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Wizards begin new era of sorts against Cavs after trades of Otto Porter and Markieff Morris

Wizards begin new era of sorts against Cavs after trades of Otto Porter and Markieff Morris

The pair of trades the Wizards made on Wednesday night left them in better shape financially, as they got under the luxury tax and freed up potential cap room this offseason. However, they gave up two good players in Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris, and Porter in particular had been their second-best player for much of this season.

How much they have left after those deals is now a real question. Surely, they would still like to make the playoffs this year, but can they?

Friday night will be our first glimpse at the new-look Wizards now that their three trade deadline additions are in the fold. They brought in Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson, three guys who may or may not be in town beyond this season.

The Wizards are expected to trot them all out for the first time on Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game tips off at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

As the Wizards move forward, the first question is who starts in Porter’s place. The safe money is on Jeff Green, who is already in house and enjoying a strong season. He was the starter until just recently when Porter was put back into the lineup.

Whether any of the new players start or not, they are all likely to play a good deal of minutes. Johnson may be the only exception, though he has a few things working in his favor.

There could be an opportunity for minutes as Bradley Beal’s backup at the shooting guard position. Johnson is also shooting 38 percent from three this season. And, the Wizards have financial incentive to play him. 

With two-way guard Jordan McRae’s 45-day clock about 70 percent through, they could use Johnson to bide time until March 23, when the G-League season ends, to avoid guaranteeing his contract.

Portis and Parker are clearly going to play plenty. They are expected to be key cogs in the rotation in the Wizards’ frontcourt.

It will be interesting to see what that means for Sam Dekker. Brooks has relied on Dekker consistently since he was acquired in December, but that was mostly with either Porter or Morris injured. Now they have some depth at forward and Brooks will need to sort it out.

Portis and Bryant could also be a combination to watch. They have some similarities in their games and it wouldn’t be surprising if Brooks avoided playing them at the same time. It’s conceivable the two could split time at center and both be left out when Brooks opts to go small.

With Porter gone, the Wizards are going to need his scoring output replaced. Though Porter was never a high-volume scorer, he had been their second scoring option behind Beal in the wake of John Wall’s injury.

Parker seems poised to fill that void. Scoring has long been his best asset. Though he’s not nearly as efficient as Porter, Parker can probably give the Wizards 14-plus points per game. This year he averaged 14.3 points for the Bulls on 11.9 shots.

One area the Wizards could see an instant boost in is rebounding. Both Parker (6.2 rpg) and Portis (7.3 rpg) can help on the glass. Portis, in particular, could prove an upgrade over his predecessor, Morris. 

It may take some time for the Wizards to find out what they have in their three new players and what their ceiling is now as a team. That process begins on Friday night.

Watch Wizards Gameday Live at 12 p.m. on the MyTeams app to get ready for Wizards-Cavs.


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Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans was on fire once again on Tuesday night in the Wizards' loss to the Charlotte Hornets, as the Latvian Laser continues his breakout season in Washington hitting threes at a historic rate. Here are some numbers to put what he is doing in perspective...


Bertans had 32 points in Tuesday's game, the ninth time he has scored 20 or more already this season. He had scored 20-plus points only three times previously in his career.


Bertans has made six or more threes in a game six times already this season, including four times this month. Before he joined the Wizards, he had done it twice as an NBA player.


Bertans is one of only seven players in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make eight threes or more in a game. The others are Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rex Chapman and DeShawn Stevenson. Only Beal (nine) and Ariza (10) have made more than eight.


Bertans has made 92 threes through 23 games this season. The ony players who have made more through this point in NBA history are James Harden and Stephen Curry. The previous high for a Wizards/Bullets player was 72 (Arenas).


The 92 threes in 23 games has Bertans averaging four per game and on pace to make 328 on the season. Only two players have ever made 300-plus threes; Harden and Curry. The record is 402, by Curry in 2015-16.


Bertans has made four threes or more in six straight games and five or more in four straight. Both are franchise records. During this six-game stretch, Bertans is 36-for-71 (50.7%) from long range.


Bertans is making most of his threes on catch-and-shoot plays and leads the league in most related categories. He is tops in the NBA in points off catch-and-shoot plays (9.6/g), field goals made (3.2/g) and three-pointers made (3.1).


A whopping 70.8 percent of Bertans' shot attempts this season have come from three-point range. The next highest percentage for a Wizards player is 34.6 percent, by Moe Wagner.

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Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

NBC Sports Washington

Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

As a guard, Ish Smith is asked to do a lot on the court. Pass, shoot, and defend, the Wizards need him to do it all in order to succeed. On Tuesday, however, Smith demonstrated another on-court intangible that isn't always seen from NBA players: cleaning.

During the final moments of what would be a 114-107 loss to the Hornets, the game came to a halt in order to mop up a wet spot on the court. Smith happened to find himself near the large mop under the baseline, grabbed it and began helping out the worker. 

Overall, it's pretty good form here from Smith. He bent his knees, extended his arms and had a solid motion with the mop. Smith finished the night with 13 points and five assists in the boxscore, but this sixth assist was his most innovative.