February 27th, 2020 at 8:19pm CST by Dana Gauruder
Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
The Wizards assigned rookie swingman Admiral Schofield to the Capital City Go-Go, according the G League transactions log. Schofield, a second-round pick, saw action in 26 NBA games prior to this month, averaging 3.2 PPG in 11.2 MPG.
February 27th, 2020 at 5:32pm CST by Dana Gauruder
Shooting guard Jerome Robinson hit a big 3-point shot for the Wizards against the Nets this week as he continues to take advantage of his opportunities, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Acquired in a three-team deadline deal from the Clippers, Robinson is averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG in seven games with Washington. Robinson, the 13th pick of the 2018 draft, has a $3.7MM guaranteed salary for next season with a $5.3MM team option for the 2021/22 campaign.
The Eastern Conference playoff picture hasn’t been entirely set yet, but at this point, it seems unlikely that a team outside of the top eight will crash the party. The 25-32 Magic, who currently hold the No. 8 seed, are far from untouchable, but they still hold a 4.5-game lead on any of the conference’s also-rans.
That means the Wizards, Bulls, Hornets, Pistons, Knicks, Hawks, and Cavaliers will likely finish the year in the lottery. Our Community Shootaround discussion today centers on which of these clubs is best positioned going forward.
Of those teams, only the Pistons weren’t also in the lottery a year ago. But much has changed since then. Longtime cornerstones Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are gone, and Detroit only has a 2023 second-round pick to show for it. Blake Griffin, who had one of the best years of his career in 2018/19, has barely played this season due to health issues. The Pistons are headed for a full-fledged rebuild, and while there are some promising young players in the mix, including Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, it will likely be a long process.
The Wizards, like the Pistons, still have an injured veteran star (John Wall) occupying a major chunk of their cap. Unlike Detroit though, Washington is potentially in position to get back into the playoff mix when that star returns next season. Bradley Beal has taken his game to another level in recent years, and the Wizards have unearthed some productive role players like Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner to go along with prospects such as Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown. The team also wants to re-sign Davis Bertans this summer.
The Bulls and Hawks entered the season as popular sleeper picks to challenge for the postseason in the East. That hasn’t happened though. While Zach LaVine has looked better than ever in Chicago, the Bulls haven’t gotten the production they expected out of recent lottery picks like Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., who has once again dealt with injuries.
Atlanta, meanwhile, saw its season derailed early by John Collins‘ 25-game PED suspension. Trae Young has become one of the league’s best offensive players, but the young supporting cast still isn’t ready to contend. Both the Bulls and Hawks have some cap flexibility going forward, but they’ll need more from their young building blocks in order to take a real step forward.
The Knicks and Hornets have been plagued by cap mismanagement in recent years and have lacked a true superstar. Both teams should have some flexibility this summer and beyond, and young players like Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson have promise. But it would definitely be premature to pencil in any of those players as perennial All-Stars — the management groups in New York and Charlotte will need to keep looking for potential high-end talent.
As for the Cavaliers, you could make the case that their 2019/20 season has been the worst of any of these teams. Newly-hired head coach John Beilein lasted just 54 games, veteran players like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson have been disgruntled, and neither Collin Sexton nor Darius Garland looks like a lock for stardom. Kevin Porter Jr. has exceeded expectations and the Cavs will have some contracts coming off the books this offseason, but Love’s massive deal and the decision to acquire Drummond complicates their cap outlook going forward.
What do you think? Which combination of core players, front office personnel, and future cap flexibility would give you the most confidence if you had to pick one of these seven Eastern Conference teams? Which one do you think has the brightest outlook beyond this season?
Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said on Sunday after losses to Cleveland and Chicago that his team was “playing soft,” writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The club lost again on Monday, but was far more competitive in that game, pushing Milwaukee to overtime.
Michael Lee of The Athletic implores frustrated Wizards guard Bradley Beal to look on the bright side of a losing season that Lee argues should be considered at least a “partial success,” given preseason expectations.
