Tag: Chris Singleton

2013 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Otto Porter finally joins Wizards’ practice


On paper Otto Porter seemed a perfect fit and a smart pick for the Washington Wizards at the small forward spot last June in the NBA Draft — however we have never really seen if that is the case.

Porter struggled some at Summer League but his style of play is a poor fit for the undisciplined style in Las Vegas. Then in September while getting in shape for training camp he strained his hip flexor. He missed all of camp and the first part of the seson.

But he returned to Wizards’ practice on Monday, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

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There still is no timeline for his return to a game, he is officially day-to-day, but this is a good start.

“It looked like he’s been out three-and-a-half months. He’s got to get out there now and get his legs under him,” (Wizards coach Randy) Wittman said. “Number two, getting familiar with what we’re doing. It’s easy to sit there and think as you’re watching you know what’s going on until now it’s game speed and action. He’s not very familiar yet with what we’re doing. Repetition, conditioning. The last thing you what to do is throw him out there not in good enough condition and he gets hurt again. Those are the kind of things you want to stay away from. You get him healthy, get him in shape, see what happens.”

In other good injury news for the 5-8 Wizards, Trevor Ariza returned to practice and will start Tuesday night against the Lakers. Chris Singleton also practiced and is ready to return to action.

Al Harrington latest addition to Wizards’ injury list

al harrington wizards
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Over the past couple of seasons, injuries have defined the Wizards more than anything else. The talent level hasn’t exactly been amazing, but the team had enough at most positions to at least field a competitive squad if everyone was healthy.

It’s shaping up to be the same story this season.

Washington has already been dealing with injuries to first round draft pick Otto Porter and big man Chris Singleton, neither of which has appeared in a game yet this year. Now comes word that Al Harrington is expected to miss time, as well.

From J. Michael of CSN Washington:

On Friday, Al Harrington suggested he likely wouldn’t play against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). He sat out in San Antonio because of a sore right knee. Harrington only played 10 games last season with the Orlando Magic because of a staph infection in his right knee.

“I’m feeling all right,” Harrington said after he got magnetic resonance imaging done Thursday. “Got some inflammation where I got to sit down and talk with a doctor Monday, figure out what I should be doing going forward.”

When asked specifically about playing Saturday, Harrington responded: “Probably not. I was thinking about trying to get in there with some therapy to see if I can go. Not sure yet.”

Harrington has been productive offensively in his time with the Wizards thus far, averaging 8.5 points in 18.5 minutes, while hitting 44.4 percent of his shots from three-point distance.

Trevor Ariza has been huge for Washington this season, but he suffered a hamstring injury that’s expected to keep him sidelined for at least a couple of games. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said before the season began that he wouldn’t allow players to use injuries as an excuse for losing, but as both the ailments and the losses continue to pile up, there doesn’t seem to be a realistic alternative option.

Wizards keep playoff goal intact by trading injured Okafor for a healthy Gortat

Marcin Gortat, Patrick Patterson

WASHINGTON — Sometimes trades instinctively bring out the head scratcher in all of us. The Wizards acquiring center Marcin Gortat isn’t one of those times.

Washington hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2008. Unlike teams that bailed on the upcoming season to ensure a lottery finish, the Wizards have shaped their John Wall-led roster with the goal of a postseason return.

Emeka Okafor’s herniated disk in his neck threatened to derail those plans.

Fearing the defensive presence might return later than sooner, the playoff-pushing organization addressed the matter sooner than later.

Following Saturday’s practice, management, coaches and players discussed the necessary move, which included not just a swap of expiring contracts, but the Wizards shipping a protected 2014 first round pick.

Wizards team President Ernie Grunfeld: “Obviously if Emeka didn’t have the [injury], probably wouldn’t have been as imperative for us to get another big man in there. We don’t know what his status will be. Obviously, Emeka was very frustrated by his situation and there is really no timeframe for him.”

Wall: “It’s tough to see a guy like Mek go that was a great professional for us and what he did for our team, especially helping me in learning things, but it was kind of tough not knowing if he would play this year.”

Head coach Randy Wittman: “We’re not just trading a player for a player, with Mek not being on the floor yet this year. That’s the beauty about the situation. We had no idea when, or if, Emek, was going to be back. So, this gives us a free body that we didn’t have.”

Not just a free body, but a big body, a 6-foot-11, 240-pounder efficient in the pick-and-roll and better offensively than the man he replaces. Nor Okafor’s equal on defense, but Gortat is a big body willing to bang and defend those in the middle so power forward Nene and his perennial aching body doesn’t have to.

“Now we have a true center. Look at my face,” said the grinning Brazilian big man, who has not been shy about stating his positional preference. “[Gortat] is going to help us a lot. He’s a veteran … high IQ big man. He knows how to play. We feel sad for Emeka, he was a great teammate, but we need the position. [The organization] did an amazing job. They surprised me.”

Considering the team’s playoffs-or-bust mentality, considering the young frontcourt options — namely Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely — provided no assurance they could step up into larger roles, nobody should be surprised. Considering the trade laid out on a Venn diagram would show a tiny not-so-sweet spot, nobody should be scratching their head.

