Drew Gooden

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Not one 2016 top-10 draft pick started his team’s first game. How does that compare historically?

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Ben Simmons is hurt. Brandon Ingram is being brought along slowly. Jaylen Brown is on a good team trying to win now. Dragan Bender is blocked by Marquese Chriss. Kris Dunn is stuck behind Ricky Rubio (for now). Buddy Hield lost a preseason battle to E'Twaun Moore. Jamal Murray is ready for only a minor role. Marquese Chriss is blocked by Jared Dudley. Jakob Poeltl got drafted by a good team with an established starting center. Thon Maker is far too raw.

The top 10 of 2016 NBA draft class isn’t off to a fast start.

In fact, no top-10 pick started his team’s first game after being drafted for just the second time on record. The only other time it happened since 1983, as far back as Basketball-Reference.com records go, was 2013.

The only 2016 draft picks to start so far are No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis (for the Thunder) and No. 27 pick Pascal Siakam (for the Raptors).

No. 11 pick Michael Carter-Williams was the only 2013 draft pick to start his team’s first game in 2013. So, at least the class of 2016 has a leg up on that class, which was led by No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett.

Here’s each first-round pick since 1983 to start his team’s first game since being drafted. Top-10 picks are in blue, and all other first-rounders are in orange.

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Year Pick Player
2016 11 Domantas Sabonis
2016 27 Pascal Siakam
2015 1 Karl-Anthony Towns
2015 2 D'Angelo Russell
2015 3 Jahlil Okafor
2015 4 Kristaps Porzingis
2015 7 Emmanuel Mudiay
2014 1 Andrew Wiggins
2014 2 Jabari Parker
2014 10 Elfrid Payton
2013 11 Michael Carter-Williams
2012 1 Anthony Davis
2012 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
2012 3 Bradley Beal
2012 4 Dion Waiters
2012 6 Damian Lillard
2012 7 Harrison Barnes
2012 10 Austin Rivers
2011 1 Kyrie Irving
2010 1 John Wall
2010 5 DeMarcus Cousins
2009 4 Tyreke Evans
2009 6 Jonny Flynn
2009 7 Stephen Curry
2009 9 DeMar DeRozan
2009 10 Brandon Jennings
2008 1 Derrick Rose
2008 2 Michael Beasley
2008 3 O.J. Mayo
2007 2 Kevin Durant
2007 3 Al Horford
2007 6 Yi Jianlian
2007 27 Arron Afflalo
2006 5 Shelden Williams
2006 6 Brandon Roy
2006 10 Mouhamed Sene
2005 1 Andrew Bogut
2005 4 Chris Paul
2005 16 Joey Graham
2005 25 Johan Petro
2004 1 Dwight Howard
2004 2 Emeka Okafor
2004 3 Ben Gordon
2004 5 Devin Harris
2004 9 Andre Iguodala
2003 1 LeBron James
2003 3 Carmelo Anthony
2003 5 Dwyane Wade
2003 10 Jarvis Hayes
2002 2 Jay Williams
2002 4 Drew Gooden
2002 10 Caron Butler
2001 6 Shane Battier
2001 27 Jamaal Tinsley
2000 1 Kenyon Martin
2000 3 Darius Miles
2000 17 Desmond Mason
1999 1 Elton Brand
1999 2 Steve Francis
1999 4 Lamar Odom
1999 6 Wally Szczerbiak
1999 9 Shawn Marion
1999 18 James Posey
1999 26 Vonteego Cummings
1998 2 Mike Bibby
1998 3 Raef LaFrentz
1998 5 Vince Carter
1998 7 Jason Williams
1998 9 Dirk Nowitzki
1998 10 Paul Pierce
1998 14 Michael Dickerson
1997 1 Tim Duncan
1997 4 Antonio Daniels
1997 5 Tony Battie
1997 6 Ron Mercer
1997 13 Derek Anderson
1997 23 Bobby Jackson
1996 1 Allen Iverson
1996 3 Shareef Abdur-Rahim
1996 4 Stephon Marbury
1996 5 Ray Allen
1996 6 Antoine Walker
1996 11 Todd Fuller
1995 1 Joe Smith
1995 2 Antonio McDyess
1995 3 Jerry Stackhouse
1995 4 Rasheed Wallace
1995 7 Damon Stoudamire
1995 22 George Zidek
1994 2 Jason Kidd
1994 3 Grant Hill
1994 6 Sharone Wright
1994 10 Eddie Jones
1994 18 Eric Mobley
1993 2 Shawn Bradley
1993 3 Anfernee Hardaway
1993 4 Jamal Mashburn
1993 6 Calbert Cheaney
1993 7 Bobby Hurley
1993 18 Luther Wright
1992 1 Shaquille O’Neal
1992 3 Christian Laettner
1992 5 LaPhonso Ellis
1992 6 Tom Gugliotta
1992 9 Clarence Weatherspoon
1992 11 Robert Horry
1992 24 Latrell Sprewell
1991 1 Larry Johnson
1991 4 Dikembe Mutombo
1991 5 Steve Smith
1991 9 Stacey Augmon
1991 11 Terrell Brandon
1991 24 Rick Fox
1990 2 Gary Payton
1990 7 Lionel Simmons
1990 8 Bo Kimble
1990 10 Rumeal Robinson
1989 3 Sean Elliott
1989 5 J.R. Reid
1989 14 Tim Hardaway
1989 19 Kenny Payne
1989 21 Blue Edwards
1988 3 Charles Smith
1988 5 Mitch Richmond
1988 6 Hersey Hawkins
1988 9 Rony Seikaly
1988 10 Willie Anderson
1988 14 Dan Majerle
1988 20 Kevin Edwards
1988 21 Mark Bryant
1987 2 Armen Gilliam
1987 3 Dennis Hopson
1987 6 Kenny Smith
1987 12 Muggsy Bogues
1987 13 Joe Wolf
1986 1 Brad Daugherty
1986 3 Chris Washburn
1986 5 Kenny Walker
1986 8 Ron Harper
1986 11 John Salley
1986 12 John Williams
1986 13 Pearl Washington
1986 21 Anthony Jones
1985 1 Patrick Ewing
1984 1 Hakeem Olajuwon
1984 3 Michael Jordan
1984 4 Sam Perkins
1984 6 Melvin Turpin
1984 18 Vern Fleming
1983 1 Ralph Sampson
1983 2 Steve Stipanovich
1983 13 Ennis Whatley
1983 20 Roy Hinson

