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Wizards' bench takes shape with Kelly Oubre, Sheldon McClellan

Wizards' bench takes shape with Kelly Oubre, Sheldon McClellan

The bench rotation has been constantly changing under Wizards coach Scott Brooks, but he may have found combinations that work after Sunday's 107-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks with Kelly Oubre and Sheldon McClellan factoring heavily into the victory.

Out, at least for now, are more experienced players such as Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton. 

The second-year Oubre came two points shy of tying his career-high with 17 points. The undrafted rookie McClellan had eight points, three assists and two steals, getting his production in the flow of the offense and not forcing shots to do so.

That's how a 12-point deficit was erased by Washington (18-18) when Oubre scored 10 on 4 of 5 shooting. It's how they closed, too, with McClellan getting five in the fourth quarter.  

"Our bench did a good job," Brooks said. "Sheldon played good minutes for us. Kelly came in and it's back-to-back good games for him."

Oubre drained a three-pointer on a beautiful ball reversal as Bradley Beal was closed out from shooting and Otto Porter made the extra pass. Then John Wall found him with a no-look pass to give the Wizards a 64-63 lead midway through the third.

His activity around the basket, three of Oubre's five rebounds were offensive, helped give Washington a 20-4 edge in second-chance points. Oubre, who will get left open based on how opponents cover, is 7-for-14 on three-pointers in the last three games. This is his best stretch of basketball since a Dec. 16 concussion interrupted what had been a stretch of solid play. It helped that he didn't have to contend with Giannis Antetokounmpo who was out sick for Milwaukee. 

"We had some conversations the last few days of making it happen on the defensive end," Brooks said. "Don't have this game plan that you're going to come in and score a bunch of points. Come in and affect the game defensively and the offense gets rewarded." 

It's the second game in a row that Thornton, who was erractic in the Wizards' 0-2 start to 2017, didn't leave the bench. Nicholson has 12 healthy scratches this season. 

This wasn't the 50-point performance from the reserves that the Wizards had in a blowout win over the lowly Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 30. This result is likely closer to what they can provide when running at optimimum level sans Ian Mahinmi when playing a quality opponent. 

Unlike his 27 points vs. Brooklyn, Trey Burke didn't score in 11 minutes but he had five assists and two steals. One of the thefts came after Markieff Morris was stripped by Greg Monroe, but Burke tracked down their outlet and fed McClellan for a layup and foul that produced an 89-83 lead with 8:57 left.

McClellan, who was able to get his done in just 12 minutes, then took a charge from Jabari Parker to negate a transition basket. In Friday's win vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, McClellan didn't convert a field goal but had two key assists during a 9-0 run to bring the Wizards back in the fourth quarter.

Jason Smith only logged five minutes and missed all three of his shots but still will factor into the rotation going forward. 

"The first half we gave them everything they wanted. Human nature kicked in. They didn't have Giannis and we kind of relaxed," Brooks said. "Can't do that. The second half we just played better."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Bucks]

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Wizards add veteran Lavoy Allen to group of training camp invites


Wizards add veteran Lavoy Allen to group of training camp invites

The Wizards will have six-year NBA veteran Lavoy Allen in to compete for a roster spot in their 2018-19 training camp, his agency announced on Wednesday. NBC Sports Washington has confirmed the deal.

Allen, 29, joins three other players who received training camp invites. They include Tiwian Kendley, Chris Chiozza and Chasson Randle.

Randle’s rights were sent to the Capital City Go-Go in a July trade. Chiozza and Kendley caught on with the Wizards first during the Las Vegas Summer League before getting spots in training camp.

Allen’s rights were acquired by the Go-Go in the G-League expansion draft last month. A 6-foot-9 forward, Allen has played for the Sixers and Pacers at the NBA level. He holds career averages of 4.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 388 total games.

Allen will push for a final roster spot, though the Wizards have more depth than they did at this time last year. Barring something unforeseen, they have 14 guys under contract in addition to their two two-way players, Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae.

Though the Wizards can keep a 15th player, they don’t have to by league rules. Last year, they opted to leave roster spots open for most of the season.

Regardless of whether he makes the NBA roster, Allen could be a solid option for the Go-Go as they begin their inaugural season.


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Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota but the Wizards are not on his shortlist

USA Today Sports

Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota but the Wizards are not on his shortlist

Just days before NBA training camps are set to begin, All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler is trying to force his way out of Minnesota.

The four-time All-Star has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, according to ESPN, has given them a list of three preferred teams: the Knicks, Nets and Clippers.

That list is extra-pertinent because Butler has a player option after this upcoming season, and he is reportedly willing to sign a contract extension with any of those three.

That does not mean the Wolves will honor his request, but any team other than those three that trades for him will be at risk of losing him after one year. That risk worked out well for the Thunder this past year in their trade for Paul George, but every situation is different.

Butler’s list tells us a few things about his priorities. For one, he wants to play in a major market. New York and L.A. are the top two markets in the NBA. To that point, it’s interesting he has omitted the Lakers.

For those wondering if the Wizards would be a fit, those factors would seemingly work against them retaining him beyond one season. Though D.C. is a big market, it’s not L.A. or New York. And Butler would not be the clear star in Washington with two All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal already in place.

That is all beyond what the Wizards would have to give up for Butler. Though he’s not quite Kawhi Leonard, the return probably wouldn’t be far off. The Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan, a perennial All-NBA selection, among other pieces. The Thunder had to part with Victor Oladipo in their package for George and that has since proven to be a steep price.

Maybe the Wizards could offer Otto Porter, Jr. and/or some combination of draft picks and young, emerging players. But it would be a hefty price given the risk of him potentially leaving, and though Butler is very good, he’s not as young or as good as Leonard, for comparison.

To give up the farm in a trade, that player better make his new team significantly better. It’s questionable if Butler could do that for the Wizards.

The Wizards have done their due diligence in checking in on George, Leonard and others who have become available in recent years. It would not be surprising if they make a call for Butler, but as of now not enough adds up to make it a perfect match.