Tag: Washington Wizards

2015 NBA Draft

NBA rookie survey suggests Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor was a mistake


Most NBA teams would have picked Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. I would have. The Timberwolves did.

But a plurality of NBA rookies prefer Okafor, who went No. 3 to the 76ers.

Two responses in NBA.com’s annual rookie survey reveal that:

Who will be the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year?

1. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 41.9 percent

2. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 19.4 percent

3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 12.9 percent

T-4. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 9.7 percent

D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers — 9.7 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Trey Lyles, Utah

Which rookie will have the best career?

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 24.1 percent

2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 17.2 percent

T-3. Justin Anderson, Dallas — 13.8 percent

Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 13.8 percent

5. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 8.0 percent

6. Sam Dekker, Houston — 6.9 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Bobby Portis, Chicago; Kelly Oubre, Washington; Kristaps Porzingis, New York; D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers; Rashad Vaughn, Milwaukee

Picking Okafor for Rookie of the Year doesn’t necessarily mean he should have gone No. 1. The former Duke center is exceptionally polished offensively, and he should fill a big role on the lowly 76ers.

But the “best career” question is essentially asking who should have gone No. 1 – especially considering Towns and Okafor play the same position. Perhaps, a majority of respondents who took a third candidate would have taken Towns over Okafor, changing results of a run-off race. But with the information we have, plurality rules.

The survey also includes other interesting (Mavericks’ Justin Anderson as most athletic), unsurprising (Suns’ Devin Booker as best shooter) and surprising (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as best defender) responses. Willie Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Kings largely based on his ability to guard the interior and exterior. If he’s not elite defensively – and his peers don’t rate him that way, ranking him fourth with 5.9% of votes – questions about his offense and rebounding become more significant.

For the second straight year, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James ranked 1-2-3 as rookies’ favorite players.

Of course, don’t take these responses as gospel. Despite 13.8% of respondents – tied for third most – picking Anderson to have the best career, nobody voted for him as the draft’s biggest steal. How you can think the No. 21 pick will have the best career yet isn’t the draft’s biggest steal is beyond me.

Jazz sign Treveon Graham to larger guarantee than their other regular-season roster hopefuls

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs
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The Jazz-Spurs pipeline seemed like it would send Garrett Temple to Utah (via the Wizards) after Dante Exum’s injury.

And it might.

First, San Antonio summer-leaguer Treveon Graham is headed to the Jazz.

Jazz release:

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Treveon Graham (TRAY-vee-on).

Graham signed a three-year minimum contract with $75,000 guaranteed, according to Basketball Insiders.

Undrafted out of Virginia Commonwealth, Graham is an excellent rebounder for his position. He can score multiple ways and his length is a defensive asset, but his athleticism is limited for an NBA player.

The Jazz have 13 players with guaranteed salaries. Graham will compete with four players on fully unguaranteed deals – Christopher Johnson, Jack Cooley, Elijah Millsap and Bryce Cotton – for the final two regular-season roster spots. Graham’s guarantee might give him a slight advantage, but I’d still give the edge to Millsap and Cotton. Millsap looked defensively last year, and Cotton provides needed point guard depth after Exum’s injury.

Most likely, Utah waives Graham and assigned his D-League rights to its affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. Eating a $75,000 guarantee probably wouldn’t prohibit the Jazz from making any moves they’d make otherwise.

But Graham at least gets that small payout and a chance to impress in training camp. It’s hardly inconceivable the Temple Hills, Md., native makes the regular-season roster.

What NBA stars will suit up for EuroBasket? Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker among others

pau gasol spain olympics

EuroBasket matters — it offers both the bragging rights of a European championship and is the 2016 Olympic qualifier for Europe. The top two finishers get their tickets punched for Rio for the 2016 games (the USA and Brazil have already qualified). Finishers three through seven get invited to the 2016 pre-Olympics qualifying tournament, where they can try to play their way into the final field of 12 (likely a couple of them succeed).

Because it matters, some of the NBA’s big names will suit up when play tips off Sept. 5 —  Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker among others. There are 29 players under NBA contract in total expected to participate. Mark Cuban and many NBA GMs will watch clutching their lucky blanket and hoping against injury, but this is the kind of tournament that draws stars.

If you’ve wondered who is going, here’s a list of every NBA player suiting up in EuroBasket, hat tip to Hoopshype.

Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn Nets)
Mario Hezonja (Orlando Magic)
Damjan Rudez (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Alexis Ajinca (New Orleans Pelicans)
Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets)
Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs)
Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic)
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Joffrey Lauvergne (Denver Nuggets)
Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs)

Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
Tibor Pleiss (Utah Jazz)
Dennis Schroeder (Atlanta Hawks)

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Kosta Koufos (Sacramento Kings)
Kostas Papanikolaou (Denver Nuggets)

Andrea Bargnani (Brooklyn Nets)
Marco Belinelli (Sacramento Kings)
Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets)

Omri Casspi (Sacramento Kings)

Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto Raptors)

Marcin Gortat (Washington Wizards)

Zaza Pachulia (Dallas Mavericks)

Nemanja Bjelica (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls)
Nikola Mirotic (Chicago Bulls)

Furkan Aldemir (Philadelphia 76ers)
Ersan Ilyasova (Detroit Pistons)

Alex Len (Phoenix Suns)

Report: Wizards, Bradley Beal not progressing much on contract extension

During game six of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals

Bradley Beal and the Wizards have been talking about a contract extension.

How’s it going?

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

The Wizards and Bradley Beal don’t appear to be any closer to reaching terms on an extension — the window is open until the start of the 2015-16 regular season — with both sides downplaying to CSNwashington.com during the past few weeks about the progress of talks.

The good thing for them, of course, is that they haven’t shut down negotiations

Beal will make $5,694,674 next season. An extension would begin with the 2016-17 season.

He surely wants a max contract, and he might be worth one. But the Wizards have incentive to wait.

If Beal signs an extension now, his cap number at the beginning of next summer will be his 2016-17 salary. A max contract projects to have a starting salary of $20,947,250.

If Beal waits until next summer to sign, his initial cap hold will be $14,236,685. Then, Washington could use its cap space and then exceed the cap to re-sign Beal to up to a max deal.

That extra $6.7 million cap room could help ensure the Wizards have enough space for Kevin Durant. Plus, the remainder would come in handy, Washington with Durant would become an appealing destination to mid-level free agents.

Given that Beal would be a restricted free agent, there’s no risk he leaves next summer. The only risk is he’d sign a shorter offer sheet, allowing him to leave sooner, but that shouldn’t be a huge concern.

Of course, Beal doesn’t want to wait to sign. He has missed 54 games in three seasons, and another injury could torpedo his value.

There’s a lot to like about Beal, especially because the sharp-shooting guard is just 22. But the cap rules dictate the Wizards should wait to re-sign him – unless he’s will to sign an extension that starts at $14,236,685 or less (which should be a no-go for him) or give Washington savings in later years (maybe).

If he insists upon a max contract, the Wizards should wait. If he proves this season he deserves one, that’s a win for both sides – especially because that would give Washington a little extra cap room.

John Wall’s Wizards, Anthony Davis’ Pelicans both having player-run mini-camps this week


This time of the summer, most NBA players are hitting the gym, working on their conditioning and games. Like all professional sports, training camp isn’t for getting guys in shape anymore, they are expected to hit the ground running.

Some teams are taking it further — the players have organized team workouts.

Two of those are happening this week in Los Angeles — the stars of the Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans organized separate team workouts. These are both teams trying to make the next step in their evolution — the Wizards to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pelicans up into the middle of the pack in a crowded West — and their stars are taking it upon themselves to get everyone on the same page.

John Wall helped set up the Wizards’ one, which started today (Sunday), and spoke to CSNWashington.com about it.

Speaking with CSNwashington.com Saturday, Wall revealed he organized a mini-camp for his teammates that begins Sunday in Los Angeles. He expects the group together through Wednesday.

“All the guys are going to come out,” Wall stated.

His organizational skills don’t stop there. The two-time All-Star also said he’s encouraging players to arrive “two weeks early” for the team’s official training camp next month.

Under the guidelines of the CBA, the coaches can’t run or be involved in these workouts, although in the Pelicans’ case Alvin Gentry will be in town and around.

Anthony Davis, fresh out of Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas (as was Wall) helped set up the one for Pelicans, which begins Monday, he told the New Orleans Advocate.

Under the guidance of Anthony Davis and Quincy Pondexter, 10 Pelicans gathered in Los Angeles for voluntary workouts starting Monday, with the hopes of maximizing the team’s cohesion while cutting the learning curve that implementing a new coaching system typically entails.

“Quincy and I had been talking about getting the team together and just reunite for a few days,” Davis said. “We made some calls, and a lot of guys jumped on board. It’ll be great to get back in the gym with the guys and get some work in before training camp rolls around in a few weeks.”

Do these workouts mean a few more wins for these teams next season? Probably not. But teams that are going to make a leap are going to be cohesive, in shape, and ready to roll when the season arrives. Throw in a little team bonding and it’s a good way for teams to spend a bit of August.