To some degree, this year’s state of affairs is understandable. Simmons was a lock to start before he got injured. Two playoffs teams – Celtics (who took Jaylen Brown No. 3) and Raptors (who took Jacob Poeltl No. 9) – drafted in the top 10 due to trades.

But the effect is clear. This draft class seems underwhelming.

It’s why the Rookie of the Year race feels so wide open and a 2014 draft pick, Joel Embiid, is the frontrunner.

Report: Wizards players found Gary Neal to be selfish, bad teammate

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In 2014, Gary Neal and Larry Sanders got into a a heated locker-room argument — an incident later used as evidence of Sanders’ erratic behavior that led to his exit from the NBA.

Maybe it should have said more about Neal, too.

Neal, a free agent who played for the Wizards last season, posted on Facebook yesterday:

I Was The Leading Scorer of The Bench (40) Games and The Best 3PT Shooter On The Washington Wizards And The Contracts My Fellow 2nd Unit Members Received

8 Mil Per Year
6.5 Mil Per Year
10 Mil Per Year
3 Mil Per Year

🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

Neal is talking about Garrett Temple (Kings), Ramon Sessions (Hornets), Jared Dudley (Suns) and Nene (Rockets) and clearly lobbying for his own deal.

One problem with this method: He’s publicly denigrating other players to promote himself. Maybe that wasn’t Neal’s intention, but that was result of his post.

Not that Neal will get the benefit of the doubt from the players he alluded to, anyway.

J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

he wasn’t well-received in the Wizards’ locker room. He won’t like hearing that, but it’s true. That’s how they felt.

The word “selfish” often was used after postgame losses by various players — something that was rarely said in the previous two playoff seasons — and though Neal’s name was never used publicly that’s who was the primary target. That term also was used by some on the coaching staff.

Teammates complained about his locker room behavior to the point that Drew Gooden, CSNmidatlantic.com was told by someone there at the time, asked, “What is wrong with that dude?” He rubbed some players the wrong way because, it was interpreted, all of Neal’s concerns about the offense involved getting himself better statistics so he could get paid this summer.

Another former teammate, reflecting on the season Sunday, spoke about feeling as if Neal was trying to show him up in front of teammates — this conversation with CSN took place almost 24 hours before the Facebook post — and concluded: “I should’ve punched him out.”

