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Singleton getting jump on Summer League

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Singleton getting jump on Summer League

Barring trade, injury or alien abduction, likely four players on the Wizards summer league roster will be with the team at the start of the 2012-13 season. Of that quartet, Chris Singleton arguably has the most to gain from a strong showing during the teams mini-camp and when the games turn real-ish in Las Vegas.Jan Veselys jumper may still be a work in progress, but as the sixth overall pick in last years draft, the team will provide room to grow. Bradley Beal is the flavor of the month and the guard with deep range addresses a major team need. As it current stands, Shelvin Mack remains the backup to starting point John Wall, a role that keeps him in the playing rotation.That leaves Singleton, who became the first Washington rookie to play in every regular season since Jeff Ruland during the 1981-82 season. The Florida State product started strong, appeared overwhelmed at times and struggled on both ends of the court as the season progressed. Now with Trevor Ariza in the mix, with Vesely and Trevor Booker potential poaching minutes at the 3-spot, Singleton could be the odd man out on most nights next season.
That is why this post-Tuesday morning practice quote from Randy Wittman is worth noting.Chris had the best practice Ive seen him have since he's been here, the Wizards coach said. All last year and these first three this year. I see a player that has a year under his belt and got some playing time and he's come out here and I'm very pleased with his effort.Asked why his coach gushed about his latest practice, Singleton said, "I just have a lot to prove. Last year I felt like I underachieved. This year Im just going out there and just playing."Thrust into the starting lineupin the eighth game of his initial professional campaign after the miniest of NBA offseasons, Singleton averaged 4.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Though some his pre and post All-Star stats were comparable, Singletons shot disappeared during the middle of the season, hitting only 29 of his attempts during February. That is what Singleton meant by underachieving.Noted as defensive-minded prospect coming out of college, the 6-foot-8 forward was on the receiving of some high-scoring nights by some of the games elite small forwards like Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce.Still, Wittman dismissed the idea that Singleton lost confidence at times last season. Thats not to say playing time is necessarily there for him either just because the 22-year-old is part of the Wizards youthful brigade.Its got to become a situation where your playing time is rewarded, and its not just because I'm a young guy I know I'm going to play, Wittman said. Sometimes I worry about that when you're in situations with a lot of young guys that in their mind say 'I know I'm going to play' I read it in the paper every day I hear it, management, ownership 'young guys are going to play'. Now, is your effort always going to be at the maximum level. Thats where I do a little bit of worrying.This brings us back to the recent deal that brought Ariza, another defensive-oriented forward, and Emeka Okafor to Washington. On the surface, adding two established veterans could push the green talent down the depth chart, especially with a playoff spot deemed the franchise goal this season. Wittman sees a competitive situation, one that ideally raises the daily focus for all involved.This isn't a bad situation for Chris or any of our young guys, said Wittman, before projecting his belief onto the rising talent. I've got to perform now, Ive got to earn those minutes, and if not, there's somebody else there coach is going to look at and say hey, go out there and see what you can do.

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?