Quick Links

Wizards' perimeter defense compromises Marcin Gortat at rim

Wizards' perimeter defense compromises Marcin Gortat at rim

The record is broken. It's a different day -- Saturday to be exact -- and the same old problems for the Wizards. They can't defend the perimeter properly, they know it and the latest proof comes in the form of a 114-111 loss to one of the worst offenses in the NBA. 

"We're not on the same page defensively at all," said Beal, who had 34 points on 12-for-26 shooting and playing 40 minutes vs. the Miami Heat. "We can't just guard our guys individually, just keep them in front of us. We got to work with that first. I think we rely too much on our help. We're putting too much pressure on our other teammates when we're just letting our guy go by us. We're just not having that effort or we're slow on some of the rotations."

This is exactly what Marcin Gortat said two years ago, which drew the ire of then-teammate Paul Pierce, about them compromising the frontline by allowing too much pentration into the lane.

That was then, after a 38-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015:

You just got to man up and play defense. Each one of us needs to step in and play one-on-one defense. Simple as that. Just stop your guy in front of you. That’s it. You can’t rely constantly on help, and help, and help, and stuff like that. You just got to man up and play defense, and do whatever it takes to win your matchup.

This is now, with teammates echoing Gortat's concerns:

Miami, 3-8 entering the game, was the NBA's 22nd-ranked three-point shooting team at 33.6% but went 13-for-27 to finish at 48.1% vs. the Wizards. They made 43 of 85 shots overall for 50.6% and scored 19 points more than they averaged per game this season (94.5) which was third-worst. 

"They were beating us off the dribble, straight-line drives and they were getting offensive rebounds," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, whose team gave up 18, including nine alone to Hassan Whiteside. "Then we were scrambling and they were getting open threes. We have to be better defensively. We've talked about this many times. It's a process that we're going through and we have to figure out together. But we're getting beat off the dribble."

[RELATED: Film study: Marcin Gortat responsible for Dwight Howard's outburst ... fact or fiction?]

The Wizards led 42-35 midway through the second quarter and then Miami went on a run that included five layups to take the lead 60-59 entering the half. 

"A lot of the times we're switching and still getting beat," Brooks said of the pick-and-roll defense as Goran Dragic (22 points), Dion Waiters (16) and Josh Richardson (15) took advantage. "That's usually the safeguarrd, to just get out of the coverage, man up and guard your man. Dragic was doing that. Waiters was doing that. Richardson was doing that. They were just attacking us. ... When you give up layups, all of a sudden the basket becomes big and you're a three-point shooter and that's what happened tonight. They had guys who normally don't make threes, make threes."

John Wall also had 34 points for Washington, but his focus was what they didn't right on the defensive side of the ball.

"Those basically were workout shots. There was nobody there to contest them," Wall said of the perimeter defense. "Our scoring wasn't the problem for us. We couldn't keep them from getting to the paint. Coach told us before the game they're one of the best teams in the league getting to the paint. They did a great job of spacing the floor and making wide open shots."

Derrick Williams, who shot 14% from three coming into the game, was 2-for-4 (50%). Richardson was shooting 31.3% and shot 4-for-6 (66.7%).

"We could've battled a little bit better," Wall said of being outrebounded 48-38. "March did a great job, still having 16 rebounds. You give him credit for that because he was helping sometimes on the drives. He was just there by himself getting rebounds, getting putbacks."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' blown chances in loss to Heat]

Quick Links

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

Forty two days have passed since the Feb. 6 trade between the Wizards and the Bulls, a deal that started a new era of sorts in Washington with the departure of Otto Porter Jr., a former third overall pick who had stuck with the franchise for a second contract. 

Though the confusion of that first night, as the Wizards informed Porter just before a game against the Bucks, has passed, both teams are still sorting things out and evaluating what they have as the end of the season nears.

Porter won't play on Wednesday night due to a shoulder injury as the Wizards battle the Bulls in Chicago at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. But as these teams square off now over a month later, it seems like a good time to look at how the deal has gone for them so far.

Basically, neither team has really taken off. The Wizards are 8-9 since the trade and the Bulls are 8-10. Porter has put up strong numbers, but has missed time due to various injuries. Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, the two players the Wizards acquired from Chicago, have also improved from their season stats while ostensibly benefiting from a change in scenery.

Porter averaged 12.6 points and shot 45.7 from the field and 36.9 percent from three with the Wizards this season. With the Bulls, he has put up 17.5 points while shooting 48.3 percent overall and 48.8 percent from long range. 

Perhaps most notable is the fact he's taking 13.4 total shots and 5.3 per game from three. Both would be career-highs if held for an entire season. For years, the narrative about him in D.C. was that he either wasn't aggressive enough to create his own shots or the Wizards failed him by not running plays with him in mind.

Parker has simply been much more efficient with the Wizards than he was in Chicago. He's averaging about the same amount of points - 14.8 compared to 14.3 with the Bulls - but his effective field goal percentage has raised from 51.4 to 60.7. The latter would rank seventh in the NBA if it qualified for leaderboards.

Portis is putting up 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds, both of which would be career-highs if carried for a full season. And he's shooting 45.6 percent from three, well above the 37.5 percent clip he posted in Chicago this year.

Both teams, interestingly enough, have seen a surge on offense. The Bulls are 23rd on the season in points scored (105.3), but since adding Porter are ninth, averaging nearly 10 more points per game (115). The Wizards are seventh on the season points (114.4), but since the deal top the entire league with 117.5 per game. 

Defensively, it has been a different story. Both the Wizards and Bulls rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive rating. Both teams were bad at defending before the deals and haven't shown improvement.

This trade, of course, will ultimately be judged for what happens well beyond this season. The Wizards gave up a valuable asset in Porter, who is only 25 and is under contract for two more years, albeit at arguably a steep price for his production. His contract loomed large in Washington, but can be viewed differently in Chicago because of their otherwise cheap roster of young talent.

Parker and Portis are both likely to hit free agency this offseason, Portis as a restricted free agent. Parker has a team option, but at $20 million it is unlikely to be picked up.

The Wizards could keep both of them, one or neither of them this offseason. And whichever way they go will significantly affect the way the trade is evaluated. If they part with either, the financial flexibility they will then get will have bearing on how the deal is graded.

But for now, both teams seem to be doing well with the pieces they got. All three have improved their numbers in the short period of time they have played with their new teams.


Quick Links

The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

USA TODAY Sports Images

The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

As Chase Hughes writes, it's been quite a year for the Wizards' roster due to injuries and trades. How many of these names can you list without checking?

Here's the complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season:

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Dwight Howard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Austin Rivers
Ian Mahinmi
Jeff Green
Tomas Satoransky
Chasson Randle
Jordan McRae
Devin Robinson
Troy Brown Jr.
Thomas Bryant
John Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Jabari Parker
Bobby Portis
Sam Dekker
Ron Baker
Gary Payton II
Okaro White
Jason Smith
Trevor Ariza

Read more here.