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Expectations should be modest for Isaiah Thomas with Wizards, but there is potential for a great story

Expectations should be modest for Isaiah Thomas with Wizards, but there is potential for a great story

With little money to spend in free agency, the Wizards have no choice but to search for bargains this summer. Sometimes that leads to taking a chance on a player who could exceed their contract if they can somehow overcome an injury that has scared off other teams.

That's where the Wizards found themselves on Monday night, as they agreed to terms with two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas on a minimum contract, NBC Sports Washington confirmed. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Washington knows full well what Thomas is capable of when healthy. He was last at his peak against them in the second round of the 2017 Eastern Conference playoffs. Then a star for the Celtics, Thomas battled a hip injury to lead Boston over the Wizards in seven games.

But after that series, and because of that injury, he has never been the same since. He has appeared in only 44 games across two seasons with three different teams, averaging 13.3 points while shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from three.

Last season, Thomas played only 12 games for the Denver Nuggets. So, expectations should be low for what he can produce in Washington.

If his last two years are any indication, the Wizards could have some real issues at point guard. They have John Wall, but he's going to miss at least 50 games due to an Achilles injury.

Ish Smith, whom they brought in on a two-year deal on Monday morning, is probably best suited to come off the bench. And after that it's 19-year-old Isaac Bonga and undrafted rookie Justin Robinson. If Thomas' hip injury remains an issue, we could see a lot more of Troy Brown Jr. and Jordan McRae at point guard than the Wizards would prefer.

Really, it's debatable whether the Wizards are in position to take the risk that Thomas presents. When he missed almost all of last season, the talent-rich Nuggets didn't skip a beat.

But the Wizards will be without Wall for potentially the entire season and they don't have another proven starter on their roster. Also, in Wall and Dwight Howard, they already have two former All-Stars trying to regain their form after an injury. Three seems like a lot.

But what the Wizards are betting on, and it should be noted they aren't wagering much, is that Thomas will beat the odds. The good news is that his career has been defined by just that, the last two years not withstanding. 

At 5-foot-9, he is the shortest active player in the NBA. He was the last player selected in the 2011 draft and was never expected to make two All-Star teams, earn All-NBA and now be here entering his ninth NBA season.

If he can get back to anything close to that, it will make for a great story. And if it is in Washington, it will be in a place where short guys are welcome. He is joining an organization that employed Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins and Michael Adams.

Even if Thomas can't reclaim his form, he should be a positive influence in the locker room. He is smart, humble and a hard worker. The Wizards have a lot of young, developing players that could learn from him.

Certainly, the Wizards will hope he does more than impart wisdom. They want him to be part of their rotation and, if he's healthy, maybe even start.

Just don't set the expectations high and maybe he can exceed them.


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Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant and 35 Ventures announced Wednesday that his documentary, "Basketball County: In the Water," about the rich history of basketball stars from Prince George's County, MD will premiere on May 15 on Showtime.

The Sports Business Journal reported in mid-February that Durant was creating a documentary focusing on the prominence of basketball stars raised in PG County and was "putting the finishing touches" on the project. 

Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, serve as the executive producers of the highly-anticipated piece.

With the sports world at a standstill amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Durant's feature will give sports fans something to put on their calendar.


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Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Entering Wednesday night, the 2K Wizards were riding a four-game winning streak. They had beat the Celtics, Suns, Bucks and Lakers over the course of two weeks and looked like they might not lose again. 

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. At the hands of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the virtual Wizards lost 65-57. 

Here's how the game went down and slipped through the Wizards' fingers. 

Terrible shooting

Multiple brick houses were built during the making of this sim. 

The Wizards and Pelicans couldn't buy a jumper all game, especially from beyond the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 2-for-31 from three, a scorching 6.5%. 

To put this in a real-life context, this would have nearly broken an NBA record for combined three-point percentage with a minimum of 30 attempts. The current NBA record is reluctantly held by the Celtics and Nets on a night in 2003 where the two teams shot a combined 2-for-32 from three. 

Bradley Beal went 0-7 from three, Brandon Ingram missed all six of his attempts and JJ Redick didn't make a triple either. Just a weird night from three-point for two teams who were both top-five in three-point percentage before the 2019-20 season was suspended. 

Zion dunks his way to a win

The thing about having Williamson on your team is that, in games like this where nobody can hit a jumper, the Pelicans' best player didn't have to make much of an adjustment. 

Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, whether he's putting his armpits in the rim on a duck, bullying defenders down low and finishing layups through them or wreaking havoc on the offensive glass. 

So in a game where the only real source of offense came in the paint, Zion was right at home. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks, shot 13-for-17 from the floor and tallied seven dunks in the game. 

The Wizards will get a chance at revenge before the season is out, but the No. 1 overall pick got the best of them this time. 

Parting thoughts

Beal got his shot blocked three times in this game alone, continuing an interesting trend we've seen through a few of these simulations. Beal had his shot blocked 52 times during the regular season, which puts him at 44th most in the league. The 2K sims have been fairly accurate to this point, but it appears Beal is getting his shot sent back a bit too much. 

Rui Hachimura had another good game in the 2K sim and continues to prove how valuable his skill and mobility at his size can be in such a setting. The rookie forward finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and went 6-for-9 from the floor. 

Davis Bertans didn't attempt a three in 13 minutes of playing time. During the regular season, Bertans averaged one three-point attempt every three minutes, so it was definitely bizarre to see him on the floor and not launch a single shot from deep. 

Beal may have had a rough game statistically, scoring 20 points on 9-of-25 shooting, but he at least produced a few highlight dunks including one on Williamson. 

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