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Wizards' Rui Hachimura looked forward to representing Japan but understands decision to postpone Olympics

Wizards' Rui Hachimura looked forward to representing Japan but understands decision to postpone Olympics

This coming July, Wizards forward Rui Hachimura was set to make his Olympic Games debut, playing for Team Japan during the summer's Tokyo Games.

But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee announced that due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Games would be postponed to a date no later than the summer of 2021.

Hachimura, who played for Japan's senior national team for the first time during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, took to Instagram in the wake of the IOC's decision to postpone the Tokyo Games.

The Wizards rookie explained he was looking forward to representing his home country, but supports and understands the decision to temporarily push back the Olympic Games in order to prioritize everyone's safety.

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僕はアスリートとしてコンペティターであり、今年の夏のオリンピックで日本を代表する事をとても楽しみにしておりましたが、今回東京五輪が2021年に延期になった事を理解しサポートしています。世間は現在非常に厳しいチャレンジに直面し、今は皆さんの健康と安全が第一優先だと思います。オリンピックの全アスリートは来年に向けて世界中のファンの為に素晴らしいパフォーマンスをするモチベーションを持ち、世界がこのパンデミックを乗り越えた後、僕は自分の母国での素晴らしい祭典になると信じています。皆さん、それを実現するように一丸となりこれからも頑張りましょう! I am a competitor and was looking forward to representing Japan in the Olympics this summer, but I also understand and support the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. The world is facing a very difficult challenge and everyone’s focus needs to be on health and safety.  Every Olympic athlete will be motivated to perform for the world next year and I believe it will be an even greater celebration of both sport and life in my home country after the world overcomes this pandemic.  Let’s all work together to make that happen! #StayStrong #Tokyo2021

A post shared by Rui “Louis” Hachimura 八村 塁 (@rui_8mura) on

"I am a competitor and was looking forward to representing Japan in the Olympics this summer, but I also understand and support the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021," Hachimura wrote. "The world is facing a very difficult challenge and everyone’s focus needs to be on health and safety. Every Olympic athlete will be motivated to perform for the world next year and I believe it will be an even greater celebration of both sport and life in my home country after the world overcomes this pandemic. Let’s all work together to make that happen!"

While many expect the Olympic Games to be next summer, there is no set date for them just yet. 

The Olympics typically take place during the NBA's offseason, allowing plenty of the league's stars to compete in the Games. But with the current NBA season on pause and the hope that the 2019-20 campaign can continue in a couple of months, next year's NBA schedule could look a little different as well. This would mean that Hachimura and other NBA players wishing to compete in next year's Olympics may not have the chance to do so. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has stated there's a chance this year's NBA Finals could be played in July, and perhaps even August, depending on when it's deemed safe to play again. That means the 2020-21 NBA season would also be pushed back, likely with a start around Christmas time. Thus, if the NBA wanted to play another 82-game season next year, the playoffs would likely take place throughout the summertime, potentially overlapping with the Olympics.

This year's Olympic Games were expected to begin on July 24. If such is the case next year, it could be difficult for NBA players, who just finished their seasons a matter of days or weeks prior, to make the trip to Japan to compete.

Only time will tell for this scenario, as everyone's safety remains the main priority right now.

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Report: NBA standings in return to be determined by winning percentage

Report: NBA standings in return to be determined by winning percentage

Details about the NBA's return-to-play plan continue to emerge since the league approved its return date on Thursday. The latest is that the teams will be ordered in the standings based on winning percentage, according to a report by ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

Because some teams had played more games than others when the season was put on hold -- teams played anywhere from 63 to 67 games -- that imbalance will remain once the 22 participating teams complete the eight "seeding games" implemented into the return plan. Once those games are played, winning percentage will be used to determine which eight teams from each conference make the playoffs -- instead of games above .500.

RELATED ARTICLE: DREW GOODEN SAYS NBA RETURN PLAN WILL BE TOUGH ON WIZARDS

Additionally, ties in the standings will be broken using the league's typical tie-breaking procedures, according to the report.

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There is a small chance the Wizards could finish tied with the Brooklyn Nets after the seeding games. This would require the Wizards to win six more games than the Nets over the eight-game span. The Wizards beat the Nets in their previous two matchups this season.

NBA teams were informed of these decsions in a memo on Friday night, one day after the league's board of governors voted to approve the return-to-play plan. The NBA is set to return July 31 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

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How Bradley Beal can solidify an All-NBA spot in the restarted NBA season

How Bradley Beal can solidify an All-NBA spot in the restarted NBA season

With the NBA season set to resume at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, its time for some players to solidify their season-long dominance and make cases for end of the year awards. 

Memphis Grizzlies' point guard Ja Morant will be looking to cement his case for Rookie of the Year over New Orleans Pelicans' forward Zion Williamson. 

Los Angeles Lakers point forward, LeBron James will continue to make a run for MVP, while before the season's suspension it was Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo's to lose.

And then there's Bradley Beal. One of only two players in the NBA averaging 30-plus points per game (James Harden - Houston Rockets). Beal, who was the most notable All-Star snub of the 2019-2020 NBA season (arguably the biggest in NBA history), suddenly has a chance to show the ignorant just how elite of a player he is.

" [Bradley] Beal didn't make the All-Star team but he has a great chance of making an All-NBA team," former Wizard Drew Gooden said on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast.

"Even if this season was completely over, he's on my list as a top-15 player this season."

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"Beal already this season had the highest scoring average ever at the break for a player not named an All-Star. He has a chance to do essentially the same with All-NBA," NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes said back in March.

"Beal's season scoring average of 30.5 points per game is not far off from the record for a non-All-NBA player. That record belongs to former Bullet Walt Bellamy, who put up 31.6 points per game in 1961-62 and was left off the list."

Bellamy's Packers missed the postseason that year with an 18-62 record. Just imagine what making the postseason would do for Beal's All-NBA case -- especially under this new format, after 146 days of no basketball.

All-NBA aspirations aren't farfetched at all, we should be talking MVP. Just ask NBC Sports Tom Haberstroh. 

"He's one of the best players in the NBA," Haberstroh said. "In normal seasons without [Giannis] Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and [James] Harden playing incredible basketball, this guy would be an MVP candidate."

"He's an efficient and electric scorer. He takes it to the rack and he gets his teammates involved," Haberstroh continued. 

"More people, not just in D.C. need to be paying attention to a star in Bradley Beal."

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