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5 things to watch for the Wizards in the 2019 Summer League, including Rui Hachimura's debut

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5 things to watch for the Wizards in the 2019 Summer League, including Rui Hachimura's debut

LAS VEGAS -- The Washington Wizards open their 2019 Las Vegas Summer League schedule on Saturday night against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Here are five things to look for during their Summer League schedule...

1. Hachimura's debut

The biggest storyline for the Wizards in Las Vegas is clearly the introduction of ninth overall pick Rui Hachimura to the NBA game. He is the Wizards' highest draft pick since Otto Porter Jr. in 2013 and brings with him some serious hype.

Hachimura is already a global star with a large media contingent from his home country of Japan. He will be one of the most closely watched players in Las Vegas with dozens of Japanese reporters and photographers following his every move.

"I'm so excited," Hachimura said. "The team is looking really good right now."

For the Wizards, they want to see Hachimura show early signs of an NBA skillset. They would like him to expand his shooting range and the Summer League is a good place to test it out. Get your misses in now and build confidence from the NBA three-point line.

"If I have it, I will shoot it. But I want to attack the goal," Hachimura said. "I shoot threes, get rebounds and push the ball. I do a lot of things, so I want to show all of the things that I've been working on."

It will be interesting to see how Hachimura stacks up as an athlete in the Summer League. The competition isn't quite NBA level, but the athleticism is a big step up from the college ranks. How his speed, quickness and ability to play above the rim compare against NBA players will say something about his long-term potential.

2. Brown Jr.'s progress

Troy Brown Jr., the Wizards' 2018 first round pick, will get his second crack at the Las Vegas Summer League as he moves through a big offseason in his development. Brown didn't crack the Wizards' rotation until late in his rookie season and has used that as motivation this summer. A big leap could propel him into the team's starting lineup in the fall.

"This is more so about me playing at my pace. Last year, I got sped up a lot because I feel like I wasn't used to the speed," Brown said of the difference year-over-year.

In Las Vegas, Brown's hometown, he should get the opportunity to be the focal point of the Wizards' offense. He is the best play-maker on the team and should get plenty of room to spread his wings and build confidence as a No. 1 scoring option. His outside shooting will be a primary focus, as Brown entered the league without a consistent perimeter game and shot a modest 31.9 percent from three as a rookie.

3. Sanon's skillset

With John Wall's injury and Tomas Satoransky's departure to the Bulls, the Wizards are in transition at the point guard spot. One of their prospects at the position is Issuf Sanon, whom they took in the second round of last year's draft.

Sanon is unlikely to be ready for the NBA jump this fall, but this summer can show how much he has improved while playing in Slovenia. In last year's Summer League, Sanon showed he was very raw on offense and a bit of a loose cannon on defense. This year, he can prove plenty just by playing disciplined and under control. 

4. Schofield's readiness

Instead of taking Bol Bol when they traded back into the second round in June, the Wizards opted for Admiral Schofield, a four-year player from Tennessee who appears to be more NBA-ready. On a young Wizards roster, Schofield could earn rotation minutes as a rookie if he plays his cards right.

Schofield's defense and shooting will be most interesting to watch. They are his most pro-ready skills. If he can prove versatile on defense and able to hit NBA threes like he did in college, Schofield might get some real playing time in his first season.

5. Guys from the Lakers trade

The Wizards announced their Summer League roster this week with some notable exclusions. But at the bottom, next to an asterisk, was a disclaimer that the roster is subject to change. Always read the fine print.

The Wizards are indeed expected to add some players once their trade with the Los Angeles Lakers becomes official on July 6. Center Mo Wagner, guard Isaac Bonga and forward Jemerrio Jones are likely to become available in the Summer League.

Wagner is the headliner there. He was a first round pick last summer and has a chance to earn a rotation spot for the Wizards. They have a lot of centers, but he can separate himself with his outside shooting.

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Re-live the best games of Bradley Beal's 25-point scoring streak

Re-live the best games of Bradley Beal's 25-point scoring streak

With the 2019-20 season on hold due to the coronavirus, we thought it'd be a good time to re-live some of the best moments the Wizards had before the league suspended play.

