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Wizards end Summer League with loss to Mavs, but solid outings for Troy Brown and others


Wizards end Summer League with loss to Mavs, but solid outings for Troy Brown and others

The 2018 Las Vegas Summer League is over for the Washington Wizards and, despite their losing record, they have to feel pretty good about how things went.

Their top prospects played well for the most part, including first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. Second round pick Issuf Sanon got a small taste of the action, but took an important step in his nascent development. And they should feel better about Devin Robinson's future after how he fared in his second year in the league.

Here's analysis of their 96-92 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night and some big-picture thoughts on the guys who stood out...

Robinson almost killed a guy: This wasn't Robinson's best game, as he finished with 13 points on 4-for-14 from the field. But he may have had his best play of the Summer League and the best play for any Wizards player in Vegas.

Robinson was fed in stride on the fastbreak and there was nothing Dallas' Kyle Collinsworth could to do stop him:

How about that pass from Brown? The vision and ability to put it right on the money with Robinson on the run was nothing short of amazing. Keep in mind the guy is only 18 years old.

Let's take another look at the slam:

Though his shot wasn't falling, Robinson contributed in a variety of ways. He had 12 rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal.

What a Summer League overall for Robinson. It doesn't guarantee much about his future, but it does help his case as he seeks a more permanent role in the NBA.

Sanon hit some shots: Through his first three Summer League games, Sanon went scoreless. He broke out in his fourth and once he did, the shots just kept on falling.

Sanon hit not one but three three-pointers all in the third quarter. He hit one from the corner, one from the slot and one from the center. Here is his first three:

That was also a nice pass from Thomas Bryant, who has impressed as a passer out of the post in Vegas. But regarding Sanon's shots, it's clear he's got confidence in his stroke and at a base-level showed he is comfortable shooting from three-point range.

Tomas Satoransky explained last year as a rookie how it's tough to adjust to the NBA three-point line coming from European play. Sanon may have a few years to wait before he comes over to the U.S., but Friday was a good sign.

Sanon ended up with nine points and an assist.

Brown impressed: Most of Brown's games in the Summer League went much like this one did. He started slow shooting the ball, found a rhythm and never looked back. Brown had a decent first half of eight points, but then broke out in the third quarter with eight points in the frame on 4-for-6 shooting.

He ended up with 25 points (10-for-21 FG, 2-for-6 3PT), six rebounds, three assists and three steals. It may have been his most well-rounded offensive game out of his five total outings.

Brown knocked down several outside shots, including a corner three and one from about 26 feet out to beat the shot clock. He also mixed in a variety of shots around the rim, including an and-1 on the fastbreak.

The Wizards relied heavily on Brown as their point guard, even when he shared the floor with Chris Chiozza. They clearly want to get a good look at him playing that position, perhaps to determine whether they need to seek another point guard in free agency. As currently constructed, they have Satoransky and Austin Rivers behind John Wall. If Brown can be relied on as a third or fourth point guard option, they won't have to add a guy on a cheap deal like they did this past season with Ramon Sessions and Ty Lawson.

Brown will have to prove his ball-handling is good enough to play point in the real NBA, but he showed promise in the Summer League. He has a tight handle, at least going right, and clearly has some skills passing the ball. The fact he does not yet have a reliable outside shot, however, will be a consideration in playing him at point guard. Also, whether he can guard small and quick guards has to be determined.

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NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division


NBA offseason grades: With Kawhi Leonard, Raptors shined most in Atlantic Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Atlantic Division...

Toronto Raptors, B+

2017-18 finish: 59-23, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Kawhi Leonard, G Danny Green, C Greg Monroe
Out: G DeMar DeRozan, C Jakub Poeltl, C Lucas Nogueira

The Raptors had one of the more consequential offseasons of any NBA team this year. First, they fired Dwane Casey, the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, following a season in which they won 59 games. Then, they pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a deal that featured two perennial All-NBA players. They let go of DeRozan and brought in Leonard in return. If they hadn't parted with DeRozan and Casey, they may have gotten an A. But it's hard to tell how much better they will be following the deal and Leonard does bring with him some concerns based on his quadriceps injury and the fact he has only one year left on his contract. The Raptors do, however, also get points for re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet.

Boston Celtics, C

2017-18 finish: 55-27, conference finals
In: C Robert Williams, G Brad Wanamaker
Out: C Greg Monroe

One year ago, the Celtics flipped nearly their entire roster and brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, they mostly stood pat and didn't add much of anything in free agency or trades. Their biggest acquisition was Williams, who they took 27th overall in the first round of the draft. The Celtics will hope they improve from within. They re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, and should get Irving and Hayward back from injuries. They should have plenty of talent to compete for an NBA Finals berth, but as far as this offseason goes, they didn't do much.

