Quick Links

Should Wizards have fouled LeBron James to prevent game-tying 3?

Should Wizards have fouled LeBron James to prevent game-tying 3?

The basic question has to be answered after a game like Monday's, when LeBron James buried a turnaround, falling-out-of-bounds three-pointer to send the Cleveland Cavaliers into overtime with the Wizards, is why not foul? Ask 100 different coaches and depending on the day or their most recent expereience the answer will change. 

Kevin Love inbounded the ball over Markieff Morris standing a few feet off the baseline and launched it over the 6-10 forward for a perfect catch by James. He drained it over Bradley Beal, who he's at least 3-4 inches taller than, to tie the score at 120 to force the extra period. 

The Cavs would win 140-135. But here are the issues to consider: When James caught the ball, he was inside the three-point arc. An immediate grasp and foul by Beal would've only resulted in a tie score if James had sank the shot while under wraps and made the foul shot.

Should Morris have been up closer on Love to create a more difficult? If Brooks had a chance to do it all over again, would he?

"We discussed that. At that moment he was catching an off-balance three that's tough," Brooks said about fouling to prevent the tying shot. "Guys are so good now with the long pass like that. They can catch and shoot at the same time they catch the ball. It's nobody's fault. You just witnessed a very good player make an incredible shot."

Beal couldn't foul before the ball was inbounded because it would result in free throws and the ball for Cleveland. In hindsight, he thought he should've done so.

Even the best of coaches have their decisions called into question when the result goes against them. In the 2013 NBA Finals and up 95-92, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulled Tim Duncan off the court and it led to an offensive rebound for the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh grabbed it from Boris Diaw, Duncan's replacement, and kicked it out to Ray Allen for a three-pointer that forced overtime in Game 6. 

The Heat would go on to win the series that the Spurs could've closed out that night. Popovich tried to match Miami's five smalls lineup by making the switch but didn't compensate for Bosh being re-inserted on the final possession.

Of course when you're playing poker with "play" money, the decision on whether or not to go all-in is so much easier. If Beal should foul (and I still think he should've), consider the Love-to-James inbound was a bang-bang play. It has to be an instant and definitive decision. If there is any hesitation, he can't commit to it. That's a lot of procesing of thought in a short time frame and the percentages say James probably misses that shot 9 out of 10 times. 

James was 6 of 8 from three in the game and Love shot 6-for-10 from deep. Kyle Korver made 4 of 8. Even though Kyrie Irving shot just 2-for-7, he's known for making the impossible shots possible. Threes are Channing Frye's speciality and he was 1-for-3. Anyone else on Clevleand's roster, they can have that shot. 

This, however, was the one time James makes it.  If the Wizards are in a similar position later on in the season, will they change up?

The right answer depends on the day and the personnel on the floor – for both teams. If you subscribe to the theory that James gets "superstar" calls, that makes it even more complex. 

MORE WIZARDS: Barkley and Shaq say John Wall is East's best point guard

Quick Links

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

Forty two days have passed since the Feb. 6 trade between the Wizards and the Bulls, a deal that started a new era of sorts in Washington with the departure of Otto Porter Jr., a former third overall pick who had stuck with the franchise for a second contract. 

Though the confusion of that first night, as the Wizards informed Porter just before a game against the Bucks, has passed, both teams are still sorting things out and evaluating what they have as the end of the season nears.

Porter won't play on Wednesday night due to a shoulder injury as the Wizards battle the Bulls in Chicago at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. But as these teams square off now over a month later, it seems like a good time to look at how the deal has gone for them so far.

Basically, neither team has really taken off. The Wizards are 8-9 since the trade and the Bulls are 8-10. Porter has put up strong numbers, but has missed time due to various injuries. Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, the two players the Wizards acquired from Chicago, have also improved from their season stats while ostensibly benefiting from a change in scenery.

Porter averaged 12.6 points and shot 45.7 from the field and 36.9 percent from three with the Wizards this season. With the Bulls, he has put up 17.5 points while shooting 48.3 percent overall and 48.8 percent from long range. 

Perhaps most notable is the fact he's taking 13.4 total shots and 5.3 per game from three. Both would be career-highs if held for an entire season. For years, the narrative about him in D.C. was that he either wasn't aggressive enough to create his own shots or the Wizards failed him by not running plays with him in mind.

Parker has simply been much more efficient with the Wizards than he was in Chicago. He's averaging about the same amount of points - 14.8 compared to 14.3 with the Bulls - but his effective field goal percentage has raised from 51.4 to 60.7. The latter would rank seventh in the NBA if it qualified for leaderboards.

Portis is putting up 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds, both of which would be career-highs if carried for a full season. And he's shooting 45.6 percent from three, well above the 37.5 percent clip he posted in Chicago this year.

Both teams, interestingly enough, have seen a surge on offense. The Bulls are 23rd on the season in points scored (105.3), but since adding Porter are ninth, averaging nearly 10 more points per game (115). The Wizards are seventh on the season points (114.4), but since the deal top the entire league with 117.5 per game. 

Defensively, it has been a different story. Both the Wizards and Bulls rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive rating. Both teams were bad at defending before the deals and haven't shown improvement.

This trade, of course, will ultimately be judged for what happens well beyond this season. The Wizards gave up a valuable asset in Porter, who is only 25 and is under contract for two more years, albeit at arguably a steep price for his production. His contract loomed large in Washington, but can be viewed differently in Chicago because of their otherwise cheap roster of young talent.

Parker and Portis are both likely to hit free agency this offseason, Portis as a restricted free agent. Parker has a team option, but at $20 million it is unlikely to be picked up.

The Wizards could keep both of them, one or neither of them this offseason. And whichever way they go will significantly affect the way the trade is evaluated. If they part with either, the financial flexibility they will then get will have bearing on how the deal is graded.

But for now, both teams seem to be doing well with the pieces they got. All three have improved their numbers in the short period of time they have played with their new teams.


Quick Links

The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

USA TODAY Sports Images

The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

As Chase Hughes writes, it's been quite a year for the Wizards' roster due to injuries and trades. How many of these names can you list without checking?

Here's the complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season:

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Dwight Howard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Austin Rivers
Ian Mahinmi
Jeff Green
Tomas Satoransky
Chasson Randle
Jordan McRae
Devin Robinson
Troy Brown Jr.
Thomas Bryant
John Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Jabari Parker
Bobby Portis
Sam Dekker
Ron Baker
Gary Payton II
Okaro White
Jason Smith
Trevor Ariza

Read more here.