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Wizards-Pistons preview: Point guard battle


Wizards-Pistons preview: Point guard battle

Matchup: Washington Wizards (5-4) at Detroit Pistons (7-5)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (TV: CSN Plus)

When last we met: First meeting this season. Washington won the 2014-15 season series 2-1 with each team winning at home.

Streaks: The Wizards, after losing three in a row, have won two straight including Tuesday's 115-86 victory over the Bucks. The Pistons, coached by Stan Van Gundy, have also turned things around following a recent skid. Detroit dumped Minnesota for a 96-86 road win after defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Three things to watch

What's the deal with Beal?: The deal is Washington's wing guard returned to full practice Friday. That's sincere progress and moves Beal a step closer to playing after sitting out the last two weeks with a left shoulder contusion. Before the injury, the fourth-year guard played at an All-Star level, averaging 22.7 points while shooting 47 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The Wizards won their last two without their leading scoring thanks in part to the reliable Garrett Temple, who started in both victories and averaged 14 points with 2.5 3-pointers.

Double-double Drummond: While it's far too early for comparisons to the best centers of all-time, Pistons big man Andre Drummond sure is producing like one. In 12 games, the powerful 6-foot-11 threat has recorded 12 double-doubles. That includes 21 points and 11 rebounds against the Timberwolves plus three 20-20 games and nine games with at least 17 rebounds. Yeesh. The matchup with Marcin Gortat pits power against power. However, the Wizards-Pistons matchup on the boards is one-sided on paper. Detroit ranks second with 48 rebounds per contest while Washington sits 25th (42.2). That might be expected because of Drummond, but the gap also reflects Washington's pace-and-space approach this season. The team's played even on the boards in three meetings last season.

Eighty million dollar men: John Wall certainly noticed when Pistons guard Reggie Jackson signed a 5-year, $80 million contract this summer. That's because it matched what the Wizards' guard inked in 2013. That speaks more to the rising salary cap than perception of the two guards. Wall is a two-time All-Star and sleeper league MVP candidate. The thing is, Jackson is also making an early pitch for All-Star consideration thanks to averaging 20.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds. Wall is third in the NBA -- behind Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo -- with 8.6 assists while scoring 17.6 points.

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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. 



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.