Wizards

Quick Links

Then and now: Comparing Wizards' shooting options

usatsi_8393881_141983962_lowres.jpg

Then and now: Comparing Wizards' shooting options

The constant beef with the Wizards last regular season involved their lack of nightly 3-point shot attempts in the current bombs away era.

The logical pushback noted the lack of viable perimeter shooters on the roster led to fewer attempts. Washington finished ninth in 3-point percentage (36.0), but 27th in attempts (16.8).

Things changed in the playoffs when the small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at power forward - a look coach Randy Wittman passed on during the regular season because he didn't want the 37-year-old dealing with the extra pounding - took the court. Drew Gooden remaining in the rotation over Kris Humphries also played a factor.

Washington took 6.5 more 3-pointers per game (23.3) in the playoffs. Yet even with uptick in 3-point tries, the Wizards still lagged behind most playoff teams in part because of the overall dearth of outside options. They shot a playoff-best 40% from deep, but ranked 12th among 16 playoff teams in attempts even with Pierce and Bradley Beal launching at will.

The Wizards added four players to the roster this offseason: Veterans Jared Dudley (38.5% career 3-point shooter), Gary Neal (38.1) and Alan Anderson (34.6) along with first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr. All are 3-point threats (Oubre is the shakiest simply because the NBA line is deeper than college arc, but he sank 36% at Kansas). In theory, only the rookie doesn't figure to be part of the rotation most nights.

Before looking ahead, here's a look at last season's primary 10-11 man rotation plus additional backups:

Starters: Nene, Paul Pierce, Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, John Wall

Reserves: Kris Humphries, Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, Rasual Butler, Ramon Sessions

Next up: Drew Gooden, Garrett Temple

Next, next up: Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, Will Bynum

Of the top 10, only Beal (team-high 40.9%), Pierce and Butler qualified as true 3-point shooters, in that they're quality enough shooters to design plays for and will put fear in defenses if left alone.

However, Butler departed from such classification over the majority of the second half of the season. Wall attempted the fourth most on the team (2.7), but only sank a paltry 30% of those tries. Porter improved in the playoffs, but still isn't a knockdown shooter yet. Sessions showed a consistent touch with the Wizards, but not historically.

Ultimately that gave coach Randy Wittman 3-5 deep threats on good nights (remember they also must play defense so playing time isn't just about shooting).

Now look at the upcoming season's projected regular season rotation:

Starters: Nene, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, John Wall

Reserves: Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson, Kris Humphries, Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions, Drew Gooden

Next up: Garrett Temple

Next, next up: Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, Kelly Oubre Jr.

Really only Nene, Gortat and possibly Humphries are complete non-deep threats. If we assume Porter's shooting improvement continues entering his third season, that means six of the top 11 are legitimate 3-point options. That doesn't account for Sessions and Wall; the possibility that Humphries extended the length of his shot to beyond the arc; Temple (37.5% last season); or that Webster's balky back improves.

Nene remains the assumed starter until someone in authority says otherwise. However, the presence of Dudley, seven years younger than Pierce, means Wittman can use a stretch-4 look more often in season.

That Gooden is the de facto fourth true big man over Seraphin means another deep threat in the regular mix, though the 34-year-old will likely once again be a spot player during the regular season.

Gooden, the best 3-point threat among the big men, didn't truly join the rotation until Humphries' late season injury. He then never left. His presence at stretch-4 along with Pierce changed the look. 

The addition of Dudley, Neal an Anderson will change the look as well, certainly for 82 regular season games.

MORE WIZARDS: Players union head responds to NBA commissioner

Quick Links

Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

kawhi-john-wall.png
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

WIZARDS TIPOFF PODCAST:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy and so do Josh Norman and Wale

usatsi_10956775.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy and so do Josh Norman and Wale

The 2018 MLB All-Star celebrity softball game produced an unlikely friendship, one between an NBA superstar and one of the world's most famous scientists.

Perhaps friendship is a strong word, but for whatever reason, Wizards All-Star guard John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy.

During the game, Nye — who grew up in the D.C. area and is a Nationals fan — poked and infield single and Wall celebrated like Kelly Oubre, Jr. just threw down a windmill dunk. He ran out to first base to congratulate Nye, who, at 62 years old can apparently still swing a bat.

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and rapper Wale joined Wall to celebrate:

Perhaps Wall was caught up in the absurdity of the entire event, which is by all means absurd. Wall was on a team with Nye, Tim Kurkjian, Jennie Finch, Andre Dawson and many other celebrities. They were playing opposite a team with Jamie Foxx and Jess Mendoza.

The whole thing was bizarrely fun and Wall and Nye's moment certainly stood out.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!