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Wizards sputter in another loss to Raptors 97-88: Five takeaways

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Wizards sputter in another loss to Raptors 97-88: Five takeaways

All three meetings between the Wizards and Toronto Raptors, who they deposed in the first round of last season's playoffs, have come down to the wire -- except for what took place at Verizon Center in front of 17,064 on Friday.

The Wizards (15-19) lost their third game in a row -- and third in as many games with Toronto -- as they scored just 14 third-quarter points and committed 23 turnovers to lose control, 97-88.

John Wall (21 points, four assists, three blocks) looked more like the player he was in November than the Eastern Conference player of the month for December. Otto Porter (16 points), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) for his 16th double-double and Ramon Sessions (14 points) were the only Wizards to reach double figures.

DeMar DeRozan had a season-high 35 points for Toronto (23-15). His previous high of 34 came against the Wizards, too. Kyle Lowry had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

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The offensive outburst that the Wizards had in a 39-point third quarter vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers was absent. The Raptors broke open the game with a 16-4 run to enter the fourth ahead 73-61.

  • DeRozan, who went 15-for-15 from the foul line in a 94-91 on Dec. 30, shot 12-for-13 from the stripe. His shot selection leaves a lot to be desired but he knows how to force whistles by creating contact. But this game turned because of the Raptors' defense. Bismack Biyombo made the Wizards second-guess and outright freeze when they got inside the paint. Biyombo (0 points, six rebounds, four blocks) was such a game-changer that Jonas Valanciunas played sparingly afterwards.
  • After seven turnovers in Wednesday's loss, Wall had four in the first half alone en route to seven again. One of them was a bullet to Porter cutting on a fast break that was impossible to corral. Then when Wall started to deliver more catchable passes, the Wizards had gotten the turnover bug and were fumbling everything. They had 12 first-half turnovers that produced 12 points for Toronto. Neither team was very responsible with the ball. The Wizards had 23 giveaways and the Raptors, who got by because of better defense, had 19.
  • Gortat's play will be overshadowed by a modest stat line and yet another loss. But if anyone is complaining about his play lately they're just not watching. Forget what a boxscore shows. His rotations and help have been almost flawless. In this one, DeRozan shot 5 of 14 in the first half because, in part, of Gortat's challenging over the top to alter several of his shots. On consecutive plays he forced DeRozan into an airball at the rim and changed the arc on a floater that went off the back rim. After Wall had his shot blocked, it was Gortat who hustled back and caused Lowry to change his mind at the last minute and make a bad pass for a turnover. Gortat fought Jonas Valanciunas for position before the catch in the low post, forced him off his spot and to turn away from the basket on the shot. When it went up and Gortat contested, Valanciunas barely drew iron. Lowry got into the lane early in the third quarter and it was Gortat's help by going vertical that caused him to lose the ball and produce a transition basket for Temple. The rim can be protected by good position defense (see the Boston Celtics). It doesn't require Gortat to be Hassan Whiteside. 
  • Rookie Kelly Oubre has seen his time decrease, but he was inserted for the first time with 2:19 left so Porter wouldn't pick up his third foul. Exactly a minute later with the Wizards desperate for a basket, Oubre spotted up for his only shot and made the three-pointer for their final points before the break. The Wizards went into the locker room tied at 47 but it's this sort of efficiency in spot minutes that could get Oubre time again. Right now, his chances are limited.
  • Drew Gooden returned to play for the second time since Nov. 17 and made his first field goal since Oct. 31, a three-pointer, but that was the extent of his impact being on a minutes restriction (10). Nene, playing his second game in a row, had turnover on his first possession and only could play 13 minutes because he's on a restriction, too. His physicality helped in the first half on Biyombo who didn't have a rebound in eight minutes.

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Keita Bates-Diop

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Keita Bates-Diop

School: Ohio State
Position: Small forward/power forward
Age: 22
Height: 6-9
Weight: 224
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 35

2017/18 stats: 19.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.6 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 35.9 3PT% (1.9 3PT/5.4 3PA), 79.4 FT%
Player comparison: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 26th, NBADraft.net 41st, Bleacher Report 21st, Sports Illustrated 31st

5 things to know:

*Bates-Diop is a uniquely versatile player who could fit in very well with positionless basketball. He is the size of a small forward, but has the wingspan to play bigger and the athleticism to guard multiple positions. Defense could be the way he makes his name early on in his NBA career. He has proven uniquely adept at blocking shots for his size, averaging 1.6 per game as a redshirt junior. Whether that will translate to the NBA level, however, is a question. He will be guarding bigger, smarter and more athletic players.

