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By the numbers: Wizards exceed 3-point shooting hype


By the numbers: Wizards exceed 3-point shooting hype

One preseason game is in the books for the Washington Wizards. Since we have no other season data available, we're going to extrapolate what these numbers mean for the entire 2015-16 campaign.

Fine, let's not do that. Preseason is just that and Tuesday's opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, might be the worst team in the NBA. However, the Wizards played offensively as advertised. They ran lots and they launched 3-pointers.  Those shots from beyond the arc were taken with purpose, but also with ease.

"When you can just play with that freedom, it means a lot," Ramon Sessions said of the 3-point shooting approach this year under coach Randy Wittman. "Everybody in the NBA can play, but when you have that confidence knowing you're not going to get pulled or yelled at, it makes the game open up that much more."

Here's a look at how much more the Wizards opened up the perimeter game in their preseason opener.

Playing a traditional lineup with two big men during the 2014-15 regular season, the Wizards averaged 6.1 3-pointers on 16.8 attempts. The look changed in the playoffs as the Wizards deployed the now ex-Wizard Paul Pierce at power forward to help stretch the floor. Washington sank 9.4 3's on 23.3 attempts.

Against Philadelphia, Washington finished 15 of 26 from beyond the arc. 

That's two more made 3-pointers than the Wizards hit any regular season game last year. The total also matched their playoff-high. 

Obviously, the makes are important, but the key number for now is the attempts, i.e., the commitment.

Those 26 tries are more than they attempted in 78 of their 82 regular season games last season. Washington would have finished eighth last season with 26 attempts per game. Instead they ranked 27 out of 30 teams.

The change isn't just about scheme, but personnel and mental approach.

Of the 10 players who received the most minutes Tuesday, eight took at least one 3-pointer and seven tried multiple long shots. Only interior options Marcin Gortat and Nene didn't launch from deep. Otto Porter made all four his 3-pointers. Gary Neal, signed as a free agent this summer, went 3 for 4.

All of this bombing took place without Jared Dudley (back surgery), Martell Webster (hip), Alan Anderson (ankle) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (ankle). Three of those four are new to the team and the entire quartet is capable of sinking those long shots. Dudley's ability as a stretch-4 makes him one of the keys for the new-look operation.

Nobody exemplifies the change more than Kris Humphries. The power forward made 2 of 4 3-pointers against the 76ers. Here's the kicker: He last made a regular season 3-pointer during his rookie season. That was the 2004-05 campaign. Over the next decade, he averaged two attempts -- per season.

Humphries, who worked on extending his range over the summer, said it "felt good" once he made his first 3-pointer Tuesday. "That's what they want to do here. You kind of have to adapt to help your team."

Based on the opening preseason game, it might behoove those who still view the Wizards as some plodding, behind the times squad to adapt a new outlook.

MORE WIZARDS: Morning tip: To get up to speed, Wizards must clear this hurdle

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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.


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The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario


The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

The 2018 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 21 and once again provides a glimmer of hope for even the most downtrodden franchises.

The NBA Draft is where teams can prepare for the future; where teams can rebuild and reload.

But the NBA Draft is often a crapshoot. Teams waffle on taking the best fit versus the best available player. Teams often panic and rest on laurels of draft years past. Fans like to build draft stereotypes for individual franchises, and while a lot of that is stupid Internet conjecture, it's fun to talk about and is often some actual truth to it.

So what follows is a look at the Doomsday Mock Draft. What your favorite team is likely to do if all else fails, which it often does.

1. Phoenix Suns: A franchise center who spends his first contract working with the Suns' medical staff more than his teammates.

2. Sacramento Kings: Someone who won't be a member of the Kings by the time 2022 rolls around.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Someone that will make Dennis Schroder unhappy.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: A Mike Conley Jr. repair kit.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Not the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki.

6. Orlando Magic: A reach that won't pan out.

7. Chicago Bulls: Someone from Iowa State, probably.


9. New York Knicks: /inserts .GIF of Spike Lee looking disappointed/

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Another big man because HINKIE 4 LYFE.

11. Charlotte Hornets: A North Carolina Tar Heel.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: A playmate for the head coach's son.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan 2.0.

14. Denver Nuggets: Yet another athletic guard.

15. Washington Wizards: Nope. Not touching this one.

16. Phoenix Suns: Someone to pass Devon Booker the ball.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Wingspan. Nothing but wingspan.

18. San Antonio Spurs: One of the Space Jam villains who conveniently falls to the Spurs (See: Leonard, Kawhi. Anderson, Kyle. Murray, Dejounte)

19. Atlanta Hawks: Someone to replace Dennis Schroder.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Someone who Tom Thibideau can play 60 minutes of a 48-minute game.

21. Utah Jazz: A real glue guy. A gym rat. A high-motor guy. Intangibles. Grit. Moxie. 

22. Chicago Bulls: A two-way player who will ultimately get punched in the face by Bobby Portis.



25. Los Angeles Lakers: The subject of Lonzo Ball's next diss track.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: A pallet of knockoff burner phones.

27. Boston Celtics: A draft night trade for more draft picks they probably won't use.

28. Golden State Warriors: An unfairly good player.

29. Brooklyn Nets: An unfairly bad player.

30. Atlanta Hawks: We ran out of Dennis Schroder jokes.