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Open court: Do any Rockets free agents fit Wizards?

Open court: Do any Rockets free agents fit Wizards?

The only difference between the Houston Rockets and Wizards is that they were in different conferences. Both were 41-41, except the West was weaker top to bottom so Houston had the No. 8 and final seed while Washington finished 10th.

The Wizards' goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the salary cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.

They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.

These are Houston’s free agents, in order of best fit (and realistically in the Wizards' wheelhouse cap-wise):

Donatas Motiejunas: He’s got the size at 7-foot tall and plays facing the basket. Injuries slowed him as he played in just 37 games for 6.2 points, after averaging 12 a year ago when he started 62 times, but Motiejunas can be a complementary player off the bench or a spot starter with three-point range. He’s also 25 and made just $1.6 million. Coming off a sub-par season with a dysfunctional roster, he can get a raise but still be very affordable.

Terrence Jones: Before the Wizards acquired Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, Jones was in the conversation but giving up a first-round pick for an unrestricted free agent this summer with no commitment long-term would’ve been silly. Plus, Jones is not better than Morris. Jones averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 50 appearances. The 6-9 forward unrestricted and made $1.8 million this season. A good backup with stretch potential at 31.6% from three, he can be an fill-in starter and probably acquired for a moderate raise.

Jason Terry: The Jet, an unrestricted free agent shooting guard, will be 39 soon coming off averaging 5.9 points in 72 games. He still shot a respectable 35.6% from three-point range but Terry is a few years past his best. A player of his caliber is an ideal sixth man and he was a key reason the Mavs upset the Heat for the NBA title. But that was five years ago. If he continues to play, he’s a late rotation, end-of-the-bench guy for the veteran minimum who plays in a pinch. He played for the $1.5 million minimum.

Josh Smith: The unrestricted free agent ($1.5 million) has gone from being a double-digit scoring average from 10 seasons in a row to a bench player who has fallen out of favor because of his low-efficiency scoring. Smith is 6-10 and can be a good defender. He's also just 30, roughly the same percentage he shoots from three-point range which he does too liberally for a player with his accuracy. Smith isn't in demand. He'll be a cheap pickup. If he plays to his strengths, and Doc Rivers couldn't make him work with the L.A. Clippers, what are the chances that Wizards coach Scott Brooks would succeed?

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This date in Wizards history: Bradley Beal sets franchise record for single-season 3-pointers

This date in Wizards history: Bradley Beal sets franchise record for single-season 3-pointers

For the better part of eight years, three-point shooting in Washington DC was synonymous with the name, Gilbert Arenas. 

He was an electric shot-maker and was one of the NBA's revolutionary offensive players, paving the way for a wave of score-first guards like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving. Before Arenas set the franchise record for threes made in a season with 205, the previous record was only 158 held by Tracy Murray in 1997-98. He introduced a different level of marksmanship to this town. 

On this day, three years ago, the man who will go down as the best shooting guard in Wizards history set a new standard from three-point range. Against the Clippers in a late-season contest, Bradley Beal hit his 206th three of the season. He would go on to make 223 triples in 2016-17. 

2016-17 was a breakout year for Beal and the Wizards. He averaged 23.1 points per game, the first time he'd averaged over 20 while his teammate John Wall set career-highs in scoring, assists, steals and field goal percentage. 

Washington won 49 games and made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but in this particular game, they weren't as successful. The Clippers won the game 133-124 thanks to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and JJ Redick combining for 107 points. 

LA's incredible output from their stars spoiled 27 points from Beal and a 41-point, eight-assist and seven-rebound performance by Wall.

The Clippers went on to finish the season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference, only to lose in the first round to the Jazz thanks to another untimely injury to Blake Griffin. 

The Wizards, as stated before secured the fourth seed in the East, beat the Hawks in six games in the first round and then fell to the Celtics in the second round. It remains the longest playoff run for Beal and Wall. 

Beal may have to watch out for his teammate Davis Bertans, though. At the time of the NBA's suspension, Bertans was at 200 made threes with 18 games to play. Once the season picks back up, the Latvian Laser is in prime position to set a new franchise record. 

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

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