Quick Links

John Wall, Wizards players give basketball scouting reports on rappers like Travis Scott, Quavo, Sheck Wes and Gucci Mane

John Wall, Wizards players give basketball scouting reports on rappers like Travis Scott, Quavo, Sheck Wes and Gucci Mane

In the summer months, with the offseason in full-swing, NBA players often stay sharp by playing in pick-up games organized by their trainers and in charity games across the country.

Those games usually include other NBA players. Sometimes, they feature famous rappers.

In fact, just about every player on the Wizards has shared the court with a rap star. John Wall has played with just about everyone on the Billboard charts at Ludacris' annual charity game. Markieff Morris is friends with fellow Philly-native Meek Mill and has faced off with Travis Scott and 21 Savage in exhibition games.

While Austin Rivers was in L.A., rappers sometimes showed up to scrimmage with him, Chris Paul and other Clippers players. Rivers and Okaro White have the same trainer as Gucci Mane. 

While with the Lakers, Thomas Bryant played against Quavo of Migos and The Game at a charity event. Kelly Oubre Jr. has the same trainer as 2 Chainz, who played Division-1 hoops at Alabama State in the mid-90s.

A few rappers actually have some game. Most should probably stick to their day jobs.

NBC Sports Washington went around the Wizards locker room to get scouting reports on some of the most famous rappers in the game today. It turns out Gucci Mane has a super high motor. And yes, when 2 Chainz hits a shot, he yells out his famous ad-lib - 2 Chainz! - because of course he does.

Here are the full findings...


Rivers: "He has the craziest jumpshot ever. Travis Scott's jumpshot is crazy. He plays hard. He plays like dumb hard."

Morris: "He plays hard. He fouls, too. He plays hard as s***. He's got the worst looking jumpshot in the world. So, if he hits one, don't trip. Give him all the space in the world because he can't get nothing else."


Oubre: "He's a shooter, man. He's got some size on him. He's like 6-4. Actually, it was crazy. We were playing against him and he had just came off a knee injury. He came out and he didn't miss. He's a little older, so he's not really doing hesi-stepbacks and all of that. I just think he's a straight shooter. He's a bucket. He's a tough guard, man, because he's got ultra-confidence. Every time he makes a shot he yells '2 Chainz!' He's got the ad-libs after every jumper. Don't let him hit one, man, because he will keep it coming."

Rivers: "He's a midrange player, man. He's a little older, so his athleticism isn't crazy but he's got a nice little midrange game. Smooth, little game. That's his M.O.... 2 Chainz used to be able to dunk in high school. He's like 6-5, 6-6."

Jason Smith: "2 Chainz, man. He's got good size, he's got good shooting ability. He uses his size very well. You've gotta keep him off the boards. Man, great energy. He's got a good motor for his age. He does a good job out there."

Wall: "He can really play."


Rivers: "Likes to dribble the ball, he has a little more of a handle. He has a Euro-step. He tries to play more like the modern NBA player."

Smith: "Quavo, shifty. Very shifty. He's got a nice little midrange game. He doesn't need very much space to get his shot off. He's got deep range. He's not afraid to take the deep ball."

Bryant: "Quavo, he's just like an all-around player, an offensive player. He likes to play passing lanes on the defensive end."

Wall: "I haven't played against him, but he can play."


Wall: "Oh no, he's not a basketball player. Not even close. He just shoots."

Morris: "He's from Philly, so I can't talk too bad about him. He can shoot a little bit, but he can't dribble a lick. So, if you press up on him and make him dribble."


Morris: "He plays hard. He will foul the s*** out of you. He can shoot a little bit. [His rapping style] is a little sleepy, but he plays hard. He will foul the s*** out of you, too."


Rivers: "Gucci is bully-ball, he's straight bully-ball. He's got a crazy-looking jumpshot."

White: "He plays hard, man. I don't want to call him a black hole, but he plays prison ball. He will foul you, he gets fouled. He just plays hard. For a rapper, he bigger than most of the rappers. He's in shape, too. That's the thing. That's why he has a high motor. He just keeps running and running. He knows the game. He's not a basketball player, but you can tell he knows the game. He can pass a little bit."


Rivers: "Sheck Wes is solid."

White: "I've seen him on video. He was solid. When I seen him, I was like 'damn, he looks like a basketball player.' He didn't do nothing spectacular, but he did look like a basketball player, the way he was moving. You can tell who hoop and who don't by the way they run and the way they move. He looks like he's a basketball player."


Rivers: "I would put [Lil] Dirk and J. Cole up there as the nicest... He played at St. John's for like a [bit]... He can hoop a little bit."


Rivers: "Chris Brown is an athlete. Chris Brown is alright. The game is solid. He's heavy, though, now. But he used to be able to dunk. I don't know about anymore."

Wall: "I played with Chris Brown in the Drew League before. He's really talented."


Bryant: "He's a shooter. Defense. He swears he can guard, but he can't really guard. Don't tell him I said that. He will get mad."


Quick Links

Bradley Beal's potential All-NBA scenario leads league sources toward trade route

Bradley Beal's potential All-NBA scenario leads league sources toward trade route

With an All-NBA nod, Bradley Beal and the Wizards would almost immediately find themselves at a crossroads.

