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Sam Dekker happy to be with Wizards, back on court again following trade

Sam Dekker happy to be with Wizards, back on court again following trade

Injuries had limited Sam Dekker to only nine games this season with the Cavaliers, who he joined just this past summer in a trade. He hadn't played in a month. Yet, with only nine players available after Otto Porter Jr.'s injury on Monday against the Pacers, head coach Scott Brooks was left without much of a choice.

So, Dekker was summoned off the bench to make his debut with Washington, the third team he has called home all within this calendar year. Though the game amounted in a loss, Dekker's start with the Wizards could not have gone much better.

They instantly went on a 19-0 run to climb back into the game and Dekker played his part in it. He scored on a dunk, had two steals, a rebound and an assist. 

For Dekker, after missing weeks due to a left ankle injury, it was just good to get back out there.

"There was definitely some rust to knock off," Dekker said. "Our trainer was laughing at me. He said 'I've never seen someone drink their water so fast in a timeout.' My bottle was gone."

The dust will ultimately settle, but it has been a tumultuous few days for Dekker. He was still getting adjusted to the Cavs organization when on Friday night his name popped up in trade rumors. His phone started buzzing with "hundreds" of messages from friends and family.

At first, it looked like Dekker was going to Milwaukee, back to his home state and not far from where he starred at the University of Wisconsin.

"I didn't answer to any of them because I did not feel like I was going to Milwaukee," Dekker said. "Something was telling me that was not the case. It just didn't make sense in my head. So, I was like 'no way.' "

Sure enough, Dekker's gut feeling was proven correct. Soon after he was tied to Milwaukee, full details of the trade were released. It was a three-team deal and he was off to Washington, the fourth team in his young career.

The 24-year-old has been traded three times now. That's a lot of moving for he and his wife, Olivia.

"This is the third time I've made her move, so that's no fun. I feel terrible about that," he said. "But she's been awesome. She's been keeping me grounded through all of this."

Dekker said the first order of business after he was dealt to Washington was finding a sitter for his dog, Riggins. He had a 6 a.m. flight the next morning. 

Now, he is in the process of breaking a lease in Cleveland and looking for a new place in the Washington area.

"There's a lot more to it than people understand. They think we just put a new jersey on," Dekker said of getting traded.

Dekker's time with the Wizards has been a whirlwind so far. Things will calm down and, as he says, it all comes back to basketball.

"The one constant is playing hoops. Last night, to get on the court finally, that is one thing that feels like home," he said.

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Can Michael Jordan's Hornets prevent back-to-back wins for the Wizards?

Can Michael Jordan's Hornets prevent back-to-back wins for the Wizards?

Sporting the NBA's most prolific offense and coming off their best win of the year against the Spurs, the Wizards are gunning for their first set of back-to-back wins since March of last season. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

In order to get there, they'll have to get past one of the worst teams in the league in Michael Jordan's Hornets. Charlotte is currently 24th in offensive efficiency, 23rd in defense and has the fourth-worst net rating, getting outscored by nearly eight points per 100 possessions. 

The Wizards' defense has been legitimately awful through the first 12 games of the year, but perhaps the Hornets could be their "get right" game to build some confidence on that end of the floor. 

To do that, they'll need to neutralize Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges. 

Terry Rozier

Rozier broke out in the 2018 playoffs by helping lead the Celtics to the brink of the NBA Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. His follow-up act last season was disastrous. He failed to adjust to a reserve role behind Irving, he ended up shooting 38 percent from the floor and the Celtics, for a multitude of reasons, crashed and burned. 

It became clear that for Rozier to succeed, he needed a team to give him a starting role. That's exactly what the Hornets provided when they signed him to a three-year, $58 million deal to replace Kemba Walker. 

In his first season as a full-time starter, Rozier is averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting a career-high 41 percent from the floor and 35 percent from three. When trying to stop the Hornets' attack, nearly everything begins with Rozier. 

He's not much of a facilitator on pick and rolls, mostly looking to score off the dribble. This isn't something he's great at, because Rozier's a streaky shooter. If the Wizards' defense lets him get comfortable early and some of his pull-up jumpers fall, he could be in line for a 25-plus point night. 

Miles Bridges

Bridges may not be the most polished offensive player yet, scoring most of his points off of activity and athleticism around the rim, but that's the kind of player who could go off against a defense like the Wizards.

He's shooting a modest 36 percent from three on 4.4 attempts per game, so there's not much of an upside to playing off of him to keep the second-year wing out of the paint. The key will be making sure he's accounted for on the offensive glass and getting back on defense after misses to limit transition opportunities. 

Similarly to Rozier, the Wizards need to be mindful not to let Bridges get going early on. If they can keep both out of rhythm early, Washington shouldn't have a tough time with these Hornets. 

Expectations were low coming into the year for the Wizards and seemingly fell even harder after the team limped out to a 2-7 start. However, it's clear this team can score against anyone and if they decide to play even a lick of defense on Friday, they should walk out with a relatively easy win. 

The Wizards and Hornets tip-off Friday night at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

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Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura get a boost on their NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura get a boost on their NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal is lighting up every defense he plays against and NBA 2K20 has taken notice. Though his rating still isn't as high as it should be. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

Beal came into the season with an underwhelming 87 overall rating, and after averaging over 30 points per game over the first 12 games of the season, 2K decided to bump him up to 89 overall

Other rating changes included Luka Doncic going from a 90 to a 93, Andrew Wiggins humping from 80 to 84, and Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving each experiencing a drop from 92 to 91. 

Beal has one of the biggest jumps of the batch here, but let's be honest, he should be at least a 90 overall. 

He's leading the most prolific offense in the NBA, putting up career-high scoring numbers on uncharacteristically low shooting percentages and is well on his way to an All-NBA selection. He deserves a spot amongst the NBA's elite. 

Also, Rui Hachimura, who entered the season with a 76 got a small bump to 77 overall. He's started the season strong as one of the leading scorers among all rookies at 13.3 points per game and is starting to prove he's a building block for the Wizards. 

There's plenty of time for Beal and Hachimura to get another boost before the season ends, so if they continue to play the way they have to start the year, Wizards fans should expect Beal in 90s and Hachimura in the 80s before long. 

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