The moves made this offseason by the Celtics and Cavaliers – including a blockbuster trade with one another – has allowed those two clubs to dominate the conversation on Eastern Conference contenders as the 2017/18 season approaches. However, the Wizards feel as if they’re right there with the top two clubs in the East. In fact, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes, Bradley Beal and the Wizards think they’re the best team in the East, and believe they match up particularly well vs. the Cavs.
“We love the matchup against them and why not?” Beal said. “I said it and J.R. [Smith] didn’t like it too much, some of their other guys didn’t like it too much. But I felt that way. It’s not disrespect with them, I’m not saying we’d have won the series (if the Wizards, instead of the Celtics, had made the Eastern Conference Finals), but I feel like our competition level and matchups would’ve been better.”
As the Wizards head into a new season with increased expectations, let’s round up a few more notes out of D.C.
- Third-year forward Chris McCullough, acquired from the Nets last season, is battling for minutes in the Wizards’ rotation, and head coach Scott Brooks has been impressed, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details. “He’s a better shooter than I thought,” Brooks said of McCullough. “He hasn’t played much the last few years, but he’s having a good camp. I think that’s through the hard work that he’s put in. He came into camp in great shape. He’s showing us that he can play in the league. I don’t know where I can find him the minutes, but at least I know he can definitely play.”
- With Markieff Morris at risk of being convicted on assault charges, which would result in an NBA suspension, the Wizards have been keeping a close eye on their power forwards during their first week back, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Veteran center Jason Smith is among the players seeing extra time at the four, per Buckner.
- Wizards rookie Devin Robinson, who is on a two-way contract with the team, was in a walking boot at training camp last week, and Brooks suggests that Robinson will be out “for a while” due to a foot injury, tweets Buckner. The G League season doesn’t tip off until November 3, so Robinson has a little extra time to get healthy.
- As we noted yesterday, the Wizards are one of four NBA teams without a G League affiliate for this season, which will have an impact on Robinson, Michael Young, and anyone else Washington wants to assign to the G League.