Kristaps Porzingis is showing that he can be a dominant scorer late in games, which makes the prospect of a future pairing with Bradley Beal very intriguing, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards only have two wins in the past 19 days, but Porzingis took over both of them, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter against the Lakers last week and 11 in the fourth quarter against the Pistons Friday night.
“I enjoy those clutch moments, those last possessions,” Porzingis said. “There’s more on the line. I think every basketball player enjoys those shots more.”
Beal hasn’t played since Porzingis was acquired from the Mavericks in February, so the Wizards haven’t gotten to see how their games fit together. They are hoping to keep Beal this summer and use them as the basis to build a contending team. For now, coach Wes Unseld Jr. is experimenting with the advantages that having the tallest player on the court can offer.
“He’s kind of a steadying presence. You can play through him,” Unseld Jr. said. “With his size and stature, you know he can get a shot off. Get him to a spot and let him do his thing. He made some big plays late.”
There’s more from Washington:
- Beal, who has a decision to make on his $36.4MM player option for next season, talked about his situation on Draymond Green‘s podcast this week (hat tip to James Herbert of CBS Sports). Beal appreciates that the Wizards front office has refused to include him in trade talks, but he’s still planning to keep his options open. “It’s kind of funny. I’ve never been a free agent,” he said. “It’s kind of reminding me of college recruiting. Like I hear every single game somebody’s recruiting me. Someone’s like tagging on me, whether it’s another player or whether it may be a coach or whoever it may be, somebody’s chit-chatting: ‘B, what you want to do this summer? What you doing this summer?'”
- Tomas Satoransky made his first start on Friday since signing with the Wizards at the end of February, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. It may be a sign of hope for Satoransky, who has been through three trades, a buyout and an injury over the past seven months.
- After fighting to earn minutes early in the season, rookie Corey Kispert is now a regular part of the starting lineup, Robbins notes in a separate story. Beal’s absence created an opening, and Kispert seized the opportunity. “There’s no substitute for NBA minutes, no matter how many you get,” he said. “So I’m just really happy that I have a chance to play through mistakes and play through all those things. It’s made me a better player and then consequently I make less of them.”