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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

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Wizards know Sixers' former 1st overall pick Ben Simmons presents unique threat

The Philadelphia 76ers, amazingly, will have not one but two No. 1 overall draft picks making their NBA debuts on Wednesday night when the Wizards host the Sixers in their regular season opener at Capital One Arena.

Markelle Fultz is getting much of the hype and understandably. He was the most recent top pick, is from the D.C. area and the Sixers had to trade up to get him. But Ben Simmons is also ready to debut and the Wizards aren't about to overlook him.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has already watched some of the limited film available on the 2016 top pick and he likes what he sees.

"He's a problem. He can do a lot of good things on the court. He has great size and strength. His athleticism is off the charts," Brooks said. "He has size, he has length, he has jumping ability. He's going to be a heck of a player for a long time."


Simmons, 21, is 6-foot-10 but has the mobility of a guard. At the NBA Draft Combine in 2016, he recorded a 41 1/2-inch. max vertical leap, equal to Zach LaVine and higher than Aaron Gordon. His agility test time was better than Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.

Athletes like Simmons don't come around often. He's a difficult player to match up with, regardless of his inexperience and reputation as a poor shooter. Size and speed are two things that can't be taught.

Whom the Wizards throw at him will be interesting. Perhaps Kelly Oubre, Jr. or Otto Porter will get the nod. Brooks, though, insists it won't be up to one player.

"We have the versatility on defense where we can match up with different players. That can help us guard players like that. But you're talking about a guy who can put the ball on the floor and get to spaces and spots that normally a 6-10 guy doesn't. Your team defense has to be locked in," Brooks said.

Simmons missed all of last season with a foot injury, but was impressive this preseason. A player who can pass like this at 6-foot-10 is a serious anomaly:


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Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 



John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.