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Wizards rebuilding with veteran blocks


Wizards rebuilding with veteran blocks

Note: This is the latest installment in a ten-part series on the top storylines facing the Wizards this season. Check CSNwashington.com daily for additional entries.

The Wizards rebuild is now in to year three and the plan remains to grow with a young roster, but the team sprinkled in veterans this summer by adding forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. This clearly indicates the organization is tired of being a lottery team and believes now is the time to make a playoff push. With center Nene already in the fold, as a trade-deadline addition last season, the Wizards likely will go with all three in the starting lineup when the season kicks off later this month. The rebuild has taken a bit of a new look.

Okafor has averaged a double double for his career and brings a rugged presence to the Wizards frontcourt, while Ariza is a smooth shooting swingman. Both players, had sub-par seasons with the Hornets last year. Ariza averaged 11 points for New Orleans but shot only 41 percent from the field, while Okafor struggled with injury and played in only 27 games, averaging 10 points and 8 rebounds a game. Production and leadership is what the Wizards hope these two can bring to the team as the franchise tries to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

When Nene was healthy last season, the Wizards went 7-4 with him in the lineup. The big Brazilian center, averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds in 11 games for Washington, brings a calming presence offensively.

"Obviously with Emeka and Nene we've got guys that have been around the block, have been to the playoffs, have been on good teams and understand what it takes to do those things," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Nene's foot issue will be a season-long concern because he missed 11 games with plantar fasciitis last season and he will miss training camp with the same injury. The team hopes he is ready for the season opener later this month, but it's a huge question mark for the Wizards -- and will Nene be able to hold up?

Another concern is will these veteran additions stunt the growth of younger players like Kevin Serpahin, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker? All of these players head into either their second or third seasons and have logged considerable playing time. Now their playing time will be cut back now with Nene, Okafor and Ariza on the team.

"I think the more competition you have, whether it's one-on-one at your position or as a whole, makes you a better player and makes the team better," Wittman noted.

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Wizards power forward Markieff Morris. Morris looked back on the 2017-18 season and gave his side on what needs to be fixed.

Chris and Chase Hughes also had a heated debate about Bradley Beal not receiving any All-NBA votes. Chase is an awards voter and defended his ballot. Chris wasn't having any of it.

They also went into the conference finals and what it would mean if the Rockets beat the Warriors.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!