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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard


The Wizards held their second pre-draft workout at Capital One Arena on Wednesday and the theme of this session was shooting. They hosted six players, four of which shot 40 percent or better for their college careers. Not 40 percent for their final season, like they developed a shot over the years, 40 percent for their careers.

Those four would be Aaron Holiday of UCLA, a likely first-round pick, plus likely second-round picks Devonte' Graham and Sviatoslave Mykhailiuk of Kansas, and Zach Thomas of Bucknell who may go undrafted.

One of the outliers was Moe Wagner of Michigan, who shot 39.4 percent as a junior. The other was Johnathan Williams, who shot 33.3 percent from long range in college, but impressed in the workout by knocking down more shots than expected.

Wizards executives raved about the amount of made shots in this workout and the players they chose to host help demonstrate that shooting is a need the Wizards are hoping to address. Head coach Scott Brooks said as much in his final meeting with the media following their playoff loss.

Here are some notes on the players that addressed reporters on Wednesday...

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

 - The brother of NBA players Jrue and Justin, Holiday said he is aiming to find the same success as them at the professional level. Both are good defensive players and Holiday said that is a big part of his game: 

"No pressure at all. I'm here to make my own name for myself... We all like to play defense... I just try to watch how they read guys and force guys into bad plays."

Holiday was informed his brother, Jrue, had just been named All-Defense. He was happy for him, of course.

"That's awesome. That's actually really good. I thought he would do it, too. Obviously, he's a great defender. Both of my brothers do well."

 - Bringing in Holiday was interesting because he is expected to be a first round pick and plays point guard. The Wizards, of course, already have an All-Star point guard in John Wall. Holiday acknowledged that fact, but believes he can play with both Wall and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal:

"It was obviously a question of why they would want me, but at the same time I know they need help on the backend, coming off the bench and playing high minutes and producing while John and them aren't on the court. Or, even playing with John Wall out there... with John and Bradley Beal out there, I could space the court pretty well for them."

Holiday would have no problem beginning his career as a bench player, if that's what happens:

"If the coach tells me to come off the bench, play a lot of minutes and get other people involved, that's what I will do. I also can play off the ball as well. I think I fit pretty good."

The Wizards taking a point guard in the first round is not that crazy of an idea. They have long been in need of a viable backup point guard and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors showed how much a really good backup can help.

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

 - Wagner worked out with the Bulls first and has the Nets up next. He said the Wizards workout was more intense than the Bulls, which is something we heard from many prospects last year. Washington apparently puts a greater emphasis on physical conditioning than other teams.

 - A native of Germany, and a seven-footer who shoots threes, naturally Wagner grew up a big fan of Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki:

"He was kind of our MJ. He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball. He's from where I'm from, too. It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

 - Questions for Wagner surround his defense and whether he can protect the rim, as he wasn't a shot-blocker in college. Wagner said he is hoping to show teams how his mobility can help on that end of the floor:

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen. Especially with the way the league is going; switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Devonte' Graham, G, Kansas

 - Graham also worked out with the Bulls first. He has the Suns, Hawks, Rockets and Grizzlies up next. He expects to work out for 13 or 14 teams in total.

 - Graham is from Raleigh, just like Wall who was in attendance. Wall and Graham sat next to each other to chat after the workout was over:

"We're from the [area code] 919 and we all stick together. I hit him up last night."

 - Graham also knows Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. very well. They were roommates as freshmen at Kansas:

"He was a goofy dude. That was my boy, though."

 - Graham said he has been talking to Jazz star rookie Donovan Mitchell about the draft process, as he and Mitchell share the same agent.

MORE WIZARDS: 

- Diallo visits: Is the Kentucky star a good fit?
- Turgeon talks: Maryland coach talks 2018 draft
- NBA mock draft: Post combine edition

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Dwyane Wade's tour makes final stop in Washington as Heat-Wizards battle Saturday

Dwyane Wade's tour makes final stop in Washington as Heat-Wizards battle Saturday

WASHINGTON – Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. didn’t witness the vast majority of the Dwyane Wade NBA-playing era. Two of the Wizards’ kids still understand the significance of the Heat legend’s final tour stop in Chinatown.

