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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Kevin Knox

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Kevin Knox

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Kevin Knox

School: Kentucky
Position: Power forward
Age: 18 (turns 19 on Aug. 11)
Height: 6-9
Weight: 213
Wingspan: 6-11 3/4
Max vertical: 36.5

2017/18 stats: 15.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 44.5 FG%, 34.1 3PT% (1.5 3P/4.5 3PA), 77.4 FT%
Player comparison: Antawn Jamison/Tobias Harris
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, NBADraft.net 11th, Bleacher Report 15th, Sports Illustrated 11th

5 things to know:

*Knox projects as a stretch-four with the ability to play some small forward in bigger lineups. He has good range and proved at Kentucky he can get super hot from three. He made three threes or more in eight different games, including on Jan. 27 against West Virginia when he made five threes and dropped a career-high 34 points. He could be a strong outside shooter at the next level.

*He is still only 18-years-old, which means he could keep growing. At the very least, he is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. 

*Knox's concerns center around his ability to create off the dribble and his potential on defense. Knox blocked only 10 shots his entire freshman season with the Wildcats. He did, however, show promise as a rebounder. He averaged 5.4 boards per game and had seven games where he grabbed eight or more, including 11 against LSU on Jan. 3.

*He was a top-10 recruit entering Kentucky who played in the McDonald's All-American game. Knox has two gold medals from representing Team USA at FIBA tournaments.

*Knox's father was a star wide receiver at Florida State and was part of their 1993 national championship team. He went on to play one season in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted in the sixth round.

Fit with Wizards: Knox would be a perfect fit positionally for the Wizards both in the short- and long-term. As a rookie, he would slide in as their primary backup power forward who could also pitch in at small forward. He would add scoring to their bench as a nice contrast to the defense of Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Ian Mahinmi.

Beyond next season, Knox could potentially start. The Wizards have both of their starting big men, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat, on expiring deals. Knox could probably coexist with Morris, if he sticks around, and give the Wizards two big men that can shoot.

The problem is that Knox may not be there at 15. He seems like a safe bet to rise up draft boards in the next few weeks, possibly even into the top 10.

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Bradley Beal's recent scoring surge has him in the company of all-timers

Bradley Beal's recent scoring surge has him in the company of all-timers

The wins haven't been there for the Wizards, but over the last 15 games, Bradley Beal has played the best basketball of his career. 

He has the second-longest streak of 25-point games (15) this season, recently set a new career-high for 30-point games in a season (25) and just dropped 50 points on back-to-back nights. The last player to do that? Kobe Bryant

Beal is averaging 36.7 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds to go along with 49.5/36.4/86.2 shooting splits. He didn't make the All-Star game, but Beal is making a serious push for an All-NBA selection at the end of the season. 

But just how impressive is it? How does Beal's recent surge stack up against the best players in the NBA this season and former greats of the game?

At this point in the season, only two players have averaged as many points as Beal in a 15-game stretch: James Harden and Damian Lillard, two of the best high-usage scorers in the league. 

Let's forget about averages for a moment. Over the 15-game span in question, Beal has scored a total of 550 points, the highest total in franchise history since Walt Bellamy in 1963-64. Bellamy owns the top four totals in Wizards history, so Beal's stretch comes in at fifth. To be in the same sentence as a Hall-of-Famer, though? Huge accomplishment.

Changing gears, it's time to talk about these 50-pieces Beal is growing accustomed to lately. Entering Wednesday night's game with Brooklyn, Beal's coming off two straight 50-point games. If he were to get 50 again, he'd be in the company of some all-timers. 

Last five players to score 50 points in three straight games

Kobe Bryant: 4 (2007)
Michael Jordan: 3 (1987)
Wilt Chamberlain: 3 (1963)
Elgin Baylor: 3 (1962)
Wilt Chamberlain: 3 (1962)

If Beal is going to get to three-straight games of 50-plus points, he'll probably have to have a few more monster fourth quarters. He already put up a 22-point fourth quarter on Monday against Milwaukee and a 21-point fourth against Chicago on Sunday.

His explosion against the Bucks marks the fourth-highest scoring fourth quarter in the NBA this season. Zach LaVine, Jordan Clarkson and Coby White are the only players with more believe it or not. 

To put it in context with Wizards history, the 22-point fourth ranks as the fourth-highest scoring quarter for a Wizard since 1998, and if we're talking about the highest-scoring fourth quarters in Wizards history, Beal would own the top three. 

Beal has shown no signs of slowing down in this ruthless revenge tour he's putting opposing defenses through since he was snubbed from the All-Star game. It'd be nice for the Wizards to get a few more wins as they push for the last playoff spot in the East, but for now, Washington fans can sit back and enjoy the show. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Real Marquee Matchup: Bradley Beal looks to keep historic streak going vs. Nets

Real Marquee Matchup: Bradley Beal looks to keep historic streak going vs. Nets

It is only natural when a player has a big game, like scoring 50 points, to wonder if they can do it again. Bradley Beal actually did that this week, scoring 55 points against the Bucks just one night after dropping 53 on the Bulls.

Now he goes into Wednesday night with a chance to do something no one has done since Kobe Bryant in 2007: score 50 points in three consecutive games. Only four players have ever gone for 50-plus in three straight: Bryant, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain.

Beal, of course, has technically scored 53-plus in two straight games. If he were to somehow do that a third time, he would be only the second player to accomplish the feat. Chamberlain is the other.

Basically, if Beal were to go off for 50 or more again, it would put him in extremely rare company, even rarer than the group he joined on Monday night. So, expectations should definitely be set accordingly.

That said, Beal happens to have some recent success against the team he will face on Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets. Beal has scored 30-plus in his last three meetings with them, shooting 53.7 percent from the field along the way. The Wizards won two of those three games. 

Earlier this month, Beal went off for 34 points with six rebounds, three steals and three blocks against Brooklyn. He has their number.

The Nets, though, are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. They boast the seventh-best defensive rating (107.9), are fourth in opponent field goal percentage (44.1) and ninth in three-point percentage (34.5).

And those numbers are while playing a lot of games with Kyrie Irving. Though Irving is one of the most gifted offensive players in the league, there is reason to believe Brooklyn could get better defensively now that he is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Can Beal keep it rolling? Watch at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.