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Wes Unseld leaves important legacy as Wizards/Bullets legend and pillar of community

Wes Unseld leaves important legacy as Wizards/Bullets legend and pillar of community

A true giant in Wizards/Bullets franchise history and in the D.C. and Baltimore communities has left this Earth.

Wes Unseld, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 74, leaves the most decorated legacy of any player in the 59 seasons of Wizards/Bullets basketball. He is a Hall of Famer, league and NBA Finals MVP, rookie of the year, five-time All-Star and All-NBA selection. He led the franchise to their lone NBA championship, in 1978, and was a pillar on four Finals teams in the 1970s.

Unseld also coached in Washington for seven seasons, from 1987 to 1994, including as head coach for six years. And he served in executive front office roles before and after his stint as coach, including as general manager.

As an NBA player, Unseld has a lasting reputation as the most notorious screen-setter in league history. At 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, he was built like a refrigerator and used his wide frame to set powerful picks. 

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There are legendary tales of Unseld knocking opponents down, and even out, with his screens. He would catch players by surprise and meet them with the force and stability of a cinder block wall.

Unseld may also be the best outlet passer in NBA history. He was an all-time great rebounder, ranking 12th in the history books, and would start fastbreaks with crisp passes that covered the entire court.

Current NBA star Kevin Love modeled his outlet passes after Unseld, his godfather and a former teammate of his father, Stan. As Kevin tweeted on Tuesday, his middle name 'Wesley' is a nod to Unseld.

Unseld retired after 13 NBA seasons with many distinctions beyond his screen-setting, passing and rebounding. He is one of only two players in league history to win MVP and rookie of the year in the same season, joining Wilt Chamberlain. He led the Bullets to the playoffs in each of his first 12 seasons. The franchise would later only make the playoffs 12 times in a span of 33 years.

Unseld's No. 41 jersey now hangs in the rafters at Capital One Arena. And his career accolades remain the gold standard for Wizards/Bullets players, now 39 years following his retirement. 

Unseld is the all-time franchise leader in games played, minutes (by over 6,000) and rebounds (by over 4,000). Of the 10-best rebounding seasons in franchise history, he owns six of them, his best year being his MVP season in 1968-69 when he averaged 18.2 per game.

Unseld averaged 10.8 points and 14.0 rebounds in his career, which began with the Bullets in Baltimore and ended in Washington. He was named as one of the 50 greatest NBA players in 1996 during the celebration of the league's 50th anniversary.

Unseld's impact, however, is not only limited to the basketball court. He leaves a lasting legacy in Baltimore, MD where he and his wife, Connie, have run the Unselds School since 1979.

With students from pre-K through eighth grade, many kids have come through the halls in its more than 40 years of existence. The Unselds have helped improve the lives of countless children growing up in an underserved part of the country.

Unseld will be missed, but his contributions to basketball and the community will last for many years to come.

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New Brooklyn Net Michael Beasley sent home from Orlando bubble after testing positive for coronavirus

New Brooklyn Net Michael Beasley sent home from Orlando bubble after testing positive for coronavirus

Brooklyn Nets' newest acquisition, and Prince George's County native, Michael Beasley has been sent home from Orlando after testing positive for coronavirus, The Atletic's Shams Charania reports.

RELATED: FIVE TEAMS MOST HURT BY NBA'S LONG BREAK

Beasley never made it onto the Nets practice court, according to Houston Rockets reporter Kelly Iko. He arrived at the team's hotel, passed a physical examination, and then needed to test negative for coronavirus for six consecutive days before he would be cleared to join the team. 

He was never cleared. 

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It is unclear if or when Beasley will return to the bubble after this diagnosis. 

The Nets have been scrambling to put together a team ready to play in Orlando after they've lost half of their roster due to players opting-out or previous injuries.

The NBA released an official statement yesterday evening stating that of the 322 players tested for COVID-19 since arriving on the NBA Campus July 7, two have returned confirmed positive tests while in quarantine.

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5 teams that could be hurt most by the NBA's long break, including the Clippers and Raptors

5 teams that could be hurt most by the NBA's long break, including the Clippers and Raptors

Most of the questions you seem to hear about the NBA's long hiatus in between games this season involve which teams could be helped by it. Like, who benefitted most from the break and how does that affect the title odds?

But the break is likely to hurt some teams as well and not only the eight who had their seasons prematurely cut short when they were not invited to Disney World. Here are five teams that probably would have been better off if the season just kept rolling...

Raptors

One of the ways the break could hurt a team is if that team was playing really well before things came to a halt. The Raptors had the longest win streak in the NBA at the time the hiatus began (four games), and the best record in East over the previous 15 games (11-4). According to Basketball Reference's archive, they also had no significant injuries to report.

Things were shaping up well for Toronto and they were starting to create some distance between them, the No. 2 seed in the East, and the Celtics. Getting the two-seed would have been important in a normal postseason, as it usually means home court advantage until the conference finals.

Clippers

The Clippers could be dinged by the break in two ways. One is that their entire season was carefully designed around the load management of Kawhi Leonard. They were playing the long game, sitting him out here and there, hoping it would help keep him fresh for the playoffs. Now, those efforts have no real bearing on the present. Every team and every player should be well-rested after so much time off. 

The other way the break could be bad for the Clippers is how it may have helped the Lakers, their biggest competitor in the Western Conference. The months off gave an aging Lakers team time to rest and heal up. That means we should see the best version of LeBron James (35), Dwight Howard (34), Danny Green (33), JaVale McGee (32) and others. Plus, the rest could mean Anthony Davis won't be banged up come playoff time like he has been in the past.

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Nuggets

Denver is a team that could have been helped by the Lakers entering the postseason tired, as they are younger and might need some breaks to emerge through what appears to be an L.A. stronghold on the West. The Nuggets also had some trouble with players getting coronavirus and/or not making the trip to Orlando.

Nikola Jokic, their best player, got Covid-19 and still hasn't joined the team at Disney World. They also have yet to see Gary Harris, Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. And there has been some speculation about Monte Morris' whereabouts. Remember, the Nuggets also had to shut down their practice facility due to a coronavirus scare not long before teams traveled to Orlando. 

Kings

The Kings are one of the teams that was playing some of their best basketball of the season right when things got crazy in mid-March and the league pressed pause. They were 10-5 in their previous 15 games, a stretch that not only vaulted them into the playoff race, but could have made the difference in them getting invited in the first place.

Maybe they were peaking too soon. Maybe it was a mirage. But for a young team that had disappointed so far this season compared to last, it seemed like they were finally hitting their stride. They also had some coronavirus cases of their own and, like the Nuggets, had to shut down their facilities. One piece of good news for Sacramento, though, is that Marvin Bagley III had time to heal his foot.

Grizzlies

The Grizzlies had played themselves into the postseason picture before the break began, leaving things off at 32-33 with the eight-seed in the West. Now they go to Orlando with an adjusted playoff format and teams only needing to get within four games of them to force a play-in tournament.

That's not good for them and neither is the fact the New Orleans Pelicans, the 10th-seed, have reasons to suggest the break was really good for them. The Pelicans came out of it with a trimmed down Zion Williamson and a favorable schedule. Can Memphis hang on?

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