The first round pick is protected through the 12th selection. If the Wizards make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, the pick heads to Phoenix without complaint. If the Wizards miss the playoffs, they keep the pick as long as they don’t end up with the 13th or 14th selection. Barring bad luck with ping-pong balls, that’s a safe bet considering there are more strong teams than available postseason berths out West.

The Wizards will enter next offseason with a hole at center — and potentially around $16 million in cap space now that they have reportedly declined options on Vesely and Chris Singleton. Make the playoffs and the Wizards become more attractive to high-end free agents as a rising franchise headlined by the electric backcourt combo of Wall and Bradley Beal. Miss the playoffs and the Wizards have both a first round selection and cap space to address needs.

“That could become available to us if that’s a direction we want to go,” Grunfeld said of potentially adding a max contract free agent. “But we’ll worry about that next summer.”

They could also re-sign Gortat, who averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season for Phoenix in what some considered a down effort. If the “Polish Machine” helps makes the Wizards a better team — he should offensively — and the money works out, why not.

As for guards Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee, Grunfeld will only worry about the other ex-Suns acquired in the deal for another day or so. Washington must trim three players by Monday to reach the league-maximum of 15. Grunfeld said he hasn’t made a final decision, but nobody is expecting that trio to stay with the Wizards.

The idea of making the playoffs this season, that notion has staying power. Without making the trade, maybe not.

“It hasn’t changed any,” Wittman said of the team’s postseason goals. “We talked about that. This wouldn’t make it change any. We still expect to fight for a spot in May. That’s our objective here.”

After Gortat trade, Wizards will not pick up 2014-15 options for Vesely, Singleton

Jan Vesely

The Marcin Gortat trade was all about this year for the Wizards — John Wall is writing playoffs on his shoes , the owner is demanding a postseason trip, and on top of that Emeka Okafor isn’t going to be able to play for months due to a herniated disc in his neck. Gortat — the Polish Hammer — is a solid big man in the paint who can defend, is strong on the pick-and-roll, has good hands and can finish. With him at the five Nene gets to move to the four and the Wizards look like a potential playoff team again (if Wall can find his jumper).

But in the long term, there are going to be changes up front for Washington.

Gortat is in the last year of his deal ($7.7 million) and if this ends up a comfortable fit they can resign him, but he is a free agent who will have options.

Also the Wizards are not bringing back Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton — they will decline to pick up the 2014-15 options on them, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com. Singleton isn’t a surprise, he’s been out since having a screw inserted in his little toe following summer league.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Basketball league on October, 30th. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts October 30th at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

That they are throwing in the towel on former No. 6 pick speaks to his lack of growth. He is long and has the athleticism to play in the league but lacks any real feel for the game. He shot a “meh” 62.7 percent inside the restricted area and was ice cold anywhere outside that (30.8 percent from the free throw line on the rare occasions he got there). Washington has apparently given up on the break through moment they were hoping for.

What all that means is next summer the Wizards can remake their frontcourt — and they will have $16 million or more in cap space to do it. They will still have Nene, but after that they can rebuild around him. The backcourt of the future is set with Wall and Bradley Beal, Otto Porter is the three, they just need a good front line rotation then they can try to build something that can grow together.

In one other note from J. Michael at CSNWashington.com, the Wizards will put the other players in the Gortat trade — Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee — on waivers. They plan to keep none of them.

Not exactly breaking news: Nene still battling through pain


You have to feel for the Wizards and their fans. They entered training camp flush with “we might actually make the playoffs” hopes, something fueled by players and even the owner. The one thing we knew was that they had to just stay healthy, particularly along the front line.

Then Emeka Okafor goes down for an indeterminate with a neck injury.

Now Nene, who has battled foot and knee issues for years but is supposed to have a clean bill of health, says this to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com after the Wizards preseason loss to the Nets Tuesday night.

“My knee is still sore. My foot still hurts a little bit. Just trying to push (through),” said Nene, who didn’t play basketball during the off-season and opted for rehabilitation. “The therapy is making me feel better.”

Just great. What Nene is hoping for is fewer minutes (he played 22 Tuesday).

“No, no no no,” Nene said quickly to CSN Washington, though with a smile, about playing more Saturday when the Wizards face the Chicago Bulls in Rio de Janeiro. “I don’t worry about minutes even in Brazil because I’m a pro. I don’t want to get sore, get hurt. I still have a couple of issues. Just because I feel better, they think I feel great but they’re wrong. We need to reduce (it) a couple minutes.”

Washington can reduce Nene’s minutes, all they need to do is get more out of Trevor Booker… except he has only been cleared for non-contract drills due to his knee. Well, there’s Chris Singleton… oh, he has a broken foot.

Basically Washington is left with Jan Vesely, Al Harrington and Kevin Seraphin. What could go wrong? Those guys can totally match up with that Pistons front court and beat Detroit out of one of those last playoff spots in the East… yes, I guess the Wizards really do need a healthy Nene.

Well, it’s the preseason. Let the Wizards dream.