Wizards

Quick Links

Grizzlies G Ja Morant accomplishes feat no rookie has since John Wall

Grizzlies G Ja Morant accomplishes feat no rookie has since John Wall

Point guards tend to take more time to develop in today's NBA. As offenses create more space and become more prolific from three-point territory, defenses grow more complicated. 

Breaking down complex coverages off pick and rolls and initiating actions to create open lanes and corner threes typically falls squarely on the point guard. And believe it or not, 19-to-22-year-olds need time to learn the intricacies of the game. 

So far, Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant seems well ahead of the curve. Averaging 18.5 points, six assists and 3.2 rebounds per game on 46 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from three, the second overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft continues to earn his spot atop our 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year ladder. His turnover numbers are a bit high, but that's to be expected from a 20-year-old with less than 20 games under his belt. 

When watching Morant play, his explosiveness going to the rim and potential as a passer immediately sparks memories of a young John Wall. The five-time All-Star was the top pick in the 2010 draft and immediately made a name for himself as one of the best rookie guards of all time. 

On Saturday night against the Lakers, Morant accomplished a feat that no rookie has since Wall did in November of his rookie season. 

He scored 26 points on 62 percent shooting, tallied six assists and swiped five steals. According to Justin Kubatko, Morant became the first rookie since Wall to record at least 25 points, five assists and five steals in a game. 

The night Wall pulled it off, he scored 29 points, dished out 13 assists and recorded nine(!) steals against the 76ers in a narrow one-point victory. 

Morant still has a long way to go before he gets to Wall's level as a floor general, but the skill set is certainly there and he'll have plenty of opportunity with the ball in his hands in Memphis. 

The Wizards travel to play the Grizzlies on December 14. Wall won't play obviously because of his recovery from an Achilles injury, so if he makes the trip he could get a front-row seat to a player cut from the same cloth he was. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

With the NBA season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wizards, or any team for that matter, are currently unable to make their mark on the NBA history books. 

So on this day, March 28th, we roll the clocks back 17 years to a major moment in not only Wizards history, but in NBA history as well. The final meeting between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. 

2003 was Jordan's second season in Washington and his last in a legendary 15-year career where he won six championships, five MVPs, 10 scoring titles and nine All-Defensive selections.

If anyone came close to being the next MJ, it was Bryant. By their final meeting, the 24-year-old prodigy already had three titles and more than enough reason to put on a show against his idol. 

Bryant went for 55 points against the Wizards, scoring 42 in the first half. He went 15-for-29 from the field and made 9-of-13 from three. Safe to say, Bryant was on a mission following a one-point loss to the Wizards earlier that season. 

He scored an inefficient 27 points on 8-21 shooting and was outplayed by a 40-year-old Jordan. According to Gilbert Arenas, Jordan told Bryant he would never fill his shoes following the loss. In true Bryant fashion, he held onto that moment, apparently didn't talk to his teammates for two weeks leading up to the rematch and took it all out on the Wizards. 

Jordan didn't have a bad game by any stretch. He still scored 23 points on 10-20 shooting to go along with four assists, but he was simply no match for Bryant. 

The Wizards would go on to finish 37-45 miss out on the playoffs and take Jarvis Hayes with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The Lakers went for the first run of four-straight titles since Bill Russell's Celtics but fell short in the Western Conference Semifinals to Tim Duncan and the Spurs. They'd return to the Finals the following year only to lose to the Pistons. After that, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami and the Lakers didn't win a championship for another five years. 

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

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Bradley Beal hits game-winning three to lift Wizards over Bucks in 2K simulation

Bradley Beal hits game-winning three to lift Wizards over Bucks in 2K simulation

In perhaps the most exciting 2K simulation yet, the Wizards were able to get their third straight win while getting revenge on the Bucks with a thrilling 80-79 win. 

Bradley Beal was the hero in this one, drilling a game-winning three with just 2.1 seconds left on the clock.

The Bucks, both real and virtual, might want to rethink how they guard Beal. He's torched them in every possible setting this season. He finished with 28 points and shot 12/28 from the field, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. Stop me if you've heard this song before. 

A game of runs

This game was all over the place, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

The Bucks started the game with an 8-0 lead, which was then followed by an 11-2 run by Washington. Then in the second, Milwaukee went on 12-2 run, only to be answered with a 7-0 run by the Wizards thanks to Troy Brown Jr. 

The Wizards led by four points at the end of the first half, but then the Bucks used a 15-6 run in the third to build a lead going into the final frame. 

The fourth quarter featured four lead changes in just eight minutes of play, with the Bucks leading by five with 1:20 left in the game. That was, of course, until the Wizards went on an 11-5 run to end the game. 

A back-and-forth contest in the way you'd least expect, but at least it made for some entertaining hoops. 

Wizards overcome Giannis

In consecutive 2K simulation against the Wizards, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been an absolute monster. 

On Friday night, the reigning MVP went off for 38 points and 14 rebounds and shot 16-for-21 from the floor. Once again, he was impossible to keep out of the paint and the Wizards' front line, like every other team in the NBA, didn't have much of an answer for him. 

Still, the Wizards were able to overcome such a performance this time, mostly thanks to Eric Bledsoe.

The Bucks point guard had a terrible shooting night, going 2-12 from the field for a measly seven points. He even had a chance to redeem himself at the final buzzer, but his potential game-winning shot rolled right off the rim as the final buzzer sounded. 

Other parting thoughts

Before Beal hit the game-winner, Jerome Robinson had the highlight of the night with a no-look pass to Thomas Bryant for a dunk. Since the 2K version of Scott Brooks swapped Robinson for Brown in the starting lineup, both players have played really well in their new roles. 

Brown had 12 points in 14 minutes, while Robinson had 13 of his own to go along with a few impressive dunks. 

Something interesting happened during the second quarter. The 2K broadcast crew consisting of Kevin Harlan, Greg Anthony and Chris Webber mentioned how there has always been a rift between Beal and teammate John Wall. Beal denied the idea in-game, which goes right along with how he's addressed the situation in real life. Just an interesting moment in the first half.

Bryant continues to be an exceptional shot-blocker in a video-game setting. He had several impressive swats against the Celtics earlier in the week, and he did so again Friday in Milwaukee. 

Now, winners of three straight, the 2K Wizards will have their work cut out for them Saturday as they'll play host to LeBron James and the Lakers at virtual Capital One Arena. 

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

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: