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The 6 most interesting match-ups for Rui Hachimura in his rookie year with the Wizards

The 6 most interesting match-ups for Rui Hachimura in his rookie year with the Wizards

The Washington Wizards will not enter the 2019-20 season with the high expectations they had a year ago. It could end up more of a bridge year as they build towards what they hope will be a stronger future.

The one guy who could make them a heck of a lot more interesting is Rui Hachimura, whom the Wizards took ninth overall in June, their highest draft pick in six years. Hachimura has star potential both on and off the floor, already with an international following and marketing ability rarely seen for a player his age.

With all of that in mind, here are the six most interesting games to watch for Hachimura, now that the Wizards' 2019-20 schedule has been released...

10/23 at Mavs - NBA debut

Hachimura will experience NBA regular season action for the first time in Dallas and against a rising Mavs team that includes Luka Doncic, the 2018-19 rookie of the year, and Kristaps Porzingis, who could be making his anticipated return after 20 months sidelined due to an ACL tear. Hachimura may not guard either of them, but could see a raucous crowd in Dallas. Despite being one of the worst teams in the NBA last season, the Mavs ranked No. 3 in total attendance and first in percentage of seats filled.

12/1 at Clippers - vs. the Klaw and PG-13

Hachimura is a forward and no team will present a tougher defensive match-up for him than the Clippers who now have both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to deploy. Chances are one of those guys could be assigned to Hachimura and when that happens he will experience a level of defense he has never seen before. Leonard also happens to be a player several have compared to Hachimura and this will be the first time they share a court in the pro ranks.

12/14 at Grizzlies - his college teammate

Hachimura was a top-10 pick, so going up against Ja Morant, the No. 2 selection, will be something to watch. But perhaps more noteworthy is the fact the Grizzlies have Hachimura's college teammate, Brandon Clarke. The two played a similar position at Gonzaga and there were some spirited debates in the pre-draft process over which will be the better pro. Hachimura was taken ninth, while Clarke slipped to the 21st pick. Both, though, turned heads at the Las Vegas Summer League and it will be interesting to see them go at it as opponents on the NBA stage.

1/10 vs. Hawks - vs. Hunter and Reddish

The Hawks have two players who have a similar skillset to Hachimura. One is De'Andre Hunter, who was taken with the No. 4 pick. The other is Cam Reddish, who went one pick later at 10th and who many Wizards fans wanted them to take. Neither Hunter or Reddish played when the Wizards and Hawks met in Vegas. And, unfortunately, we won't get to see them square off until the second week of January.

4/1 vs. Pelicans - vs. Zion and the team that passed on him

Much like with the Hawks, the Pelicans have two lottery picks that did not play when the Wizards saw them in the Summer League. New Orleans has the first overall pick, Zion Williamson, as well as Jaxson Hayes, who was taken eighth, right before Hachimura. Williamson and Hachimura will probably see some time guarding each other. Hayes plays a different position entirely, but going up against him will give Hachimura the opportunity to show the Pelicans what they passed on.



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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has been all smiles in public when discussing his rehab from Achilles surgery. He has even remarked how smoothly this recovery has gone compared to others he's underwent in the past.

But his road back from a ruptured left Achilles has not been entirely free of obstacles. He revealed to NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast recently that he dealt with an infection that delayed him getting out of his walking boot.

That was already weeks after he first had surgery to remove bone spurs from his heel in January. He had a series of infections following that procedure, one of which helped doctors discover his Achilles had torn during a fall in his home.

Wall can admit now after the fact it was a difficult time for him.

"I've just put in a lot of hard work," he said. "For me to be where I'm at right now, with all the setbacks and infections and then finding out my Achilles was ruptured and then going through another infection, it was like 'man, when can I ever get past that point of just getting out of the boot and walking?'"

What made that last part particularly frustrating was where Wall makes his offseason home. He summers in Miami, a place notorious for its humidity.

"I was in Miami during the summertime in a boot. Like, man, I don't want to be in hot Miami in a boot, sweating," he said.

Nowadays, things are much better for Wall. He is doing on-court work at the Wizards' practice facility. He can shoot jumpers and do individual ball-handling and passing drills. He can jog and lift weights.

After months of waiting to just have his walking boot come off, Wall is very appreciative to simply be able to do anything on the basketball court.

"Just to do the ball-handling and be able to shoot and do the weight-lifting, that's a great aspect [of my progress]. It makes it easier for me because I'm in a great space where it's fun," he said. 

"I'm able to do what I'm able to do, even if I'm not playing at a high speed and running up and down, I'm able to shoot and do ball-handling. That's what I love to do."

Wall continues to make progress, now nine months removed from the Achilles surgery he had on Feb. 12. He is likely to be out at least three more months, and he could miss all of the 2019-20 season.

At some point, Wall may get restless, but he continues to preach patience towards his return. When asked by Chris Miller if he will start bothering the coaches soon to play, he said he's just happy to be back on the court in practice.


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Moe Wagner isn't the only Wizards with a questionable golf swing

Moe Wagner isn't the only Wizards with a questionable golf swing

With the grind of the NBA season preparing to get underway, the Washington Wizards are spending some time off the court as a way to relax and have some fun. On Monday, the team headed to Top Golf to take some hacks, and we were treated to a breakdown of each player's swing.

As you can see, some like head coach Scott Brooks have a pretty smooth swing. However, the same cannot be said about others.

Take for example Moe Wagner. 

The newly acquired Wizard started off promising with a solid stance, bent knees and all. But, the wind up showed that there were clearly some quirks in his mechanics. Then, the worst thing possible happened: a missed ball. No one will really judge if the swing isn't the prettiest, considering his job is to play basketball, but to come up empty hurts.

Wagner wasn't alone in his misfortunes, however. Jordan McRae also had some trouble getting his club to connect with the ball. But, as they say, third times the charm.

As for other poor swings, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant had success hitting the ball, it just didn't look all too pretty.

For Bryant, he may be taking the concept of getting a low, solid base, quite too literally. With Bertans, the movement on his back leg followed by a quick swing is, well, interesting to say the least.

But, fear not, Washington does have a few players who at least look like they've picked up a golf club before. 

Even rookie Rui Hachimura showed off a pretty decent stroke.

While the videos did provide a good laugh, it's safe to say that most of these guys shouldn't quit their day jobs.