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The List: Which NBA players today could've thrived in the Michael Jordan era?

The List: Which NBA players today could've thrived in the Michael Jordan era?

With the final two episodes of the 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, "The Last Dance," airing Sunday evening, the D.C. Sports Live crew decided to take things into their own hands and debate just what player from the current NBA could've thrived in the Jordan era, which is very different from the NBA landscape today. 

The most notable differences between today's NBA and the 90s, which was Jordan's longest stretch in the league, is physicality, physicality and more physicality. So it was pertinent that whatever players the crew chose displayed a consistent level of toughness, at minimum, amongst many other things (like "great nicknames," Wes Hall said).

Check out who they decided to go with. 

Nick Ashooh - Russell Westbrook

Career: 23.2 points/7.1 rebounds/8.3 assists/ 1.8 steals

"Russell Westbrook is the epitome of that era of basketball," Ashooh said. "If you look at Westbrook, alone, that competitive fire he has, that physical way he plays, the aggression he has. Russell Westbrook would be great in 90s basketball."

Westbrook is widely recognized as one of the hardest-working players in the NBA, especially when it comes to the effort he gives for a full 48 minutes each game (some even call it stat-padding). So it comes as no surprise that Ashooh, among many others, believes Westbrook would thrive in the era of 90s basketball. 

Back in 2016, Jordan compared the then Oklahoma City Thunder point guard to a younger version of himself. 

"Thirty years ago, that's me," he said of Westbrook in an Air Jordan XXXI video. "The attitude, trying to prove myself, showing so much passion for the game of basketball. You see it in his play. You can tell he loves the game, he plays with energy and flair."

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Wes Hall - Kawhi Leonard

Career: 18.6 points/6.4 rebounds/2.7 assists/ 1.8 steals

"If you're going to give me a player from today's era, that has to be able to play back then, he has to have a great nickname as well," Hall said. "There are two people that come to mind: 'The Freak' and 'The Claw,' and when it comes to defense in the 90s era, it comes down to Kawhi Leonard."

To Hall's point, nicknames aren't just given out in the NBA. They're earned. Leonard earned his due to the unrelenting effort he gives on the defensive end of the floor. He's a 2x defensive player of the year, 3x first-team all-defense, and 2x second-team all-defense.

"The personality fits, it's really hard to rattle him, he plays both ends of the floor," Hall said.

Too bad Leonard doesn't even like his nickname. Oh, well. 

Alexa Shaw - Damian Lillard

Career: 24.0 points/4.2 rebounds/6.5 assists/ 1.0 steals

"Damian Lillard, to me, has that Russell Westbrook dog-type of mentality," Shaw said. "I like his jump shot a little more than Westbrook's, but I think all of us can agree that you have to be a dog to play back then."

Does being a "dog" include hitting arguably the biggest shot in recent NBA postseason history? If so, Lillard is a Great Dame (get it?).

In an interview with Rebecca Harlow of MSG Networks, Lillard talked about the importance of mental toughness: "Figuring out how you can manipulate defenses, watching film, breaking down the opposition's tendencies, it's tough," Lillard said.

"Yes, the game is challenging physically, but I've been working on the mental part of things the longer I'm in the league."

What player do you think would thrive in the 90s? Vote here.

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Moe Wagner had to get creative to train during quarantine with a hoop in his driveway

Moe Wagner had to get creative to train during quarantine with a hoop in his driveway

Playing basketball in your driveway, that is relatable. Doing so to prepare for NBA games while in the middle of a league shutdown due to a worldwide pandemic; well, that is unusual.

But for Wizards center Moe Wagner, training during quarantine required some creativity before the team reopened their practice facility in early June. First, he rented out the townhouse below his to set up a workout space. It was vacant, allowing Wagner to use training equipment with enough space for a 7-footer to move around.

"We set up a little gym," Wagner said.

Wagner's schedule was regimented by Zoom workouts hosted by the Wizards trainers and coaching staff. But eventually, that wasn't enough.

Wagner had his brother, Franz, with him. Franz plays for the University of Michigan, where Wagner starred before becoming a first round draft pick in 2018.

"Eventually my brother and I got a little eager to shoot a ball, so my agent had us sent a basketball hoop for outside which we built. It took us like three days," Wagner explained.

"We played a little bit in the garage in the middle of the city. It was kind of an absurd situation, but you will take what you can get, I guess."

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The garage Wagner and his brother played in was without a roof. They are common in Washington, D.C., especially in Northeast. So, it was technically a garage but more like a walled off driveway.

"[We] set it up in my back alley. Every time a car drives by, you have to wait. Obviously, it's very old school. You're going back to the roots a little bit. But after six weeks of not touching a ball, you're like 'we've gotta do something, man.' I'm a professional basketball player and I haven't touched a basketball in six weeks. That ain't right," Wagner said.

RELATED: WIZARDS WILL FACE LAKERS, CLIPPERS IN SCRIMMAGES

Waiting when cars drive by makes sense. Driveways are big enough for kids to shoot around in. But Wagner requires a bit more range to spread out and practice NBA threes.

Wagner indicated he did not shoot a ball for roughly six weeks. That would mean he set the hoop up around the end of April. If that is the case, he was likely more fortunate than many other young players who went longer without being able to shoot.

That's the big variable with the league's hiatus; who had the resources to train, either to just stay sharp or potentially even improve. Wagner was able to keep working on his game, it just took a good deal of creativity. 

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Wizards will face Lakers, Clippers in Orlando's NBA exhibition schedule

Wizards will face Lakers, Clippers in Orlando's NBA exhibition schedule

Before the Wizards begin their eight-game schedule to close out the regular season on July 31, they will have three exhibition games to get warmed up in Orlando.

They will start July 22 against the Denver Nuggets and also play the Lakers and Clippers. Those are the three top seeds in the Western Conference.

Here is a look at their three-game set:

7/22: Nuggets, 3:30 pm ET
7/25: Clippers, 8 pm ET
7/27: Lakers, 3 pm ET

The question here, of course, is whether the stars will play given these games won't count. In a usual preseason, the answer would probably be 'no.' But in this case, with each team only having three games to find their rhythm before games start, and after months off, it is anyone's guess.

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It wouldn't be surprising if the Wizards did see some combination of Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The biggest question mark would be that Lakers game since it is the last exhibition game for both teams. Maybe James and/or Davis sit with two games already under their belt and an opening night meeting with the Clippers awaiting.

Either way, the Wizards will get a look at some of the NBA's best teams before they kick things off for real. And this also means they will be playing games nine days ahead of their regular season. There are now just under three weeks to go until the Wizards return to the court.

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