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Wizards notch first Summer League win behind big games from Brown, Robinson and Bryant


Wizards notch first Summer League win behind big games from Brown, Robinson and Bryant

The long and arduous three-game wait for the Wizards' first Summer League victory is finally over, as Washington took out the Sixers 87-75 in their Las Vegas regular season finale on Monday night.

Okay, the final result is pretty much meaningless, but once again they saw impressive games from their top prospects.

Troy Brown, Jr., Devin Robinson and Thomas Bryant outshined the Sixers youngsters to combine for 61 points.

Here's analysis of the Wizards' win...

Robinson is coming into his own: What a difference one year can make. Robinson, who spent most of his rookie season in the G-League, has returned to the Summer League a noticeably better player. He was borderline dominant in this one, finishing with 22 points in just 30 minutes.

His efficiency was remarkable as the Sixers had no answer to stop him. He made 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 2-for-4 from three. He also had two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block.

Much of what Robinson is doing is rooted in his superior athleticism, but some of his developing skills are shining through. He is much more adept off the dribble and is even working in a stepback jumper. He's still workshopping it, however, as one of his stepback shots resulted in a traveling call.

Robinson can fly down the court and is aggressive attacking the rim. With his length and rare leaping ability, he is putting a lot of pressure on opposing defenses in the lane. And his ability to step out and hit threes has been a big asset for the Wizards.

This was one of his best plays on Monday, a corner three to beat the shot clock buzzer:

Brown stuffs the stat sheet: It was another strong outing for Brown, who put up 23 points to go along with eight rebounds and two assists. He even hit his first three of the Summer League, a stepback triple from way outside:

One thing that continues to stand out about Brown is his touch around the rim. He has a nice hook shot and floater. In this game, he knocked down a sweet runner from about seven feet out midway through the third quarter.

Another thing that Brown has shown is a willingness to take risks passing the ball. Sometimes that results in turnovers, but he is always trying to thread the needle and it's going to result in some highlights when he connects.

Brown, for the record, thoroughly outplayed Zhaire Smith, the guy picked one spot behind him in last year's draft. Smith was a non-factor with two points in 23 minutes on 1-for-9 shooting and two turnovers.

Young Bryant has a high I.Q.: It's tough to project what Thomas Bryant can do for the Wizards in the NBA next season by watching these games because he has such a size advantage over many of his opponents and is playing in his second year in the league. Some of the stuff he is doing around the rim might be easily defended by veterans in the NBA.

But what is clear about Bryant is that he is a smart player for his age. He doesn't make the dumb mistakes one might expect from a 20-year-old known for his athleticism and high ceiling. He is fundamentally sound and seems to know his limitations and stay within them.

Bryant had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the win. His best play was this block:

Kendley can fly: Tiwian Kendley, an undrafted guard from Morgan State University in Maryland, has shown he has the athleticism to belong at the NBA level. He didn't have a great game, as he scored nine points but needed eight shots to get there, but there's no question the guy has speed and can leap.

Kendley blows past defenders in the fastbreak on the regular and on this play finished with a nice slam:

His athleticism alone may be reason to give him a spot on the G-League roster, just to see what he turns into.




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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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John Wall's sneaker closet is next-level – here are his favorite Adidas

John Wall's sneaker closet is next-level – here are his favorite Adidas

When John Wall re-signed with Adidas this past January, it was time to stock his shoe closet with all the newest, most exclusive Three Stripes designs. 

The brand is known for its designer collaborations and limited releases that can push the pricetags up into the hundreds. 

Cost is no object for Wall, who invited Chris Miller into the shoe closet of his Miami mansion. You can watch the full closet tour in the video player above.

Wall keeps thousands of dollars of footwear organized inside specially lit display cases. But what are his favorites? He pulled out six Adidas designs he's been loving this the summer. 

1. Raf Simons Replicant Ozweego Independence Day – These sneakers are the product of Adidas's collaboration with Belgian designer Raf Simons, who has worked as creative director of fashion houses Christian Dior and Calvin Klein. Wall got his hands on the Independence Day colorway of these sneakers before they were released in July. They're available retail for $450 at Saks Fifth Avenue

2. Yeezy Boost 700 "Wave Runner" – Designed as part of Kanye West's Yeezy collection, the "Wave Runner" has been a popular model since its first release in February 2017. A third release is scheduled sometime later this year, but to purchase them now, Flight Club sells pairs ranging from $575 to $1,320

3. Twinstrike ADV – Wall has the Twinstrike in multiple bold colorways. The shoe debuted late in 2017 and is more attainable than the first two pairs he showed off. They're available at Barneys New York for $180

4. EQT Support Ultra King Push “Bodega Babies” – These EQT Support sneakers got an update in collaboration with rapper Pusha T. The sock-style primeknit has been a popular design feature for Adidas. The sneakers are limited release, but retail at $220 at Barneys New York.

5. Pharrell NMD Hu Trail “Holi" in Pink Glow – This exclusive collaboration with hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams was inspired by the Holi festival of colors in India. Released in limited quantities in early March of 2018, the shoe's retail price was $250. To buy a pair now, it'll cost anywhere from $325 to $480 at Flight Club

6. Originals Gazelle – Finally, Wall gets to a classic! The Gazelle was originally designed in the mid-1960s and became one of Adidas's most recognizable, popular designs throughout the brand's history. They're popular, easy to find and affordable. The Adidas website has a whole section devoted to the Gazelle, which comes in men's, women's and kids' sizes. A standard pair of men's costs around $80 at retail

For those not keeping track, the six shoes above combine to cost around $2,000 or more. But whether people can afford them or not isn't the point. 

Wall told Miller how he couldn't afford the sneakers he loved as a kid, but still kept track of all the new releases and special styles. As he made money and started to build his shoe collection, he treated it like collecting fine art.

But also like art, you don't have to own designer sneakers to appreciate them. 

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