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Tim Connelly won’t take top Wizards job, to stay in Denver

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Tim Connelly won’t take top Wizards job, to stay in Denver

There won’t be a Tim Connelly reunion with the Washington Wizards after all.

Connelly passed on the opportunity to become the Wizards President of Basketball Operations, and instead will remain in the same capacity with the Denver Nuggets, a source confirms to NBC Sports Washington. ESPN first reported on Connelly's decision.

Washington received permission to meet with Connelly late Thursday evening. He left the NBA Combine in Chicago and flew to Washington Friday for a discussion with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, a source told NBC Sports Washington. On Friday, Connelly reportedly received the offer to fill the front office vacancy created by the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2.

While the interest in the Wizards was genuine from the Baltimore native, Catholic University alum and former member of Washington's front office, Connelly could not leave the "stable" situation with significant promise in Denver, a source told NBC Sports Washington.  

Connelly, 41, was named Denver’s general manager in 2013. The Nuggets won 54 games and finished the 2018-19 regular season as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The roster, headlined by All-NBA center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray, is the second-youngest in the NBA. "Tough to give that up," the source said. "Too much to risk."

The Wizards are coming off a polar opposite campaign that ended with a 32-50 record. Significant uncertainty exists going forward with five-time All-Star John Wall expected to miss a large chunk of the 2019-20 season as his four-year, $170 million supermax contract extension kicks in.

Leonsis began a deliberative search process for a new President of Basketball Operations after dismissing Grunfeld, who held the position for 16 years.  While other candidates were interviewed during the process, including interim GM Tommy Sheppard, Connelly’s name was linked to the opening almost from the start.

Connelly considered Leonsis' handling of the discussions first class, according to a source.

Sheppard, former Hawks GM Danny Ferry and Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver are the other known primary candidates.

In April, NBC Sports Washington first reported Connelly considered the Wizards his “dream job,” according to sources. The Catholic University alum began his NBA career as an intern with Washington in 1996 before holding various full-time front office positions under Grunfeld. He left for New Orleans in 2010.

The Wizards face significant challenges before re-entering contention in the Eastern Conference. With Wall injured, two-time All-Star Bradley Beal is the only healthy returning starter. 2018 first round pick Troy Brown Jr. is the only other valued long-term asset beyond the ninth overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft,

More than half of last season’s roster is entering some form of free agency. Washington could have limited salary cap space depending on which players return.

The situation requires the kind of roster-shaping creativity Connelly demonstrated in Denver. The Wizards now must look elsewhere for their new front office leader.

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Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant and 35 Ventures announced Wednesday that his documentary, "Basketball County: In the Water," about the rich history of basketball stars from Prince George's County, MD will premiere on May 15 on Showtime.

The Sports Business Journal reported in mid-February that Durant was creating a documentary focusing on the prominence of basketball stars raised in PG County and was "putting the finishing touches" on the project. 

Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, serve as the executive producers of the highly-anticipated piece.

With the sports world at a standstill amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Durant's feature will give sports fans something to put on their calendar.

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Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Entering Wednesday night, the 2K Wizards were riding a four-game winning streak. They had beat the Celtics, Suns, Bucks and Lakers over the course of two weeks and looked like they might not lose again. 

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. At the hands of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the virtual Wizards lost 65-57. 

Here's how the game went down and slipped through the Wizards' fingers. 

Terrible shooting

Multiple brick houses were built during the making of this sim. 

The Wizards and Pelicans couldn't buy a jumper all game, especially from beyond the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 2-for-31 from three, a scorching 6.5%. 

To put this in a real-life context, this would have nearly broken an NBA record for combined three-point percentage with a minimum of 30 attempts. The current NBA record is reluctantly held by the Celtics and Nets on a night in 2003 where the two teams shot a combined 2-for-32 from three. 

Bradley Beal went 0-7 from three, Brandon Ingram missed all six of his attempts and JJ Redick didn't make a triple either. Just a weird night from three-point for two teams who were both top-five in three-point percentage before the 2019-20 season was suspended. 

Zion dunks his way to a win

The thing about having Williamson on your team is that, in games like this where nobody can hit a jumper, the Pelicans' best player didn't have to make much of an adjustment. 

Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, whether he's putting his armpits in the rim on a duck, bullying defenders down low and finishing layups through them or wreaking havoc on the offensive glass. 

So in a game where the only real source of offense came in the paint, Zion was right at home. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks, shot 13-for-17 from the floor and tallied seven dunks in the game. 

The Wizards will get a chance at revenge before the season is out, but the No. 1 overall pick got the best of them this time. 

Parting thoughts

Beal got his shot blocked three times in this game alone, continuing an interesting trend we've seen through a few of these simulations. Beal had his shot blocked 52 times during the regular season, which puts him at 44th most in the league. The 2K sims have been fairly accurate to this point, but it appears Beal is getting his shot sent back a bit too much. 

Rui Hachimura had another good game in the 2K sim and continues to prove how valuable his skill and mobility at his size can be in such a setting. The rookie forward finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and went 6-for-9 from the floor. 

Davis Bertans didn't attempt a three in 13 minutes of playing time. During the regular season, Bertans averaged one three-point attempt every three minutes, so it was definitely bizarre to see him on the floor and not launch a single shot from deep. 

Beal may have had a rough game statistically, scoring 20 points on 9-of-25 shooting, but he at least produced a few highlight dunks including one on Williamson. 

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