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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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Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform


Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

The Washington Wizards have another new alternate jersey. On Wednesday, they released pictures of their 'Earned Edition' kit, which is essentially a red version of their 'The District' series.

The Wizards now have five jerseys. They are one of 16 teams with an 'Earned Edition' because they made the playoffs last season.

Here is a look at the new uniforms:

(photos via WashingtonWizards.com)

Notice the nod to the Washington monument up the sides of the jersey. Also, the D.C. flag on the waistband is a nice touch. 

The Wizards now have red and black versions that say 'The District' on the front. Last season, they they had one in white.

The Wizards will debut the uniform on Dec. 29 when they host the Chralotte Hornets.

Expect them to be mixed in for a few games over the course of the rest of this season.


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The story behind Kelly Oubre's post-dunk pose that went viral

The story behind Kelly Oubre's post-dunk pose that went viral

Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t know precisely what the moment required. The hops and charisma are always on standby regardless.

In one of his more controlled performances of the season, the Wizards’ forward managed to stand out in Monday’s road loss at Indiana. Not solely for his 23 points, even though it established a new season-high. Not just for a rim-rattling follow dunk, though props for the aerial work.

What came after the slam - his look to the camera and pose - is what got social media jumping. It’s why his popularity surpasses his production. It’s why his critics sometimes cannot help but smile.

Two days after turning 23, Oubre explained how the jam and viral video pose went down.

It started with two aspects not always associated with his game: Passing and court awareness.

Washington already trimmed Indiana’s 25-point lead to eight as the clock moved closer to the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and the Wizards executed a play.

Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris ran interference for Oubre as he dribbled toward the right elbow.  Despite openings for a drive or shot, the player who passes with the frequency of a wishbone quarterback stuck with the plan. He looked for Morris rolling toward the basket.

“I just looked at the situation. The play was for Keef to roll and be open. He was open,” recalled Oubre.

Enter Myles Turner. The Pacers’ center dominated the paint throughout, finishing with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Oubre’s dribble brought Turner his way, but on the pass, the mobile big man quickly shifted across the paint. Morris created space and lofted a half-hook. Turner’s wingspan, on display with ferocity all night, altered the shot.

Oubre thought it might. Standing alone and with a clear path to the basket, the sleek forward made his move. Quick and light steps positioned out front if a miss bounced his way. It did.

“Myles is a great rim protector," said Oubre. "I just figured that since he’s been altering shots all game. I’d at least jump to give myself a chance to follow it up.”

Morris’s banked shot went short off the glass, sending the ball off the front of the rim. Oubre read the carom’s angle like geometry major. He rose with ease and hammered dunk the miss with two hands.

“Perfect timing, the stars aligned.”

Then the personality popped.

Before Oubre touched back down, the smile began to form. He stuck the landing like a 6-foot-7 Kerri Strug, though with two good ankles. As the grin enveloped his face and Oubre looked out into the crowd of non-well-wishers, both hands attached to his hips, forming a perfect pair of isosceles triangles. 

Oubre: “The pose was just me having fun. Their fans was talking crazy [expletive] though. I was just smiling at them the whole game.”

Just posing would have put a nice capper on the high-rising moment. Ever the showman, Oubre added a final flourish.

As the megawatt smiled remained, he went with a full head nod toward the crowd. He knew what they witnessed and that they didn’t love it. Regardless, they had to appreciate the style and let them know he felt the same.

“I don’t really look around when I’m playing," said Oubre. "It was really just because the fans didn’t want us to do good.

“I just have a lot of personality, you know? It was a good time, man.”

Oubre’s highlight reel includes a new entry. Such moments wow fans and keep scouts intrigued. If only Oubre could hone the rest of his game, they think. He’s shooting under 30 percent on 3-pointers since January. His shot selection and struggles with team defensive concepts cause exasperation.

Some team might fall in lust regardless and offer the 2015 first-round pick a hefty contract when he hits restricted free agency this coming summer. The Wizards can match any offer. Considering their salary cap concerns and Oubre’s uncertain trajectory, they might not.

Oubre wants more and says he works to improve his game daily while pushing free agency thoughts aside.

“Just getting better every day. Just taking it one day at a time, trying to live in the moment,” Oubre said. “Not necessarily looking at the future because the future will happen if I take care of now. Today I got better. Tomorrow is a new game, a new opportunity.”

Tomorrow comes Wednesday when the Wizards host the rival Boston Celtics.

“The Celtics have a lot of guys who are talented basketball players, and I’m a competitor,” Oubre said. “I’m looking forward to going to play against them.”

When it comes to the entertaining Oubre, even those head-scratching doubters probably feel the same.