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5 takeaways from Bradley Beal sitting out of NBA's restart in Orlando

5 takeaways from Bradley Beal sitting out of NBA's restart in Orlando

The Wizards announced on Tuesday that All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal will sit out the NBA's restart in Orlando due to a right shoulder injury. That's big news and it carries with it a series of domino effects.

Here are five takeaways...

Not surprising

The reason for why Beal is not playing in Orlando came out of left field. There was absolutely no discussion of a right shoulder injury anytime recently and, though the Wizards were transparent with the fact Beal may not play, that was never cited as the reason. Yet, Beal not playing isn't surprising at all due to how the Wizards had talked about his decision on whether to play in recent days.

The day before the Beal news broke, head coach Scott Brooks said no final decision had been made on whether Beal would head to Orlando. With 24 hours to go, they didn't know if their best player was going to enter the bubble with them for the next six weeks, the type of decision you just don't make last-second. That made it seem highly possible, if not obvious, that he wasn't actually going to go. 

This is all about the future

Set aside the fact Beal has an injury; this is all about looking towards next year. The Wizards understand their chances of doing damage in the playoffs this year and realize their No. 1 goal in Orlando should be to come out of it in one piece. That way they can set up for the 2020-21 season with John Wall returning from his Achilles injury, and look forward to his reunion with Beal in their backcourt.

If Beal suffered a serious injury in Orlando, that could throw all those plans out of the window. And for what, the eighth seed in the playoffs? It's not worth it, especially when you consider there is some urgency to figuring out whether Beal and Wall can work together again. With both players signed to massive contracts, they will need to get things back on track sooner than later or some difficult decisions may be forced on the front office.


Playoffs are a longshot

Without Beal and Davis Bertans, who opted out due to injury concerns ahead of free agency, the Wizards now really have their work cut out for them to make the postseason. Yes, they only need to close 1 1/2 games to force the play-in tournament, but now they have to do that without their two best players and top scorers. 

At this point, if the Wizards made the playoffs, it would be a surprise. And that's even considering the Brooklyn Nets' plight and their host of players who have already bounced from the Orlando plan. Washington now has to make up ground in a high-pressure sprint to the finish line without many proven veterans to lead the way.


Lottery rule is now very important

If you recall, when the NBA's restart plan became finalized, there was a little-publicized rule regarding the draft lottery that the bottom-eight teams in the league standings would be locked into their lottery odds. That meant the Wizards, who currently own the ninth-best odds, could not improve their odds, but only hurt them in Orlando. Well, now that rule is even more important to the Wizards' future.

The Wizards are going to Orlando without their top two players, three counting Wall, and can't move up in lottery odds, even if they bottom out and go 0-8. So, now it is much more likely they get screwed by the rule. There is a chance they go into lottery night with worse odds than teams that have better records than them. That would be brutal. What if one of those teams lucks into the No. 1 pick?

Opportunity for young guys

There is always a glass half-full way to view things and that for the Wizards is the chance to let their young players develop while carrying more responsibility. This should directly affect the playing time of second-year guard Jerome Robinson and rookie Garrison Mathews. Troy Brown Jr. and Isaac Bonga will also see more playing time as a result.

It should also create more shots for guys like Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and Moe Wagner. A lot of these players, if not all of them, will be back next year and expected to contribute to what the Wizards hope is an improved team. If guys like Hachimura and Brown, in particular, come out of Orlando with more confidence after serving as primary scoring options, this whole Orlando thing could be a success.

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Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

The NBA only taking 22 teams to Orlando for its restart had the potential for some really strange things to shake out in the standings and now that the Wizards have started out 0-4, those possibilities are being realized.

Just look at the East right now. The Wizards are technically not eliminated from the playoffs, yet they have a worse record than the Charlotte Hornets, who are eliminated from postseason contention.


Notice the 'e's.' When else would you see something like that? Maybe in college football, if a team loses postseason eligibility, but continues on playing games. 

Those standings, though, are just an odd element of some extraordinary circumstances as the NBA did what it could to resume playing basketball. Things could get much more real when it comes to the draft lottery.

