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Wiz expectations growing

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Wiz expectations growing

With draft pick Bradley Beal now in the Wizards fold, the rotation and expectations begin to take shape even though training camp is still more than three months away.

As the 3 overall pick, the initial thought is that Beal would be the opening night starter in the back court with point guard John Wall, but coach Randy Wittman has been quick to shoot down those notions saying that everyone will have to earn their minutes.

The 19-year old Beal will compete with third-year pro Jordan Crawford for the starting two guard spot. Crawford averaged 14 points a game last season but shot just 40 percent from the field and only 29 percent from three-point range. Crawford is an intense competitor so he will make it as hard as possible for Beal to take his job.

Newly acquired veteran forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza likely will shore up the 3 and 4 spots respectively, with Nene holding down the center spot.With Okafor set to make 13 million and Ariza's price tag at 7 million, it will be hard to start the season with those players coming off the bench. They essentially have to start.

Players who had significant playing time and multiple starts for the 20-46 Wizards last season will have to compete to get those minutes back. That means forwards Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker have a lot to prove to the Wizards coaches this summer and in training camp.

Seraphin was a pleasant surprise in the second half of the season stepping in for the injured Nene,averaging15.5 points and 7 rebounds in the final month of the season. Seraphin would likely start the season as a backup power forward and center.

Singleton is coming off a rookie season in which he had 51 starts at small forward andaveragedonly 5 points and 4 rebounds. Known as a defender, Singleton must simply be more productive offensively going forward. He would start the year as a backup to Ariza.

Singleton was the 18th pick in the 2011 NBA draft while forward Jan Vesely was the 6th overall selection and Vesely also has to improve his game dramatically to garner more playing time next season. Vesely put up just 4 points and 4 rebounds in his first season as a pro. In 20 starts, Vesely fared better, averaging 7 points a contest.

Vesely and Singleton will both participate in the Las Vegas Summer League this month,somethingthey couldn't do last year because of the lockout.

Trevor Booker will be entering a key third season with the Wizards. Booker had some very good games before a foot injury sidelined him for the last 20 games of the season. Booker averaged nearly 10 points and 8 rebounds a game in 32 starts at power froward. Booker is an energy guy and plays hard every possession so the Wizards need to find a role for him.

So right now looking into the crystal ball, the Wizards will have a much different looking starting five to start to the season with Wall, Beal, Okafor, Ariza and Nene penciled in. We will see if the now back-up players have anything to say or do about it come training camp.

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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? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

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