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Wizards media day: 19 players, for now

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Wizards media day: 19 players, for now

Another Wizards media day has come and gone,meaning the latest training camp is on the cusp of tipping off. Before we get too far down the line of position battles, injury updates and who said what, it might be wise to simply remind everyone who is here.With the addition of veteran point guard Jannero Pargo, the Wizards enter the weeklong camp with a 19-man roster. That includes John Wall, who is expected to miss eight weeks with a leg stress fracture, and Nene, who was not quite ready to offer a timetable for his return from plantar fasciitis.That leaves at least 17 other bodies available for Randy Wittman's first training camp as Wizards head coach. The general position breakdown and projected hierarchy is as follows:Power forward: Nene, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, Brian Cook, Shavlik RandolphSmall forward: Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, Martell Webster, Cartier MartinCenter: Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin, Earl BarronShooting guard: Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Steven GrayPoint guard: John Wall, Jannero Pargo, A.J. Price, Shelvin MackAs for today, all the players spoke with the media - or at least were made available on the team's practice court. As expected, lots of "what did you think when you heard about John Wall's injury" questions were asked. Jordan Crawford's quote here proved rather atypical, though there is nothing ordinary about replacing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft (Taking that lofty status up a notch, Wall casually referred to himself the basketballeras once in a lifetime to find people like that.) Including Pargo's partially guaranteed contract, 15 players have fully or partially guaranteed deals. Of the non-roster players, Cook, a nine-year veteran, has the best chance of making the roster especially if Nene's injury lingers into the regular season. Gray's outside shooting gives him a punchers chance. The odds are much steeper, if not off the charts, for Randolph and Barron barring additional injuries.As discussed earlier today, Pargo joins the Plan B point guard options. Make me guess now and I'll say that starting the season he comes off the bench.I kind of like his energy and veteran presence in that scenario - plus it puts him in position tonurture the 19-year-old Beal while providing a 1-2 perimeter punch off the bench. That makes Price- and his solid game- the starter with Wall out. Once Wall is back, Price'sminutes could fade away from there with Pargo perhaps being the better option for the needed8-10 minute a game role. As for Mack, the addition of not one but two veteran point guards puts not only his primary backup role in jeopardy, but also his place on the roster. Assuming the Wizards keep 15 players, the final spot could come down to Mack or Cook. The prognosis for Wall and Nene's health as the Oct. 30 season opener at Cleveland nears could be the tipping point.The battle for minutes behind Ariza, the presumed starter,at small forward is another one to watch. Singleton started 51 games and played in all 66 as a rookie, but if the Wizards are to improve their outside shooting, Martin or Webster need to play. The two swingmen could take a turn in the backcourt, but Crawford and Beal figure to gobble up the shooting guard minutes.Speaking of Nene, I tried pinning down the easy going big man or at least getting any kind of specific timetable for his return from the plantar fasciitis injury he reacquired during the Summer Olympics. Me: Do you think you'll be available for training camp this week?Nene: "I don't give specific time. I am just going to control my act, go to therapy, rest and do what is possible to get well." Me: How about tomorrow?Nene:"Same answer."I'll fill you in on tomorrow's dramatic findings, but the apparent goal for Nene's full return is opening night with anything else being a bonus.Training camp officially opens Tuesday at George Mason with a morning and evening practice session, a plan in place during the bulk of the week spent on the Fairfax campus. The first of eight preseason games is Oct. 7 at Charlotte and the final day of camp is Oct. 9.And for those wondering, no, there will not bea Gilbert Arenas sighting unless the ex-Wizard and current free agent joins a team that plays these Wizards. Just wanted to make that clear.Ben Standig blogs about the Wizards, Redskinsand the D.C. area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @benstandig.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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