*He is a very good rebounder, especially for his size. Bates-Diop grabbed rebounds consistently throughout his career and as a redshirt junior pulled in 8.7 per game. He had 20 games of double-digit rebounds in college and three times had 14 in a game. He had seven offensive rebounds against Robert Morris in a game last November.

*Bates-Diop was the Big 10 player of the year for the 2017-18 season. Some recent winners of the award include Denzel Valentine, Frank Kaminsky, Draymond Green, Trey Burke and Evan Turner.

*He was able to redshirt because he missed most of his junior season with a stress fracture in his left leg.

*Bates-Diop wasn't an elite three-point shooter in college, but he did make strides throughout his career. As a redshirt junior, he shot a modest percentage of 35.9, though the volume he made them was noteworthy. Outside shooting is always important for NBA wings and Bates-Diop would benefit from developing a consistent three-point shot. He will probably need to simplify his motion because his release is a bit slow.

Fit with Wizards: Bates-Diop would give the Wizards depth at two positions where they need it. He could slide into Mike Scott's role as the backup forward, spending much of his time behind Markieff Morris as a smaller four while giving them insurance at the three position behind Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Bates-Diop would add length and athleticism to the second unit and he and Oubre could make a dynamic combination defending the perimeter. They would have over 14 feet of wingspan between them.

Bates-Diop would have to prove himself at power forward at the NBA level before he can be projected as a starter in the long-term. Right now they have small forward solidified with Otto Porter.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Aaron Holiday

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Aaron Holiday

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Aaron Holiday

School: UCLA
Position: Point guard
Age: 21 (turns 22 in Sept.)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 187
Wingspan: 6-8
Max vertical: 33

2017/18 stats: 20.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 46.1 FG%, 42.9 3PT% (2.7 3PT/6.2 3PA), 82.8 FT%
Player comparison: Darren Collison
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 24th, Bleacher Report 23rd, Sports Illustrated 23rd

5 things to know:

*Holiday played big minutes in all three seasons for the Bruins. As a junior, he broke out as an elite scorer, averaging 20.3 points while also dishing 5.8 assists per game. Holiday scored in a variety of ways, including at the free throw line where he averaged 5.8 attempts per game and knocked them down at 82.8 percent.

*He is a terrific three-point shooter, one of the best in this draft class based on his college numbers. He hit 42.9 percent of his shots and on 6.2 attempts per game. Holiday shot 42.2 percent from long range in his three-year college career and never shot below 41 percent in a season. He had some games where teams just couldn't stop him from long range. He made four threes or more in 13 college games. Twice he went 5-for-5 and he once made six threes against USC.

*Though he has the skillset to play off the ball as a shooting guard, his size will limit him at the NBA level. Holiday is just under 6-foot-1 in shoes and doesn't have the vertical leap to make up for it. He does, however, have a plus wingspan. At this point, Holiday seems to be solely a point guard, though as long as he's good at the position there is nothing wrong with that.

*Holiday worked out for the Wizards at Capital One Arena. He was part of their first week of predraft workouts and by all accounts had an impressive visit. He hit a lot of shots and fared well in the interview process.

*Holiday has two brothers currently in the NBA. Jrue is a former All-Star who starts at point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. Justin is a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls. His sister-in-law, Lauren, is a former member of the U.S. women's national soccer team.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards already have a point guard in John Wall, so Holiday would have no long-term path to starting. That said, he would shore up a need the Wizards have been trying to address for years.

Backup point guard has been a real void for the Wizards for most of Wall's tenure. This past season they tried out all sorts of options between Tomas Satoransky, Tim Frazier, Ramon Sessions and Ty Lawson. Though Satoransky remains on the roster, the Wizards don't appear content with their depth at the position.

Holiday's ability to hit threes is very attractive to the Wizards who could conceivably play him off-the-ball alongside Wall, or even Satoransky. Given Wall (6-4) and Satoransky (6-7) are taller than most point guards, they could theoretically guard shooting guards on the other end.

Holiday would add smarts and shooting to the Wizards' bench in the short-term. In the long-term, he could help lengthen Wall's career by taking some of his workload away and also give the Wizards more options once Wall enters his 30s.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

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