By losing to the Sixers on Wednesday, the Wizards dropped below the Hornets in terms of win percentage, as you see above. Washington now has the eighth-worst record in the NBA.


But because the league changed the lottery rules for the restart, the Wizards would have the ninth-best lottery odds if the season ended today. The bottom eight teams, including Charlotte, are cemented in where they stood when the league shut down on March 11.


What that would mean if it holds up is a strange situation on lottery night. The Wizards could have fewer ping pong balls than a team that has a better record than them. They could even slide past the Bulls if they keep losing and have worse odds than two teams with better records than theirs.

On lottery night, it will be the difference of a few percentage points, which on the face of it might not seem all that important. Here is how the odds break down for the No. 7 through 9 teams:

7th-best odds - 7.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 31.9 % chance at top-4
8th-best odds - 6.0 % chance at No. 1 pick, 26.2 % chance at top-4
9th-best odds - 4.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 20.2 % chance at top-4

As you see there, the Wizards would only be missing out on either 1.5% or 3.0% in terms of odds to get the No. 1 pick. But when you add the percentages up for the top-four selections, their odds are affected by as much as 11.7 percent. That is fairly substantial.

The thing is, however, it could work both ways. The Wizards could be hurt by the lottery odds, but still end up getting lucky by staying at ninth. The ninth spot in the lottery could yield them a really high draft pick and therefore make Chicago or Charlotte wish the rules were different.

But just consider how things went in last year's draft lottery, the first under the new system of rules. The No. 1 pick went to the team that had the seventh-best odds, the New Orleans Pelicans. The No. 2 pick went to the team with the eighth-best odds, the Memphis Grizzlies. And the team with the ninth-best odds, the Atlanta Hawks, fell a spot to land at No. 10.

The No. 1 pick was Zion Williamson, the No. 2 pick was Ja Morant and the No. 10 pick was Cam Reddish. That is a huge difference.

If the same class was available this year, and the lottery shook out the same way, the Wizards would pick 10th and come away feeling like they got robbed of Williamson or Morant, both of whom appear to be generational players. That would be a stroke of bad luck that would take years, if not decades, to get over.

This draft does not seem to have that type of talent at the top, depending on how you feel about guys like James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. But it's still an NBA draft and every year there are future All-Stars available. Most years there are future Hall of Famers to be had.

All of this may not matter much, or it could matter a lot. In the most extreme scenario, it could legitimately have a major effect on the future course of the league.

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GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has been following John Wall's recovery from Achilles surgery every step of the way and continues to now even though he is inside the bubble in Orlando while Wall is working out near his offseason home in Miami.

Sheppard gets daily updates on Wall's progress, so he wasn't surprised to see Wall throw down a 360-degree dunk the other day in a video that went viral on social media. Sheppard has seen much more than that, as he explained on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Postgame Live on Wednesday night.

"The video that John posted is nothing compared to what he's doing behind closed doors, which we're very tuned in with. We have a coach down there working him out," Sheppard said.

Sheppard isn't necessarily making some big proclamation there. What he likely means is Wall is looking good playing in scrimmage situations, that he's in good shape and gearing up to start training camp in just a few months.


Sheppard has been keeping tabs on Wall, plus Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. Beal is out of the NBA's restart due to a shoulder injury and Bertans sat out to preserve his stock for free agency. 


All three have been in contact with players and coaches to offer their thoughts on how the team has fared in their games so far.

"[I see] what Bradley's doing to get his shoulder right... Davis, he's working out with his national team in Latvia and doing what he's supposed to do," Sheppard said. "I have a great deal [of confidence] in that when we leave here, we have three pretty good players who aren't here. We have a good idea of what we need to do in the offseason with those guys being there."

Wall and Beal will be back next year, that we know. Bertans is a question mark given he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards consider him their No. 1 offseason priority, NBC Sports Washington was told.

If he does come back, he will play on a team that should have Wall and Beal back fully healthy and ready to go.

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