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Pacers' D-League purchase leaves Wizards without affiliate

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Pacers' D-League purchase leaves Wizards without affiliate

The Indiana Pacers' purchase of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Mad Ants of the D-League, announced by the NBA on Wednesday, puts the Wizards without an affiliate to ship players for rehabilitation assignments.

They rarely use it anyway. The last player they've sent to the second division was Glen Rice two seasons ago after he broke his wrist and wasn't able to get playing time off the bench as a rookie. Fort Wayne was the designated team for the Wizards to send players in 2014-15.

This season, if such an instant arises with rookie Kelly Oubre, for instance, the team he is assigned to  would vary pending availability of D-League roster spots. The same holds true for the other 10 independent NBA teams without D-League affiliations.

Indiana is the 10th NBA franchise to fully own and operate a D-League team, along with the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City.

Eight other NBA teams, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings, have hybrid affiliations with a D-League team which means they fund them but the franchises remain locally owned and business decisions are made there. The Dallas Mavericks have a unique one-to-one relationship with the Texas Legends, who are actually owned by GM Donnie Nelson. 

This quagmire is why the Wizards wanted their second-round draft pick, which turned out to be Aaron White out of Iowa, to go overseas this season. White signed to play in Germany. They'd considered Dez Wells of Maryland for the No. 46 spot but he didn't want to leave the U.S. and preferred the D-League.

If an NBA team doesn't have a D-League affiliate, some feel that he is better-suited playing abroad where there is more stability with rosters and structure. In White's case, he's a 6-9 power forward who'll have to make his mark as a three-point shooter and Europe is a good place for him to work on that skill set.

In the D-League, the Wizards don't have control over how a player is developed since they don't own or have a hybrid relationship with a franchise there. When Otto Porter wasn't playing much during his rookie season in 2013-14, the Wizards never seriously considered sending him to D-League because coach Randy Wittman felt practicing against the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal made him better than against lesser players in a D-League system that was totally different from the one he had to learn here. 

When the Wizards sold their second-round slot in 2013 to the Los Angeles Lakers for $1.8 million, picking Jordan Clarkson for them, that happened in large part because of the lack of a D-League affiliate to develop. When an NBA season begins, unless a team is a cellar-dweller with no postseason prospects, players have to be court ready. True development during an 82-game schedule with few off days because of practices is difficult to achieve.

This is where a D-League franchise can have value if an NBA team either owns or staffs the operation on the basketball side in the hybrid model with coaches and athletic trainers. For the Wizards to put a system in place like this, however, that decision will fall to ownership which currently is mulling plans for a new practice facility.

RELATED: One on one: Porter or Oubre small forward of the future?

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Wizards power forward Markieff Morris. Morris looked back on the 2017-18 season and gave his side on what needs to be fixed.

Chris and Chase Hughes also had a heated debate about Bradley Beal not receiving any All-NBA votes. Chase is an awards voter and defended his ballot. Chris wasn't having any of it.

They also went into the conference finals and what it would mean if the Rockets beat the Warriors.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!