Said another teammate from 2015-16 after seeing Neal’s post Monday, via text: “Terrible teammate. All about himself.”

During a game against the San Antonio Spurs last season, Neal openly complained about Gregg Popovich, who got rid of Neal after three seasons, on the bench during an actual game. Neal also has been known to recite his statistics and what he shoots from certain spots on the floor better than others who, in his words, weren’t as good as him and making more money.

Neal has carved out an NBA career despite going undrafted out of Towson. He has played for five teams in six years.

Why should he feel loyal to a structure that only minimally gives him the time of day?

No team wanted him at first. None has made him a mainstay. For Neal to remain in the league, just as he did to enter it, he has to scratch and claw for every opportunity. That means pushing for playing time and scoring opportunities — not kowtowing to players, even teammates, perceived to be better than him.

I’ll say Dudley, Nene and Sessions are better than Neal. That’s my role analyzing the game. But why should Neal make the same acknowledgement? He’s competing with them for a job, even when they were teammates — a nuance often lost when discussing veteran leadership and mentoring.

That said, front offices and coaches want players to get along. Cohesion leads to better performance on the court. Neal must find a middle ground where he’s worth having around. Turning 32 before the season and coming off injury, Neal has less margin for error. If he just pisses off teammates — distracting them from producing — he’ll have to contribute plenty himself.

Maybe he will. Neal has a proven record of providing a scoring spark off the bench, and teams always need more shooting.

At least one of his former teammates is sticking up for him, and Neal also has redeeming qualities.

Dudley:

Michael:

This isn’t about the type of husband or father Neal is — he’s spoken of highly in these terms by even those who have criticized him as a teammate

Being a good husband and father is generally more important that being a good coworker. Neal should be celebrated for his successes.

But he should also realize, fairly or not, he’s making it harder for himself to stay in the NBA.

Banged-up Wizards cruise past Bulls for 114-100 win

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CHICAGO (AP) — John Wall had 17 points and 10 assists to help the banged-up Washington Wizards pull away from the Chicago Bulls for a 114-100 victory on Monday night.

Washington had seven players score in double figures in its second straight win after a stretch of five losses in six games. Ramon Sessions had 16 points, and Garrett Temple, Otto Porter Jr. and Nene scored 14 apiece.

The Wizards led by as many as 18 points while playing without key performers Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries and Bradley Beal. Gortat was scratched with a sore left knee, Humphries missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee and Beal remains out due to a stress reaction in his lower right leg.

Derrick Rose scored 23 points in the first of four games in five nights for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler had 19 points and seven assists, and Pau Gasol added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Bulls center Joakim Noah had no points and nine rebounds in a little under 19 minutes in his return from a left shoulder sprain. It was Noah’s first game since he got hurt in the third quarter of a 105-102 loss to Brooklyn on Dec. 21.

Noah was blocked from behind by Wall with 2:19 left in the third quarter, and then grabbed his shoulder after he hit the ground. But he stayed in the game.

Doug McDermott‘s four-point play got Chicago within four with 9:34 left, but Washington responded with a 13-2 run to put it away. Sessions capped the surge with a layup that made it 102-87 with 5:56 to go.

Gary Neal added 11 points for Washington, and Drew Gooden finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Jared Dudley made a 3-pointer and passed to a cutting Nene for a dunk early in the third, helping the Wizards open a 67-50 lead. But the Bulls ripped off 13 of the next 15 points.

Rose converted a three-point play and Butler had a steal and a dunk before Dudley got Washington back on track with a 3-pointer for a 72-63 lead with 6:48 left in the quarter.

 

TIP-INS

Wizards: Washington also had a solid shooting performance in its previous game, matching a season high by connecting on 55.3 percent of its attempts in a 105-99 victory at Orlando on Saturday.

Bulls: Rose scored 13 in the first half to pass Ben Gordon (7,372 points) for 10th on the franchise’s career scoring list. Reggie Theus is ninth with 8,279 points.

DeRozan scores 35 as Raptors beat Wizards 97-88

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WASHINGTON (AP) DeMar DeRozan scored 21 of his season-high 35 points in the second half, Kyle Lowry had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 97-88 on Friday night.

The Raptors overcame a season-high 23 turnovers, taking control with an 18-4 run that gave them a 69-59 lead with 2:40 to play in the third quarter.