February 23rd, 2020 at 4:01pm CST by Alex Kirschenbaum
Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal has been struggling with inefficient long-rage shooting this season, per the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner. During the worst three-point shooting season of his career to date, Beal has converted fewer than 20% of his long-range tries in 10 games this season. He is connecting on just 31.6% of his three-point attempts overall.
February 13th, 2020 at 11:00pm CST by Alex Kirschenbaum
The Wizards are guardedly optimistic about their season heading into the All-Star break, as Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports. “We’re in a good spot,” Washington star Bradley Beal said. “I wish we could have had a few more before the break. I think we lost two that I felt we could’ve won, but for the most part we’re in a good position.”
If the Sixers make Joel Embiid available this offseason, the Wizards would be among the best-positioned teams to trade for the big man, as I explain on Heavy.com. If Philadelphia is looking for the best NBA player available to them—one whose shooting would fit in next to Ben Simmons—the franchise should look no further than Bradley Beal.
Like the Simmons-Embiid pairing, the John Wall-Beal duo isn’t without its warts. Wall, who has three years and over $132M left on his contract after this season, isn’t likely to be dealt due to the size of his deal. As great as Beal has been for the franchise this year (he should have been an All-Star), netting a talent like Embiid would be a good deal for the Wizards.
Here’s more from Washington:
Former teammate Tomas Satoransky, who inked a three-year, $30MM deal with Chicago during the offseason, has guarded Beal on various occasions this season. He said it is “not the nicest experience,” as he tells Hoops Rumors. “He isjust so athletic with it and he elevates when he shoots so high, so all you can do is contest it as best as you can and hope that he is going to miss,” Satoransky said.
Coach Scott Brooks would rather the Wizards make the playoffs than land in the lottery and have a chance at a better prospect in the draft, as he tells Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays. “Developing is creating winning habits,” he said. “Definitely winning is important. You don’t want to just keep developing and not have anything to show for it. We all want to win and that’s the mentality that we have to have… The small details, they’re important. You don’t just start picking up the small details once you have a good team.”
Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner each missed significant time this year with various injuries, but both have bounced back nicely, Hughes writes in a separate piece. Hachimura missed 23 games with a groin injury and Wagner sat out 25 games with a left ankle sprain.
Justise Winslow is thrilled about his new start in Memphis, but in an interview with Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel he offered little insight into an injury that has forced him to miss all but 11 games this season. Winslow has taken the court just once since December 6 because of a lower back bone bruise. “The (Miami) coaching staff thought I was able to play,” Winslow said without further explanation.
After being taken with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, Winslow developed into a versatile forward for the Heat and often handled play-making duties. However, the lingering injury and the development of young talent in Miami made him expandable in last week’s trade for Andre Iguodala.
“I’m not going to give any dates (for a possible return), I’m sorry,” Winslow said. “But it’s been an ongoing thing this season. That’s the bottom line. I’m sure the Miami Heat did everything that they thought was right to try to help me. Things didn’t work out. I’m here now. I wish I could tell you a date that I’m expected to be back, but there isn’t one.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
Jimmy Butler has finally found a team that views the NBA the same way he does, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Butler clashed with teammates, coaches and management in his previous three stops, but his ultra-competitive attitude is welcome with the Heat. “When [Butler] was in other places, he got knocked for (speaking his mind),” Iguodala said. “He was disruptive toward his other teammates, but you put him around some guys that actually want to get to the grind, what did he do for them? He upped their level of play, right?”
Jerome Robinson sees the Wizards as an ideal fit and is ready for the opportunity he never got with the Clippers, relays Chase Hughes of NBA Sports. Robinson was a lottery pick in 2019, but often languished on the bench as L.A. focused on challenging for a title. He’s hoping for more playing time in Washington after being traded there last week. “Experience, that’s what you really learn from,” Robinson said. “To grow as a player and a person, I think this is a great step for me right here.”