The honor would make him eligible for the supermax contract, which could force the Wizards to move the two-time All-Star. The Wizards already handed one of those supermax deals to John Wall. If Beal signed a four-year, $193 million extension, the two guards would gobble up more than two-thirds of the team's salary cap space starting in 2021-22.

Everyone knows of Washington's immediate concern. Wall faces a year-long recovery after suffering a ruptured left Achilles heel in February. Even with a prompt return, the Wizards cannot realistically plan on having the five-time All-Star next season.

Based on the injury and Wall turning 30, Wall's level of effectiveness in 2020-21 remains unclear. Ideally, he looks the part for at least the final two years of the contract.

Hold out for Wall's healthy return and the clock may run out on the two years remaining on Beal's current contract with no guarantee the shooting guard re-signs. Therefore, with the Wizards retooling after a 32-50 season and regardless of the All-NBA result, the answer is clear according to numerous league sources: Trade Bradley Beal for assets and salary cap space.

So where would he go?

That might depend.

Can New Orleans convince the disgruntled big man to reverse course on his trade demands? We'll see if that happens, but the Pelicans' current A, B and C plan involves rolling out Davis, projected No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday next season, according to sources.

How this drama plays out affects the entire NBA off-season. Every team would welcome Davis, but only a few have the realistic assets to acquire one the league's top players. Some franchises stockpiled draft picks and players on rookie contracts for this moment. If the Pelicans keep Davis, a 2020 free agent, those teams must turn elsewhere.

No, that doesn't mean Bradley Beal automatically.

"As good as Bradley Beal is, he isn't Anthony Davis," one GM told NBC Sports Washington. "Beal isn't an alternative to Davis, but to free agency."

Beal has $56 million coming his way over the final two years of his current contract. Signing any of the 2019 free agent headliners would cost much more in terms of dollars and salary cap space.

76ers guard Jimmy Butler, a relative peer of Beal albeit four years older, is in line for a max contract of 5-year, $190 million with Philadelphia or 4-year, $141 with another team.

If there's a trade involving Beal this off-season, logic suggests, from the Wizards perspective, it occurs before or during the June 20 NBA Draft.

Beal's trade value on the current contract will likely never be higher. Since 2019 draft picks would probably be part of any deal, and the new general manager will want to make those selections.

A look at the landscape:

Lakers -- All the Davis trade buzz last season focused on Los Angeles since his camp made it clear that's where he wanted to land. The potential also worked since the Lakers asset class held great appeal. That is until the group largely plateaued during a dysfunctional season, the first Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart played with LeBron James.

One general manager suggested not to diminish the upside on those players, contending the Lakers still have the best trade assets. "That's what they look like in that environment -- and playing with that guy," the GM told NBC Sports Washington.

If there's a deal with the Lakers, most sources would want Ball involved regardless of any parent distractions from his attention-seeking father, Lavar. "People just don't grasp how good he is," a source said.

Los Angeles owns the fourth pick in the 2019 Draft. One source views Ingram, Kuzma and four for Beal as fair value assuming Ingram, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016, is cleared medically following a blood clot scare that ended his season prematurely.

Knicks -- New York likely would want to wait for Kevin Durant to sign in free agency as the long-running rumors suggest. Then the question is who gets the second max slot.

Kyrie Irving? Certainly possible. We know the Celtics are out. One source said don't sleep on the Nets getting involved.

Kemba Walker is a New York native. The All-NBA candidate is also someone the Hornets might do whatever it costs to keep.

There's also Beal, who would make a great fit next to a fellow perimeter threat in Durant.

The Knicks' assets include the third pick in 2019, which is a projected tier above the fourth slot since it means landing no less than Duke guard RJ Barrett. New York also has impressive rookie center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Dennis Smith and an unprotected first-round pick from Dallas that projects to convey in 2021.

If the Knicks decline to part with Robinson and three, the Wizards would have to consider Barrett, the top recruit in the 2018 class and Duke's leading scorer, a future All-Star. They might.

Celtics -- The bond between Beal and Jayson Tatum began growing up in St. Louis. They could be connected again if Washington and Boston talk trade.

The Celtics own three first-round selections -- 14, 20, 22 -- in next month's draft along with two former top 5 picks on rookie deals: Tatum and Jaylon Brown.

"Tatum's stock took a hit this season," an Eastern Conference scout said. Others made similar claims during the season as the playmaking forward appeared lost at times playing with Irving. Regardless, Tatum is a talented 21-year-old who went head-to-head against LeBron James in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final.

"Tatum and 22 for Beal? Brown and 20? That's something to consider," the scout said.

The Wizards have plenty to consider over the next few weeks including whether to trade Bradley Beal.



Quick Links

Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

USA TODAY Sports Images

Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the best players in the WNBA, and thus is always in the discussion for MVP honors. 

And heading into the 2019 season, league GMs give her the best chance of anyone to actually hoist the trophy when it's all said and done. 

In a WNBA.com survey of general managers, 42 percent picked Delle Donne to win MVP in 2019. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury had the second-most votes at 25 percent, followed by A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas Aces at 17 percent then Las Vegas' Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun at eight percent. 

Delle Donne won her first and only WNBA MVP award in 2015 as a member of the Chicago Sky when she averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game. And with the Mystics set to make another run at the WNBA title (58 percent of GMs predicted Washington to have the most regular season wins in the Eastern Conference), she has a great opportunity to get her second this season.