“It’s definitely humbling to see guys I grew up watching play in front of me,” the 19-year-old Brown said at the morning shootaround ahead of Saturday night’s final Miami-Washington game of the regular season which tips at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

The bigger picture note is Saturday marks the last time the future Basketball Hall of Fame guard plays in Washington.

Miami (35-37) is most definitely in play for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but Wade’s season-long sendoff overshadows all especially when on the road. 

Wade’s resume is staggering. Three-time NBA champion, all with the Heat. Thirteen-time All-Star. Eight-time All-NBA selection. Finals MVP. The NBA’s leading scorer during the 2008-09 season will reach 23,000 points for his career in the coming days.  

We’ll see what the Wizards (30-43) organization conjures up for a sendoff. Perhaps another jersey exchange involving the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Bradley Beal, who wears number 3 in honor of Wade, made sure he snagged one from Wade when the teams played in Miami this season.

Bryant’s view of Wade extends beyond a legendary foe. The two shared a college coach – Tom Crean directed Wade at Marquette and Bryant with Indiana. The Wizards’ young center is also friend’s with Wade’s basketball-playing son, Zaire.

“It means a lot,” Bryant said of facing Wade. “I’m really close to his son Zaire and I worked out with [Dwyane] in LA a couple of times with Coach Crean. I talked to [Dwyane] a couple of times and tried to catch up with him. Just seeing the legacy he’s built up in this league and just for him to play as hard as he does even in this last year is amazing.”

Wade, 37, isn’t looking to go out quietly. He is averaging 14.2 points and 25 minutes a game while playing in 62 of Miami’s 72 games. If the Heat keep up their current pace, there’s a good chance Wade participates in the postseason for the 14th time in 16 seasons.

For much of the season, it appeared one if not multiple teams qualifying for an Eastern Conference playoff berth would finish the season with a losing record. Second-half surges from Detroit, Brooklyn and most recently Miami may upend that dodgy narrative.

The Heat won eight of 10 before falling 116-87 at top-seed Milwaukee Friday night. Miami enters Saturday one-half game ahead of Orlando (35-38) and 2.5 over Charlotte (32-39).

The Wizards, who began at least a subtle pivot toward the future in Thursday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, are six back of the Heat in the loss column with nine games to play.

Brown made his first career start in the 113-108 setback against the Nuggets with Trevor Ariza (groin strain) sidelined. Head coach Scott Brooks also went with a bigger lineup by inserting Thomas Bryant next to Bobby Portis with Jeff Green coming off the bench.

Since Ariza didn’t participate in the morning shootaround, there’s a logical thread that has Brown making his second career start. For the memory bank, nothing likely tops the first time. That is unless number two means facing Miami’s famous No. 3.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

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Wizards vs. Heat: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Wizards vs. Heat: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court on Saturday night and host the Miami Heat for one of their last regular season home games. 

The Wizards have dropped their last three games (against the Nuggets, Bulls and Jazz) while the Heat are riding a three-game win streak (over the Spurs, Thunder and Hornets).

The Wizards are desperate to recover the six games removed they sit from a playoff spot. Washington needs to claw their way over the Heat to even the series and propel a playoff push.

The #WizHeat game takes place on Saturday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Heat game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington  
Live Stream: You can live stream Heat vs. Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HEAT  TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Heat vs. Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. HEAT INJURY REPORT

Wizards: Dwight Howard (OUT, Back), John Wall (OUT, Achilles), Ariza (DAY TO DAY, Groin)
Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Thigh), Rodney McGruder (OUT, Knee)

WIZARDS vs. HEAT PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wizards: Bradley Beal is averaging 27.4 points, 6.9 assists and 6.3 rebounds over the month of March. He has resumed a much larger leadership role on the court with John Wall and Dwight Howard remaining out.
Heat: This will be Dwyane Wade’s final visit to Capital One Arena on his farewell tour. Wade has averaged 14.1 points, 3.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in his last 10 games. There will definitely be emotional postgame interactions to look for.

WIZARDS vs. HEAT SERIES HISTORY

Number of All-Time Meetings: 128 regular season games (four playoff games)
Regular Season Record: Heat lead 83-41
Playoff Record: Heat lead 4-0
Last Meeting: Heat won 115-109 on 1/4/19
Last 10: Heat lead 7-3
 

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