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Wizards summer school: John Wall


Wizards summer school: John Wall

John Wall had a so-so sophomore season averaging 16 points, 8 assists and 4.5 rebounds a game. For most players they would take those numbers, but for the former No. 1 pick, Wall's statistics were basically identical to his rookie campaign. Wall did not make the jump to the next level that many had hoped for and the team continued to struggle, finishing with a 20-46 record.

Wall did finish the season with double-doubles in four of the last five games, including a flawless 21-point, 13-assist, 7-rebound and 7-steal outing in a win at Cleveland. Wall was unstoppable in the open floor versus the Cavs, finishing and finding his teammates on the fast break. Wall closed out the season in grand fashion and he will need to carry it over to next season for the team to avoid another lottery type season.

So what will coach Randy Wittman want his point guard and face of the franchise to work on this summer? The answer clearly is Wall's jump shot.

Although his field goal percentage improved from his rookie season to 42 percent, Wall made only 3 of 42 three-point attempts. Wall has to get up hundreds of shots every day this off-season to be more of a threat offensively. Defenses were happy to let him shoot jumpers, knowing his best offensive move was getting as close to the hoop as possible.

Wall's shooting form also needs some work, as there seems to be a hitch in it. His stroke seems more of a shot put and is not fluid going up into his release motion. If Wall develops his confidence and works the kinks out, he can be a real offensive threat moving forward. We know he has blazing speed to get by defenders but he can move to a higher level if he can add a reliable jumper.

Wall can also work on being more patient in fast break situations, rather than just using his speed to barrel to the rim.

Wall benefited with the mid-season deal for center Nene. When Nene was healthy and playing, Wall thrived on the court. Having a true post-presence in Nene helped Wall immensely, as the pressure wasn't solely on him to be the team's first option offensively. When opposing teams double-team Nene in the post next year, Wall has to be ready to knock down the shot on the kick-out.

If Wall can come back with a confident jump shot he could take a big step in becoming a bona fide star in the league. But that also comes with wins, which Wall and the Wizards desperately need.

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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)