From January 20 to March 6, Bradley Beal put on one of the best scoring stretches in Wizards history. He scored at least 25 points in 21 consecutive games, good for the longest such streak in franchise history and the longest in the NBA all season, beating out the likes of James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Over that 21-game stretch, Beal averaged 36 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 48.6% from the floor and 40.7% from three on nine attempts per game. He only scored less than 30 points five times throughout the course of the streak. 

30+ points: 16 games
40+ points: 6 games
50+ points: 2 games

Oh, and those 50-pieces came on back-to-back nights, which is something nobody in the NBA had done since Kobe Bryant in 2007. 

All-day Sunday, you'll be able to re-live the best games from Beal's streak on NBC Sports Washington. Here's a look at what you can expect. 

When: Sunday, April 5, 9:00 a.m.

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms

9 am -- Pistons @ Wizards from January 20, 2020: Beal starts off his streak by scoring 29 points in a much-needed win over the Pistons. This game also featured Beal crossing center Andre Drummond out of his shoes. 

11:30 am -- Wizards @ Hawks from January 26, 2020: In a trying day for the entire basketball world, Bradley Beal scored 40 points just hours after Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash. 

2 pm -- Mavericks @ Wizards from February 7, 2020: Beal scores 29 and hits the game-winning layup off a perfectly executed pass from Troy Brown Jr. 

4:30 pm -- Wizards @ Bulls from February 23, 2020: Setting a new career-high with 53 points, it's hard to look at Beal as a reason the Wizards lost this one. 

8 pm -- Bucks @ Wizards from February 24, 2020: One night later, Beal sets a career-high again by scoring 55 points in what he described was the most fun game he'd ever played in. 

11:30 pm -- Nets @ Wizards from February 26, 2020: Beal gets the Wizards back on track following a three-game losing streak post All-Star break with a 30-point night against the Nets at home. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Isaiah Thomas details Celtics' failed attempt at their own 'Funeral Game'

Isaiah Thomas details Celtics' failed attempt at their own 'Funeral Game'

Everyone has their own opinion of where and when the Wizards' bitter rivalry with the Celtics in 2016-17 all began.

You could point to Jae Crowder booping John Wall's nose, or Wall's confrontation with Marcus Smart, or even Crowder's history with ex-Wizards coach Randy Whitman. But the real start, the culmination of all those isolated events came on January 24, 2017. The Funeral Game.

It was a statement win for the Wizards. They buried Boston 123-108 and left a sour taste in the mouths of Celtics players like Isaiah Thomas, who joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast to talk about his team's own attempt at a Funeral Game and how intense the Celtics-Wizards rivalry really was. 

Thomas' Celtics went back and forth with the Wizards in the second round of the playoffs. The home team won each of the first five games heading into Game 6, and the two-time All-Star wanted to add another level of intrigue to the closeout game. 

"I send a text out to everybody before we leave Boston," Thomas said. "Everybody wear black because we're going to a funeral and we're gonna end it [in Washington].

"Nobody knew but the players," he said. "So then everyone wore black and when everybody walked in, people started to talk. Then when we ended up losing and John hitting the game-winner and him doing the interview after he's like, 'Don't ever wear black in my city.' I'm like [busts out laughing]."

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

Game 6 was an instant classic. The Celtics played well enough to win the game, Thomas was excellent down the stretch and Beal kept the Wizards in it by scoring 33 points. Everything came down to the Wizards' final possession and Wall delivered with a game-winning three to send the series to a seventh game. 

Boston ended up winning the series so Thomas can look back on everything fondly, but there's no denying how intense the rivalry really was. In a season that featured Kevin Durant's first with the Warriors and Russell Westbrook's triple-double tour, the Wizards and Celtics took center stage whenever they crossed paths on the floor. 

It got so heated that according to Thomas, his friendship with a couple of Wizards players took a considerable hit during the playoffs. 

"John's one of my close friends, like, I didn't even talk to John in the series," he said. "Markieff [Morris] is one of my close friends too from when we played on Phoenix and during that series, I didn't think we would ever talk again with how crazy it got."

We're about three years removed from that fateful series, with Wall, Beal and Ian Mahinmi as the only remaining Wizards from that season. In Boston, it's only Smart and Jaylen Brown. Thomas even played for the Wizards this season after stops with the Cavaliers, Lakers and Nuggets. 

In today's NBA, rivalries fade as fast as they develop, which makes feuds like the Wizards and Celtics that much more enjoyable when taking a trip down memory lane. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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