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Doc Rivers shuts down Kawhi Leonard comparisons for Rui Hachimura

Doc Rivers shuts down Kawhi Leonard comparisons for Rui Hachimura

The 2019 NBA Draft was a weird night for the Wizards faithful. 

Armed with the ninth overall pick and Duke star Cam Reddish surprisingly on the board, the Wizards took Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga. He had a solid reputation as a pick-and-pop power forward with upside on the defensive end, but his draft stock was somewhere in the 10-20 range. 

As Hachimura went up to greet Adam Silver and put on a Wizards hat for the first time, Chauncey Billups compared the big man to a young version of two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. 

Young Kawhi or current Kawhi, that was a hot take from Billups. Expectations were going to be high for Hachimura anyway after going ninth overall, but this added unnecessary fuel to the fire. 

Before Leonard and the Clippers took on Hachimura's Wizards Sunday night, head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged the comparison. 

“I wouldn’t want that," Rivers said to Fred Katz. "That’s too early. Let him be him... But everything I hear about him, forget the basketball part, is that he’s supposed to be a great kid. And that helps.”

While the Leonard comparisons were all but put to bed, Hachimura had a career night against the Clippers Sunday. He finished with 30 points and nine rebounds on 13-23 from the floor and hit 2-of-5 threes. 

He's just the third rookie to score 30 points in a game this season and the first Wizards rookie to have 30 points and nine rebounds in a game since Juwan Howard in 1995. 

Hachimura may never get to Leonard's level as a player, but there's nothing wrong with that. Few players become all-time greats. 

What's clear through his first 18 games is that he's a player the Wizards can keep to build a formidable young core around Bradley Beal and John Wall. As he continues to get his feet under him and stretches his game out to the three-point line, we might be looking at a future All-Star.


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Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans was on fire once again on Tuesday night in the Wizards' loss to the Charlotte Hornets, as the Latvian Laser continues his breakout season in Washington hitting threes at a historic rate. Here are some numbers to put what he is doing in perspective...


Bertans had 32 points in Tuesday's game, the ninth time he has scored 20 or more already this season. He had scored 20-plus points only three times previously in his career.


Bertans has made six or more threes in a game six times already this season, including four times this month. Before he joined the Wizards, he had done it twice as an NBA player.


Bertans is one of only seven players in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make eight threes or more in a game. The others are Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rex Chapman and DeShawn Stevenson. Only Beal (nine) and Ariza (10) have made more than eight.


Bertans has made 92 threes through 23 games this season. The ony players who have made more through this point in NBA history are James Harden and Stephen Curry. The previous high for a Wizards/Bullets player was 72 (Arenas).


The 92 threes in 23 games has Bertans averaging four per game and on pace to make 328 on the season. Only two players have ever made 300-plus threes; Harden and Curry. The record is 402, by Curry in 2015-16.


Bertans has made four threes or more in six straight games and five or more in four straight. Both are franchise records. During this six-game stretch, Bertans is 36-for-71 (50.7%) from long range.


Bertans is making most of his threes on catch-and-shoot plays and leads the league in most related categories. He is tops in the NBA in points off catch-and-shoot plays (9.6/g), field goals made (3.2/g) and three-pointers made (3.1).


A whopping 70.8 percent of Bertans' shot attempts this season have come from three-point range. The next highest percentage for a Wizards player is 34.6 percent, by Moe Wagner.

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Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

NBC Sports Washington

Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

As a guard, Ish Smith is asked to do a lot on the court. Pass, shoot, and defend, the Wizards need him to do it all in order to succeed. On Tuesday, however, Smith demonstrated another on-court intangible that isn't always seen from NBA players: cleaning.

During the final moments of what would be a 114-107 loss to the Hornets, the game came to a halt in order to mop up a wet spot on the court. Smith happened to find himself near the large mop under the baseline, grabbed it and began helping out the worker. 

Overall, it's pretty good form here from Smith. He bent his knees, extended his arms and had a solid motion with the mop. Smith finished the night with 13 points and five assists in the boxscore, but this sixth assist was his most innovative.