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VIDEO: Another stretch-four option emerging for Wizards?


VIDEO: Another stretch-four option emerging for Wizards?

Here's how we found out Kris Humphries is serious about becoming a 3-point threat.

First, a look back. Humphries, who possesses a strong mid-range game, admitted following the season that he never worked on the deep shot, but that was about to change. The modern NBA demanded it.

As a reminder, Humphries received virtually no playing time during the playoffs in part because he's not accomplished from beyond the arc. For his career, just 2 of 26 on 3-pointers. The 11-year veteran last made a three during his rookie season. On the other hand, Drew Gooden is helpful from distance and so he played plenty.  The postseason rotation shrunk per usual and Humphries only watched.

When news broke last month that new Wizard Jared Dudley needed back surgery, plenty of questions surfaced including who would help step into the stretch-4 should Dudley miss any time.

Half serious, half joking, I tweeted out the following:

Not long after my tweet, I received a response on Twitter from someone saying the 6-foot-10 forward was indeed working on his 3-point shot and video proof would be provided.

Turns out, the tweet came from an account associated with Humphries' agent, Josh Ketroser. More communication took place. Soon enough, a super short video of the big man taking a super long shot hit my Inbox. Another longer video followed (see above).

Playing the stretch-4 role isn't just about spacing the floor, but defending the likes of Paul Millsap and Carmelo Anthony on the perimeter. Foot speed isn't strength of Humphries or Gooden, which is why they historically work from 15 feet and in. Dudley is the best two-way threat on the roster. From the look of it, Humphries is at least trying to show he can make defenses think twice about leaving him alone on the offensive end.

We might hear more about Humphries' range this week if he's part of the mini-camp in Los Angeles John Wall organized. (Humphries is supposedly in LA after spending part of the summer in his native Minnesota).

"Drew can make those shots. I think Kris Humphries has been working on them. Nene’s been working on 3’s," Wall said to CSNwashington.com at his charitable event Saturday. "That’s what they say, I haven’t seen them. We’re going to have a mini-camp ...All the guys are going to come out. We’ll see if they’ve been working on them or not."

As the above video shows, Humphries has to some degree. Video of a player taking jumpers isn't exactly like learning about the Watergate break-in, but this line of communication was a bit different. Asking for a basic synopsis of why he sent the videos, Ketroser suggested via email, "Kris' agent sent me over a little taste of what's to come this year."

We'll see what Randy Wittman thinks about that. Still, as the internet will tell you, anything beats just focusing on the mid-range shot.

MORE WIZARDS: How Beal's contract discussions are same (and different) vs. Wall's

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For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

Winners of six of their last nine games, the Washington Wizards have breathed new life into their season, now with revitalized hopes of making the playoffs. On Monday, they will get a shot at one of the teams standing in their way.

With a 2 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards host the Detroit Pistons in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference and the Pistons are ninth.

With a win over the Pistons, the Wizards would move into a tie for ninth, just one spot out of the playoff picture. Though more than two months remain in the regular season, the Wizards can gain some valuable ground.

Whether that is on their mind going into the match-up depends on whom you ask.

"It's definitely too early to talk about it," head coach Scott Brooks said.

"I think there are some very important games [coming up] where we go head-to-head against the guys who are around us in the standings," guard Tomas Satoransky said, singing a different tune.

Satoransky doesn't just see an opportunity against the Pistons on Monday, he mentioned Friday's game against the Magic as well. Orlando is one spot behind the Wizards in 11th.

The standings are one thing. Even more important for the big picture is head-to-head records, which determine tiebreakers for playoff seeding. The Wizards are 0-1 against the Pistons, having lost in Detroit on Dec. 26. 

A win on Monday would tie the season series with only one meeting left, on Feb. 11. If the Pistons win on Monday, they would lock up the tiebreaker.

The Wizards have reasons to be confident going into this meeting with the Pistons. While they are playing their best basketball of the season, Detroit has been in a tailspin. Going back to Dec. 3, they are 7-18. Only the Cavaliers have more losses during that stretch.

In those 25 games, the Pistons have been 28th in the NBA in offensive rating (103.6) and effective field goal percentage (49.6). They have committed the third-most turnovers per game (15.6).

Injuries haven't been the reason, but the Pistons have a few to report entering Monday's game. All-Star center Andre Drummond missed their last game on Saturday with a concussion and is considered day-to-day. Guard Ish Smith is also day-to-day after missing Saturday's game with a groin injury.

The Wizards have a chance to beat a reeling team and gain some control of their playoff hopes. We'll see if they take advantage.


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5 things to know about new Wizards guard Gary Payton II, also known as 'The Mitten'

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5 things to know about new Wizards guard Gary Payton II, also known as 'The Mitten'

The Wizards are set to add guard Gary Payton II on a 10-day contract to fill their 14th roster spot. Here are five things to know about the Wizards' newest player...

1. Payton II is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton Sr. His father made nine All-Star teams, nine All-NBA teams, won a title with the Heat on 2006 and is considered one of the best defensive players of all-time. Payton starred for the Seattle Supersonics in the 1990s, so naturally Payton II is originally from Seattle.

2. His father also had one of the best NBA nicknames of all-time. He was known as 'The Glove.' So, according to Basketball Reference, Payton II is sometimes referred to as 'The Mitten.' 

3. Payton II, a point guard, is listed at 6-foot-3 and shoots left-handed. He has appeared in 29 total NBA games split between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He was Thomas Bryant's teammate in L.A. 

Payton II also spent time with the Portland Trailblazers in 2018-19 training camp before getting released in October. Since then, he played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G-League where he averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.4 steals in 13 games.

4. Just like his father, Payton II played his college ball at Oregon State. With the Beavers, Payton II became the first player to win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year twice. He averaged 2.8 steals per game in college.

5. Payton goes by Payton II, not by Payton Jr. That's because his half-brother is Gary Payton Jr. Payton Sr. named two of his sons after himself. There is also a third Payton brother named Julian, according to Payton II's college bio.