John Wall scored 21 points as Washington (15-19) lost for the fifth time in six games and matched a season worst at four games under .500.

The Wizards cut Toronto’s lead to 89-83 with 2:50 to play, but couldn’t get any closer.

Washington, which swept a four-game playoff series between the teams last spring, has lost six consecutive regular-season meetings to the Raptors.

TIP-INS

Raptors: F DeMarre Carroll missed his third game after right knee surgery on Wednesday. … The Raptors are one of three teams with a record over .500 every day over the last two years. Chicago and Golden State are the others. … F/G Terrence Ross left the game in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury. … Toronto had a season-high 13 blocked shots.

Wizards: Coach Randy Wittman said that G Bradley Beal, who has missed 14 games with a right leg injury, is nearing a return. … F Drew Gooden scored for the first time since Oct. 31. He played in his just second game since Nov. 17 because of a strained right calf. … F Kris Humphries has a sore right knee and missed his second straight game.

CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION:

Wittman said his team, which often has had five or six players hurt, is getting healthy.

“We had a party last night,” Wittman said. “We had 10 guys to practice. We got to go a little bit of 5-on-5. That was the first time since right around Thanksgiving we’ve been able to do that.”

WALL SPEED:

Toronto coach Dwane Casey says that it’s hard to play against Wall because of his speed.

“A lot of guys are not as fast as Wall, and they try to be as fast as him, and it speeds you up,” Casey said. “You can’t duplicate that in practice. You can’t simulate that in practice.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.

Wizards: Visit Orlando on Saturday.

James, Irving lead Cavaliers to 5th straight victory

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WASHINGTON (AP) LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a second-half charge to beat the injury-ravaged Washington Wizards 121-115 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of just his seventh game of the season, including a run of 10 straight that put the game away.

James had 10 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 25 points for Cleveland.

Garrett Temple led the Wizards with 21 points, and John Wall had 20. Playing without Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and Drew Gooden, Washington lost its second straight game.

The Wizards got off to a strong start with one of their best first quarters in recent weeks as James missed some of his early looks. When Wall poked the ball away from Irving and sprung Dudley for an uncontested dunk midway through the first, Cleveland coach David Blatt called timeout with his team trailing 13-8.

Washington led going into the second and was up 35-28 when Ramon Sessions hit a 3-pointer. A few minutes later, Smith tied it for the first time at 35 and then made another 3-pointer to give the Cavs their first lead at 40-37.

Those baskets were part of a 13-2 run that ended with a technical foul on Wizards coach Randy Wittman for arguing with the referees. When James turned up the pressure and took over the game, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 12 by halftime.

James found his long-range stroke early in the second half, connecting on 3-pointers on four of five possessions. The Cavaliers led by as many as 18 during a dominant stretch.

When James dunked through traffic to make it 80-67, it looked like a statement of just how much Cleveland controlled the game.

Instead, the Wizards roared back. A layup and free throw by Otto Porter Jr. cut the Cavaliers’ lead to five with 2:05 left in the third quarter.

Washington had a chance to tie it with the third-quarter clock running out, Kevin Love stole the ball from Wall and Smith hit a buzzer-beating 3 to give the Cavs some breathing room.

It didn’t turn out to be too much, though, as the Wizards tied it at 95 early in the fourth quarter on a layup by Sessions. A turnover by Irving led to that basket.

As bad as Irving looked on that one play, he made up for it several times over in the minutes following. He scored 10 straight points while the Wizards were held off the board to make it 105-95 Cleveland.

SPARE THE BOWLING

When the Cavaliers embarked on a long trip last season, players went bowling to try to shake off a six-game skid. Blatt didn’t have plans for anything like that as his team opened a six-game road swing.

“Sometimes desperation leads to wondrous thinking,” Blatt said. “And I think that was an example of that.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland played its fourth game of the season with a starting lineup of James, Love, Tristan Thompson, Smith and Irving and improved to 4-0 with it. … Thompson, who Wittman called a “beast on the boards,” finished with just three rebounds.

Wizards: Nene returned from a 19-game absence with a strained left calf and Gary Neal was back in the lineup after missing five games with a strained right quadriceps muscle. … The crowd of 20,356 was the fifth sellout of the season at Verizon Center.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At Minnesota on Friday night.

Wizards: Host Toronto on Friday night.