Philadelphia 76ers, D+

2017-18 finish: 52-30, 2nd round of playoffs
In: F Wilson Chandler, C Mike Muscala, G Zhaire Smith, G Landry Shamet
Out: G Marco Belinelli, F Ersan Ilyasova

Where do we begin? This summer was about as dramatic and bad as it could get for the Sixers. First, they had to fire their general manager because of a burner Twitter account scandal. Then, they struck out miserably in free agency with LeBron James and Paul George, and in trade talks for Leonard. After that, Smith - their first round pick - hurt his foot. And along the way, Ben Simmons has been dating a Kardashian, flirting with the curse that has claimed many pro athletes before him. Philly did re-sign J.J. Redick and Johnson, and the Chandler trade was nice, but all in all it was an offseason that fell way short of the Sixers' expectations. That said, they can still get way better next season based solely on their young players taking another step.

New York Knicks, B

2017-18 finish: 29-53, missed playoffs
In: F Mario Hezonja, F Kevin Knox, F Noah Vonleh, C Mitchell Robinson
Out: F Michael Beasley, G Jarrett Jack, F Kyle O'Quinn

It's been a while since the Knicks had an offseason to write home about and this one is no exception. There was nothing they did that would flirt with an A-grade. However, the early returns on their draft are excellent. Knox and Robinson were both standouts in the Summer League and offer fans a little bit more hope about the team's future. As long as Kristaps Porzingis can return this season safe and sound from his ACL tear, the Knicks could take a step forward in 2018-19.

Brooklyn Nets, C+

2017-18 finish: 28-54, missed playoffs
In: F Ed Davis, F Kenneth Faried, F Jared Dudley
Out: F Dante Cunningham, G Nik Stauskas, C Jahlil Okafor

The best news about the Nets' offseason is that their trade with the Celtics, the one that stripped them of years of first round picks, is finally over. Next year, the Nets will have a first round pick. This summer, they once again didn't add any major pieces in the draft, but seemed to make some smart moves in free agency. The Davis deal is solid and Faried may benefit from a change of scenery. More baby steps for Brooklyn.

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NBA offseason grades: Wizards, Magic highlight Southeast Division


NBA offseason grades: Wizards, Magic highlight Southeast Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Southeast Division...

Washington Wizards, B+

2017-18 finish: 43-39, 1st round of playoffs
In: C Dwight Howard, G Austin Rivers, G Troy Brown, Jr., F Jeff Green, C Thomas Bryant
Out: C Marcin Gortat, F Mike Scott, G Ty Lawson, G Tim Frazier, G Ramon Sessions, F Chris McCullough

Given the circumstances of their salary cap situation, the Wizards did quite well for themselves this summer. They shook things up by trading Gortat and actually got something solid back for him in Rivers. They then filled Gortat's spot with an eight-time All-Star in Howard and did so at a bargain price, the taxpayer mid-level exception. They also added Green at a nice price and Brown, who acquitted himself nicely in the Summer League. Whether the Wizards made a major leap forward is debatable, but the potential is there for them to re-install themselves as contenders in the East. The possibility things go wrong is also there, but all in all, a strong summer for the Wizards.

Atlanta Hawks, B

2017-18 finish: 24-58, missed playoffs
In: G Jeremy Lin, C Alex Len, G Trae Young, G Vince Carter, G Kevin Huerter, F Justin Anderson, F Omari Spellman
Out: G Dennis Schroeder, C Mike Muscala, C Dewayne Dedmon, G Malcolm Delaney, G Isaiah Tayor

The Hawks did a nice job with the draft by picking up an extra first round pick just to move back two spots (from third to fifth) in their trade with the Mavericks. They added Young with the fifth pick and then got Huerter later on at No. 18. The Len signing at two years and $8.5 million looks like a bargain and they added a nice mix of veteran free agents and young players to develop. It will probably be a few years before the Hawks are back in the playoffs, but they seemed to take a step forward this summer.

Miami Heat, D

2017-18 finish: 44-38, 1st round of playoffs
In: F Duncan Robinson
Out: G Dwyane Wade, G Wayne Ellington, F Luke Babbitt

The Heat had one of the least impactful summers of any team in the NBA. The biggest addition they have so far, and this is true, is Robinson. They didn't make any draft picks and struck out in free agency. What they did do is let go of Wade, Ellington and others. The only way the Heat improve year-over-year is if their young guys like Bam Adebayo or Justise Winslow take a big step forward. 

Charlotte Hornets, C+

2017-18 finish: 36-46, missed playoffs
In: C Bismack Biyombo, F Miles Bridges, G Devonte' Graham
Out: C Dwight Howard, G Michael Carter-Williams, G Treveon Graham

New Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak quickly turned the franchise into a different direction this offseason by trading Howard to the Nets. They then added Biyombo in a deal with the Magic and acquired Bridges through the draft. There isn't a lot to love or hate about the Hornets' offseason, so they fall in the middle of the grading scale. The real question now is what they do with Kemba Walker, who has just one year left on his contract.

Orlando Magic, B+

2017-18 finish: 25-57, missed playoffs
In: C Mohamed Bamba, C Timofey Mozgov, F Justin Jackson, F Jarell Martin, G Jerian Grant
Out: G Mario Hezonja, C Marreese Speights, G Arron Aflalo

The Magic had a strong summer. The re-signed forward Aaron Gordon, a rising young player, and drafted Bamba, who has the tools to become an All-Star and a dominant defensive force. They had some questionable moves, like trading for Mozgov, but the future looks a lot brighter for the Magic than it did just a few months ago.

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