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Wizards' game against Knicks just small part of packed itinerary in London

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Wizards' game against Knicks just small part of packed itinerary in London

At some point on Monday, once the biggest snowstorm the Washington area has seen in three years subsides, the Wizards will take off from Dulles airport and fly roughly 3,700 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to England. They were supposed to leave Sunday evening following their double-overtime loss to the Raptors, but Mother Nature had other plans.

The delay should disrupt what was already set to be a busy and unusual week, as the Wizards are going overseas to play the New York Knicks on Thursday at The Q2 in London. The plan was to arrive in England around 7 a.m. Monday morning and have three days to get adjusted to the time change of five hours, plus some jet lag. Now, they will have less time to get acclimated.

Once there, the Wizards will have a busy schedule of practices and events. They have team dinners and charity appearances as they, along with the Knicks, will represent the National Basketball Association on the global stage.

The Wizards are taking a large group that goes well beyond the players, coaches and team staffers. Some players are bringing their families. Members of the WNBA's Mystics are going and so is the Wizards' dance team.

It is set to be a special week for the entire Wizards organization.

"We want them to enjoy it. We're not going to be there just to focus on basketball," head coach Scott Brooks. "We have a chance to be together in London. That's a great trip. It's a players' and coaches' dream. We get to go to a cool city and represent the league and represent our organization."

Brooks understands the privilege of going overseas for an NBA showcase. He was a player on the 1992-93 Houston Rockets who began their regular season with two games against the Seattle Supersonics in Yokohama, Japan. Though his Rockets lost both of those games, he has fond memories of the trip.

Brooks has been to London several times before and plans to visit Hyde Park at Kensington Palace where the team will have dinner one evening. Trevor Ariza is a big soccer fan and plans to go to Premier League game with his teammates. 

Tomas Satoransky and Ian Mahninmi, the team's two European players, will see their extended families during the trip. They both plan to have dozens of friends and family members at the game.

For many Wizards players, a major appeal of London is the shopping. Fashion is taken seriously in the NBA and Mahinmi, who grew up nearby France, apparently knows the best spots.

"Ian said he had a couple of places he wanted to take me," center Thomas Bryant said. "I'm gonna get some exclusive drip, get some clothes over there."

Brooks may not be as fashion forward as his players, but he said he also may do some shopping.

"I need some new drip. I'm gonna hang with Thomas," he joked.

Basketball has taken Bryant all over the world, to Uruguay and Dubai. But he has not been to London and never takes these opportunities for granted.

"It's not every day that somebody gets to do this," Bryant said. 

"Who gets to do that each and every day? I cherish that moment right there because I grew up in the inner city with not a lot of time traveling and everything. So, I'm just trying to take that time out there in London, I get to cherish it. I will take a lot of pictures, sightsee and just enjoy."

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John Wall ranked ninth-best top pick since 2000 by Bleacher Report

John Wall ranked ninth-best top pick since 2000 by Bleacher Report

All Wizards fans remember that faithful November 2nd night back in 2010. The Verizon Center was packed to the brim in anticipation of the 20-year-old phenom out of the University of Kentucky.   

The air was electric, and all fans rejoiced when the name "John Wall," was announced as the starting point guard of the Wizards, as they were set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Fast forward to 2020: Wall is a 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA selection, and 1x All-Defensive selection, but how does he measure up to the other No. 1 overall picks of the 2000s?

RELATED: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE 2010 DRAFT LOTTERY

Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey recently ranked the No.1 overall selections of the 2000s and he placed Wall ... ninth.

Bailey spelled out an intricate explanation of the methodology he used to rank these players, but I'll give the SparkNotes version before we dive into his reasoning. 

  • Box plus/minus, win shares per 48 minutes and player efficiency rating
  • Usage percentage
  • Both regular-season and playoff numbers
  • Championship points and MVP shares
  • A fan vote to "add a little subjective flavor"

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Now let's get into why Bailey slotted Wall at 9.

Bailey starts off acknowledging something that true fans of basketball are aware of: Prior to his recent injuries, Wall was one of the best guards in the game.

"He was one of the game's most dominant point men before that," Bailey said. 

"From 2013-14 to 2016-17, Wall averaged 20.0 points, 9.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game," he continued "In that stretch, the Wizards were plus-3.1 points per 100 possessions with Wall on the floor and minus-5.2 with him off."

I like the path you're on, Bailey, but don't forget to mention Wall was also an All-Star in every single season mentioned above. 

Bailey then went on to address the drop off in Walls production because of injury, which is fair, due to the fact that "Wall's only managed 73 appearances since the start of the 2017-18 campaign."

The eight players  ahead of Wall on the list are Derrick Rose, Karl-Anthony Towns, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James, respectively,

The nine slot for Wall isn't terrible seeing as though he's virtually missed the past two seasons of basketball. The bigger question is: When it's all said and done, how far can Wall catapult up this list? 

RELATED: WHERE DOES A HEALTHY JOHN WALL RANK AMONG NBA'S TOP 10 POINT GUARDS

Does he have to claim an MVP title to jump Rose? Will an NBA Championship place him above/below Irving? 

We'll just have to wait and see. 

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NBA's latest return-to-play plan would include Wizards in 22-team format

NBA's latest return-to-play plan would include Wizards in 22-team format

The NBA is reportedly targeting July 31 as the date to resume the 2019-20 season, but how the league will return to action is still under consideration.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, numerous members of the NBA's board of governors are in favor of a 22-team format that would likely include play-in games to compete for playoff spots.

In the proposed format, teams that are within six games of the final playoff spot would be invited to compete at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., where the league is planning to resume the season in a "bubble-like" format.

That means the Wizards, who currently sit 5.5 games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, would be the only team invited from the East that currently doesn't hold a playoff spot.

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In the West, four teams -- the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- are all within six games of the conference's final playoff spot. 

This news comes after general managers expressed their interest in expanding the playoff field from 16 to 20-24 teams earlier this week.

The NBA has yet to decide how the final playoff spot will be determined, whether that be based on multiple regular season games or a play-in style tournament, according to Wojnarowski. Regardless, the league is adamant about playing multiple regular season games before entering the playoffs, according to the report.

Commissioner Adam Silver indefinitely suspended the NBA season on March 11 when Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the league has been on hiatus ever since.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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