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Wizards hiring Antawn Jamison continues major front office expansion

Bullets Forever

Wizards hiring Antawn Jamison continues major front office expansion

The goal for the Wizards this offseason in restructuring the organization has been to add more people, to create new jobs and have more specialized roles. That process continued on Wednesday, as they announced the addition of three new positions. Antawn Jamison will be their director of pro personnel and Laron Profit and John Carideo have joined the team as pro scouts.

Excluding in-house promotions, this means the Wizards have made at least 10 new hires in the past month; seven to the front office and three to their coaching staff. For a refresher, those 10 people are Sashi Brown, John Thompson III, Dr. Daniel Medina, Johnny Rogers, Mark Simpson, Michael Longabardi, Corey Gaines, Dean Oliver, Profit and Carideo.

That is a lot of fresh perspectives and a lot more money being spent by ownership. While they have added 10 people, only two have left the organization: former team president Ernie Grunfeld and former assistant coach Maz Trakh. 

One other executive to monitor is VP of player programs Ed Tapscott. He was offered a new position, but at the time NBC Sports Washington was told that news he had yet to take it.

Still, clearly more people are coming in the door than walking out of it. Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis is scaling his front office larger, aiming to catch up with some of the more modernly constructed organizations around the league. The Wizards had previously operated with a smaller, more streamlined front office than many of their counterparts.

The Jamison hire may excite Wizards fans more than any of the others. He is one of the best players in team history, having spent five-and-a-half seasons in Washington from 2004 to 2010. With the Wizards, he made two All-Star teams and averaged 20.8 points and 8.9 rebounds. He was perhaps best known for his wide array of shot release angles.

Jamison helped lead the Wizards to four straight playoff appearances after the franchise had made the postseason just once in their previous 16 tries. He was well-liked by fans and remains one of their most popular alumni.

After leaving the Wizards, Jamison played through his Age 37 season. Following his retirement as a player, he served as a broadcaster for the Lakers before joining their front office as a scout. 

Jamison will work closely with Rogers, the team's new VP of pro personnel, as the Wizards beef up their pro scouting operation. Jamison will help oversee scouting for the Capital City Go-Go of the G-League, in addition to the NBA club.

Jamison's return to the Wizards also reunites him with general manager Tommy Sheppard, who was part of the front office that acquired him back in 2004. 

The Wizards traded the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft (Devin Harris), Christian Laettner and Jerry Stackhouse to the Mavericks to get Jamison, who had just won the NBA's sixth man of the year award. Jamison then blossomed into an All-Star while playing alongside Gilbert Arenas with Larry Hughes and then Caron Butler as the third star. 

In a press release about Jamison's hire, Sheppard raved about his work ethic and character, saying he looks forward to Jamison "bringing those qualities to our front office." Jamison was known for his professionalism as a player. The fact he was still averaging 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game at 35 years old in 2011-12 was no accident.

Back when Jamison was in Washington, he kept a poster of the Larry O'Brien NBA championship trophy in his locker. Nowadays, John Wall does the same.

And now Jamison is back, continuing the quest to win the real thing with Washington.



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WATCH: Rui Hachimura throws down a vicious dunk and lets the Heat know it

WATCH: Rui Hachimura throws down a vicious dunk and lets the Heat know it

Rui Hachimura is one of the more soft-spoken players on the Wizards, but you wouldn't be able to collect that from his highlight dunk Friday night in Miami. 

Early in the second quarter while the Wizards were riding the momentum from their win over Philadelphia the night before, Hachimura threw down a loud one-handed slam to give them a 12-point lead. 

Then he let out a scream to let the entire arena know what they just witnessed. 

Hachimura has struggled most of the year with finishing through contact inside. Over the last two weeks, he's had the two best games of his career against the Clippers (30 points) and Sixers (27) due in large part to the rookie playing with more physicality offensively. 

The Wizards have to like what they've seen out of Hachimura already this season, and these kinds of incremental growths are all you can really ask for from a first-round pick. 

Hachimura seemed to hit a wall two weeks ago, but he adjusted tried playing with more physicality and it's paying off for him. 


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Jimmy Butler dominates as Wizards' valiant effort in Miami falls short

Jimmy Butler dominates as Wizards' valiant effort in Miami falls short

It would've been easy for the Wizards to rest on the excitement of Thursday night's win over the Sixers and phone it in against the Heat before a Friday night in Miami. 

But they didn't, and while they didn't come up with the win, the Wizards showed resolve and grit against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. 

Here are the top takeaways from the 112-103 loss. 

Wizards forced to use their depth

Coming into the game the Wizards were already down CJ Miles, Jordan McRae and Thomas Bryant with long-term injuries, but then Ian Mahinmi was scratched so he didn't have to play a back-to-back and Isaiah Thomas was ruled out with the same calf injury that kept him on the sidelines against Philly. 

So Scott Brooks reached deep down his bench and deployed some lineup combinations he's rarely had to go with this year. Moe Wagner and Ish Smith got the start alongside Bradley Beal Isaac Bonga and Rui Hachimura while Davis Bertans, Troy Brown and Chris Chiozza were his top reserves. 

At one point, the Wizards fielding a lineup of Chiozza-Brown-Bertans-Bonga-Schofield. Per Cleaning the Glass, those five players have yet to share the court together this season. 

But the Wizards played well. They weren't flat on the second night of a back-to-back, which many would have expected coming off such a great win at home the night before, and they matched the intensity of a consistently hard-playing Heat team for most of the game. 

That's a sign of good culture, which is something the franchise has prioritized in a rebuilding year. I'd be excited to see how they handle the Clippers at home after getting their doors blown off in LA not too long ago. 

Bertans' trade value keeps growing

Davis Bertans showed out on the big stage against the Sixers Thursday and continued his hot streak from deep in Miami. He finished with 19 points, going 5-13 from three, and it's clear defenses are insanely worried about him coming off screens. 

With an expiring $7 million deal, Bertans is a prime trade target for contenders who need bench scoring and floor spacing. 

Before the year it would have been blasphemous for the Wizards to get a first-round pick for Bertans, but now? I'd be surprised if they don't get at least one for him if they wish to deal him. 

An elite uniform night

It's "City Edition" season in the NBA and the Wizards and Heat brought it Friday night. 

The Wizards went with the "Stars and Stripes" for the second night in a row, while the Heat sported another iteration of their famous "Miami Vice" jerseys. 

I move for both uniform combinations to be made permanent additions for years to come. 

Rui Hachimura vs Herro and Nunn

This game featured three of the best rookies the game has had to offer in Rui Hachimura, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Herro turned in the best game by a healthy margin with 22 points, but Hachimura proved he's at a similar level as those two standouts. 

The ninth overall pick turned in another solid line with 14 points, six rebounds and a loud dunk

Hachimura seemed to hit a wall two weeks ago but is now back to showing key improvements in every game. 

The Wizards have to be thrilled with what they've seen so far out of the rookie and it's exciting to think about his upside on both ends of the floor running alongside Beal and John Wall. 

No answers for Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo may be one of the most versatile centers in NBA history. 

He has unreal foot speed and instincts on defense that allows him to guard just about everyone on the floor, and his ball-handling on offense is unprecedented for such a young big man. 

On Friday, the Wizards' shaky paint defense had next to no answers for Adebayo, who ended up with 24 points and 13 rebounds on 10-16 shooting. 

The good news for the Wizards is there aren't many players like Adebayo in the league today, but at some point, they're going to have to figure out how to defend the paint.