Two-way player Jordan McRae showed off his scoring prowess in Tuesday’s loss to the Cavaliers, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. The G League’s top scorer this season at 29.8 PPG, McRae hit all five of his shots from the field, finished with 15 points and was part of a reserve unit that led a huge fourth-quarter rally.
McRae had prior NBA opportunities in Phoenix and Cleveland before signing with the Wizards in September. Defense and attitude remain concerns, Standig notes, but there’s no question about his ability to provide a spark on offense.
“I think it’s just about [Jordan’s] mentality,” said Jarell Christian, head coach of Washington’s Capital City G League affiliate. “When he’s thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession.”
McRae has been waiting all season for an NBA opportunity, but has watched the Wizards go in other directions. They signed Ron Baker in December, then gave a 10-day contract to Gary Payton II last week.
There’s more from Washington:
- Coach Scott Brooks made a statement by sticking with a patchwork lineup in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic. McRae teamed with Payton, Troy Brown, Sam Dekker and Thomas Bryant to overcome a 25-point deficit with seven minutes to play. Brooks gave that unit a chance to tie the game at the end instead of turning to his regulars. “They played harder than the (starters),” Brooks said afterward. “And our starters didn’t play hard enough. That’s the bottom line.”
- Otto Porter Jr. has adapted well to his new sixth man role, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. A starter for the past four years, Porter joined the reserve unit in early January because he was on a minutes restriction while returning from a quadriceps injury. He has accepted the backup spot despite being the team’s highest-paid player. “I mean, of course everybody in the NBA wants to start,” Porter said. “It’s an earned position, but at the same time, for the better of the team, you have to take sacrifices. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
- The Wizards had discussions with DeMarcus Cousins when he was a free agent last summer, but the sides were never close to a deal, Buckner relays in a separate story. Cousins turned aside questions during the Warriors’ appearance in Washington this week, but Brooks offered an explanation of what happened. “I think the conversation took place but it was his decision,” Brooks said. “When we made the trade [with Marcin] Gortat, we needed somebody now. We couldn’t afford to wait five or six months or four months into the season. We needed a live, active player that was ready to start the season.”