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Wizards/Bullets Best of the Best: (4) Walt Bellamy vs. (13) Chris Webber

Wizards/Bullets Best of the Best: (4) Walt Bellamy vs. (13) Chris Webber

CSN is running a bracket to determine the best player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. There are 16 players in a four-round tournament. The first round will be voted on by fans, while the rest will be determined by our analysts. The winner will be revealed during an hour-long special called 'Best of the Best' on Friday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m. on CSN.

Here is today's matchup...

No. 4 WALT BELLAMY vs. No. 13 CHRIS WEBBER

Walt Bellamy

Years with franchise: 5
Stats: 27.6 ppg, 16.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 51.6 FG%
Accolades: Hall of Famer, 4-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year

Summary: The only player in this bracket who dates back to the franchise's first iteration when they played in Chicago, Bellamy was in fact the first draft pick ever made by the franchise. He was selected first overall in 1961 out of Indiana University and went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career of 14 NBA seasons, the first five with the Wizards/Bullets franchise.

Bellamy made four All-Star teams, including his rookie year when they were known as the Chicago Packers and his second season when they were the Chicago Zephyrs. He then made two more All-Star teams once they moved and became the Baltimore Bullets. A 6-foot-11 center, Bellamy was a prolific scorer and rebounder. He averaged a ridiculous 31.6 points and 19 rebounds as a rookie. It remains one of the best individual seasons in NBA history.

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[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast: NBPA VP Garrett Temple joins the show]

Chris Webber

Years with franchise: 4
Stats: 20.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.7 bpg, 50.1 FG%
Accolades: All-Star

Summary: Webber was selected first overall by the Magic in the 1993 draft and immediately traded to the Warriors. He played just one season for Golden State before being dealt again, this time to Washington for Tom Gugliotta and three first round picks, one of which turned out to be Vince Carter. Webber would play just four seasons for Washington, but he left an indelible mark as one of the best players in franchise history.

Webber was a sensation in college at the University of Michigan and came into his own as a star with the Bullets. He could do it all: score, rebound, pass and rack up steals and blocks. He formed a dynamic duo with Juwan Howard, his former college teammate, and the two led the Bullets to the playoffs in 1997, the only time the franchise made it from 1988 to 2005. Webber had a long and illustrious career, but played most of his years elsewhere. The Wizards traded him in May of 1998 for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe. Part of it was because of off-the-court concerns involving Webber, but the trade has since been cemented as one of the worst front office moves in franchise history. Richmond soon declined, while Webber remained one of the NBA's best players the better part of a decade.

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MORE MATCHUPS:

Wizards/Bullets Best of the Best: (1) Unseld vs. (16) Howard

Wizards/Bullets Best of the Best: (2) Hayes vs. (15) Butler

Wizards/Bullets Best of the Best: (3) Wall vs. (14) Strickland

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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Why the Wizards chose Tommy Sheppard as their new general manager

Why the Wizards chose Tommy Sheppard as their new general manager

The process took nearly four months, yet the Wizards ultimately didn't look far for their new general manager, as the team is removing the interim tag from Tommy Sheppard. The longtime NBA executive will now finally get a chance to run his own operation.

Sheppard may not have been the first choice among fans initially when it was announced he would fill in for Ernie Grunfeld, who was dismissed from his post as team president on April 2, but over the past few months he has acclimated himself well, showing in many ways he is prepared to lead a team as the top person in charge. He cleaned up the Wizards' salary cap situation as best he could, giving them some newfound financial flexibility beyond next season.

Sheppard did that while flooding the roster with young, cheap and high-upside players. And he did so by making some tough decisions, ones that helped demonstrate he can provide an organizational reset despite his role in the previous regime. 

Sheppard allowed Tomas Satoransky to walk in free agency despite being central in bringing him to the Wizards, first by scouting him overseas and then by convincing him to join the NBA ranks. He let Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker leave even though he was part of the braintrust that traded for them. And he traded Dwight Howard, again despite playing a role in bringing him to Washington.

Sheppard has operated with impartiality when the team needed him to. What he has done this offseason looks a lot like it probably would have if the Wizards had hired someone from the outside.

How Sheppard navigated the Wizards through the draft and free agency was central in why managing partner Ted Leonsis decided to elevate him to the long-term post. The last several weeks were treated as a "trial run," according to a person familiar with the process.

Sheppard worked closely with the team's ownership group, giving them written proposals for his plans that addressed goals, budget and contingencies. It was a collaborative effort to make the Wizards' roster younger, cheaper and harder working. They also set out to add more international players and accomplished that by drafting Rui Hachimura and by trading for Davis Bertans, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga.

Sheppard impressed Leonsis especially during the effort to re-sign Thomas Bryant. Bryant has become a favorite of Leonsis' for his consistent effort, character and enthusiasm. Sheppard and the Wizards were able to agree with Bryant on a new contract the night free agency began. It was quick and painless.

Sheppard himself will be signing a new contract, NBC Sports Washington was told. And there will be major changes to the organizational structure announced this coming week. In the basketball operations side, the team will heavily expand their investment in analytics, by "triple" according to a person familiar with their plans. They will also beef up their scouting department with an eye on Africa and Latin America.

Sheppard has done a nice job for the Wizards but the real work in many ways about to begin. Dismantling an NBA roster is not as difficult as building a contender. Now he has to find pieces to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal that can help the team win something of substance. 

Sheppard will have to do that within the constraints of Wall's supermax contract. And he will have to sort out Beal's future, which could take a turn later this month. 

On July 26, the Wizards can officially offer Beal a contract extension worth approximately $111 million over three years. But there is a long list of clues that suggest he will not take the offer.

How Sheppard, Beal and the Wizards handle the fallout in the event he turns them down would be a test in itself. Maybe they spin it simply as Beal betting on himself. If he makes All-NBA next season, he could make well over $200 million with a five-year supermax.

For Sheppard, the hard work is about to start. He is set to guide the Wizards into a new era, one he and the team hope can reach a higher peak than the last.

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