John Wall, will Wizards made trade deadline move? “I think so,” will seek bench help

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Since Dec. 1, the Washington Wizards have been the best team in the East.

That is if you go by their record, which 28-10 since the calendar flipped to December. However, nobody sane thinks the Wizards could beat a healthy Cavaliers teams in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s fair to ask if they need more help to get by Boston or Toronto just to get a shot at the Cavaliers.

That need for a little more help has led to trade rumors about Washington heading into the trade deadline Thursday (Feb. 23), and John Wall confirmed the team is looking to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com.

“I think so,” Wall said when asked if he expected president Ernie Grunfeld to make a move as he has done the last several years, and the most recent being for Markieff Morris. “We’re looking at some options to help our bench out. Other than that I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about it.”

There are two scenarios for a Wizards trade that get the most traction around the league.

One is to get Lou Williams from the Lakers. This makes sense as a plug-and-play option, Williams is averaging a career-high 18.6 points this season and is a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award with his play. He’s a bit of a volume scorer, but that can work well with a sixth man (see Jamal Crawford for example).

The other rumor is Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who brings more size up front (6’8″) but can still shoot the three (35 percent this season). Bogdanovic is averaging 14.2 points per game.

Of course, the question is what the Wizards would have to give up to make these deals happen? Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has said the Wizards might well be willing to give up a protected first-round pick in a deal, and that could well be enough to get a trade done (depending upon the exact protections, and the year). That said, the Lakers, in particular, have been hesitant to make a move.

Don’t be shocked if the Wizards make a move at the deadline. This is their best team in a long time, and they want to capitalize on it.

Going big: Kristaps Porzingis wins Skills Challenge (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Kristaps Porzingis was a half step behind Gordon Hayward as they shot their layups in the Skills Challenge, but the 7-foot-3 Knicks forward had an advantage as each player’s ball fell through the hoop.

“I kind of cheated a little bit,” Porzingis said. “I grabbed the ball before him, because I’m taller. And then I just kept running.”

Porzingis kept his advantage, hitting a 3-pointer on the other end to win the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night. He’s the second big man to win in the two years larger players participated, joining 2016 winner Karl-Anthony Towns.

 

 

In an event thought to favor guards considering the emphasis on ball-handling, passing, speed and shooting, the bigs are making their mark. Even Gordon Hayward, a forward shoehorned into the guard division won that to meet Porzingis in the final. But the bigger Porzingis was too quick.

“It’s a good feeling I’m able to showcase my skill with my size,” Porzingis said.

It’s a new era for NBA bigs. What’s next for Porzingis on All-Star Saturday Night?

“Slam dunk competition? For sure not,” Porzingis said. “Maybe one day 3-pointers.”

 

Complete results

Quarterfinals

Gordon Hayward over John Wall

Isaiah Thomas over Devin Booker

Kristaps Porzingis over DeMarcus Cousins

Nikola Jokic over Anthony Davis

Semifinals

Gordon Hayward over Isaiah Thomas

Kristaps Porzingis over Nikola Jokic

Final

Kristaps Porzingis over Gordon Hayward

Kemba Walker wants East to roll out five point guard lineup in All-Star Game

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets speaks with the media during media availability for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS — How’s this for small ball? A lineup of Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry?

Walker wants Eastern Conference coach Brad Stevens to do it Sunday night in the All-Star Game.

“I hope we can get all five guards out there at once,” Walker said Friday. “I’ll play center if they need me to.”

Walker, who officially and generously is listed as 6’1″, playing center isn’t likely. But it is good to see the five quality point guards in the East all make the roster, there were concerns one of them could have been left out in the name of roster balance.

Walker just missed the cut last year, and now in his first All-Star Game he is just trying to soak up the environment around the event.

“I’m excited, I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend with the fellas, and my family,” Walker said…

“You know we compete all year, especially against each other. Especially before (the All-Star Game), there’s chatter about who is going to make it and who’s not, you’ve got to one up the other guard. Now that we’re all here, all on the same team, it’s going to be fun.”

When the fun weekend is over, Walker returns to a Hornets team that is dropping fast, having lost 10-of-11 and having fallen out of the playoffs. Their defense has suffered, and on the offensive end it feels too much like Walker against the world — he needs more consistent help. But with the Hornets just 2.5 games out of the playoffs, Walker is holding out hope.

“We still have a fighting chance to get back into the race, we’ve just got to clean some stuff up and get locked in and hopefully we can get back into that playoff race,” Walker said. “But we’ve got to change and change really fast.”

Otto Porter hits circus shot while being fouled against Pacers (video)

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Most of the angst about Carmelo Anthony replacing an injured Kevin Love in the All-Star game portrayed Bradley Beal as the snubbed victim.

But maybe another Wizards player — Otto Porter — deserved more consideration.

Beal carries a larger load, but Porter shoots more efficiently on both 2-pointers and 3-pointers. Beal does more playmaking, but Porter more rebounding. Porter also defends better and rarely turns the ball over.

And he hit this ridiculous shot in Washington’s win over the Pacers.

John Wall rejects Rodney Stuckey with chase-down block (video)

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Hear footsteps?

Figuratively, they’re the Wizards, who have gone 31-13 since a 2-8 start.

Literally, they’re John Wall coming for Rodney Stuckey.