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Wizards roll into Brooklyn where Nets, Blatche await


Wizards roll into Brooklyn where Nets, Blatche await

The Wizards take to the court Monday night in Brooklyn for their fourth preseason game of the season. You can watch the game on our air (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). When you do, take note of these three points...

*Healthy bodies: We already know the Wizards (1-2) will be up against a bit at the point guard spot between now and likely Thanksgiving without John Wall in the lineup. The timeline for Nene's return from his plantar fasciitis remains unclear. Back before the start of the regular season or by opening night, shrugs. Starting with media day, these two absences, baked into the preseason cake. Neither Emeka Okafor nor Trevor Booker not playing a second during the opening three games, not so much. Chris Singleton sitting out every second of Saturday's win at Cleveland or Kevin Seraphin leaving after five minutes with a calf injury, the same. Randy Wittman already had a tough enough task figuring out how best to blend in the many  new pieces with the existing youthful options already here. No Wall or Nene certainly slows the process. Not having a legitimate NBA rotation especially in the frontcourt takes the job to another level.

*The lineup: Wittman promised changes in the starting five for the third preseason game after consecutive offensively challenged and slow starts. Out went Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price, in went Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Jannero Pargo. The Wizards trailed by eight points after the first quarter, but the game never got out of hand from there and ended with a winning result. In roles both ultimately figure to find themselves in, the rookie Beal maintained his poised and aggressive play as a starter while Crawford continued with his usual scoring knack off the bench.

The other spots, harder to gauge. Ariza's shooting touch yet to make an appearance in a Wizards uniform, making his appearance in the regular season opening starting lineup at Cleveland iffy than one might have imagined following the trade with New Orleans. At the point, Shelvin Mack has zero starts to date. He also has committed zero turnovers while Jannero Pargo is credited with 12 over the last two games.

*The captain: The Wizards will receive an early look at the new-look Nets, a franchise in a new city (Brooklyn) with a new star player (Joe Johnson) playing in a brand new arena (Barclays Center). All angles, legitimate headlines - just not the one on the minds of folks living in or rooting for the team representing the DMV. Andray Blatche now dons a Nets jersey, having joined up with Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez after receiving his walking papers (and a fat check) from the Wizards this summer after seven largely chaotic seasons. Coming off the bench for Brooklyn, Blatche has reportedly been a positive presence for the Nets, coming up with 12 points, five rebounds and the game-winning basket in the team's preseason opening 108-105 overtime win against the 76ers.

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

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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:


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


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


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