnover ratio. The veteran guard, acquired for Andre Miller before the last season's NBA trading deadline, isn't just setting up teammates. Sessions leads the Wizards in total free throws attempted (22) and is shooting 90.9 percent (20 of 22) from the line. 

The additions of Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Kelly Oubre Jr. provide more shooting options off the bench. Nene's presence gives the unit a true interior focal point. Yet suspect play at point guard could derail the operation. At this point, Sessions appears on point with his backup floor leader role.

  • Speaking of free throws, Oubre leads the team with 5.3 attempts per game. The rookie forward hasn't been shy about touting his ability to attack the rim. Talk is one thing, execution is another. Once at the line, he is sinking 71.4 percent of his attempts, which is essentially identical to the 71.8 clip during his lone season at Kansas. With the Jayhawks, Oubre took 3.1 free throws per game.

  • As for the much discussed 3-point shooting, the Wizards are collectively shooting 37.3 percent (9.4-25.2). Among NBA teams, that ranks sixth while the 25.2 attempts is 11th.

  • Among the players, Neal leads the way from deep with a 57.1 percent clip (8 of 14), followed by Otto Porter (5 of 9), non-roster invitee Josh Harrellson (5 of 10) and Bradley Beal (9 of 21). On the other end, Oubre is only 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. Kris Humphries is shooting 30 percent (6 of 20)

  • When it comes to points allowed, we've learned in recent years to focus more on rating (points per 100 possessions) than purely total points surrendered. Overall, the Wizards are fifth in the NBA with a net rating (offense minus defense) of 11.7.

  • Lastly, don't put much conviction into any of the stats mentioned above considering 1) preseason and 2) the opponents; three of the five games came against the 76ers and a Brazilian club team. That makes it harder to assess may of the numbers to this point, but for the most part the style, the approach is positive.

[RELATED: Wall gets legendary praise for off-court charity work]

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.

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