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Judgment call: The impact of Wizards moving on from Devin Robinson

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Judgment call: The impact of Wizards moving on from Devin Robinson

Some quick big-picture thoughts on the Wizards moving on from Devin Robinson following the forward’s arrest early Saturday morning

The organization was swift with a statement upon learning of Robinson’s arrest: “We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season.”

This was a judgment call. Not by the Wizards, but Robinson, and his actions* overnight played a factor in the team’s decision.

(*The incident, a fight with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, led to the arrest of both men and Robinson needing medical attention at a local hospital. One report stating the incident stemmed from Robinson feeling that Mills shouldn’t be in DC since he doesn’t play for a Washington team is not accurate according to multiple sources close to the situation.)

The athletic, 6-foot-8 forward showed growth during his two years with the organization on a two-way contract. He averaged 19.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 22 games this season for the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G-League affiliate. Robinson became the Wizards’ bounciest player following the December trade that sent Kelly Oubre Jr. to Phoenix. The intrigue led with those hops.

The Wizards’ roster is light on players under contract for the 2019-20 season. They must add some players on minimum deals based on their limited salary cap space. Washington’s other two-way player, Jordan McRae, received a non-guaranteed NBA contract for next season before the team’s final game of the regular season.

Robinson did not. While a path existed, sources familiar with the situation are not convinced the 2018 undrafted free agent would have remained with the organization regardless of his arrest.

The general plan centered on gauging Robinson for another summer before making a firm commitment.

The University of Florida product dealt with injuries during his time with Washington, including a hip ailment that kept Robinson off the court for several weeks this season. The slender 200-pound forward would have an offseason of workouts and the NBA Summer League to show whether he could hold up physically.

Robinson never made it that far. Regardless of whatever details emerge of the incident outside a Northwest Washington club may reveal, Robinson put himself in a difficult spot. Considering everything at stake, his questionable judgment moved the organization to take action.

Tommy Sheppard, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, is the interim leader of the Wizards’ front office following the dismissal of team president Ernie Grunfeld.

From the Wizards angle, there’s certainly frustration based on having worked with Robinson for two years, during which he only played eight NBA games. Assuming Washington does not pick up Jabari Parker’s $20 million team option, there is not a single forward on the current 2019-20 roster.

However, Robinson, 24, is a bit old for a true developmental player, and it was far from certain he would enter the rotation or make the roster next season.

Not built for banging inside, Robinson only shot 30.4 percent on 3-point attempts (24 of 79) with the Go-Go this season.  

Many players entering the 2019 NBA Draft are 3-5 years younger than Robinson. The Wizards, who do not have a second-round pick this year, are likely to add 1-2 undrafted free agents on two-way contracts if not the main roster, as they did with Daniel Ochefu, Sheldon Mac and Danuel House in 2016.

Maybe another summer with the team’s developmental staff unlocks another level for Robinson, whose jump-out-of-the-gym athleticism wowed onlookers. The Wizards need that skill set as they look to push the pace generally and specifically whenever John Wall returns from his ruptured Achilles. They will look for that element elsewhere this offseason. 

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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