It was obvious this was coming.
Boston’s Kelly Olynyk has played hard, set illegal screens, and has even taken some cheap shots on Kelly Oubre and other Wizards all series long, but if you get up and sprint halfway across the court to shove a guy to the ground, you are going to get suspended in the NBA. That’s not really up for debate. And that’s what Oubre did in the second quarter of Game 3.
So the suspension is happening. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news.
The league has since confirmed it, saying the suspension was for “making forceful and unwarranted contact with Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk.” There was no fine for Olynyk for the screen he set that was the final straw for Oubre.
This is a blow to the Wizards bench, which has already been thin and inconsistent this series. Oubre gave the Wizards a long defender who could switch onto Isaiah Thomas and give the little guard trouble (as much as anyone is able to once he gets going). Expect more Tomas Satoransky and/or Sheldon McClellan off the bench, but the leash will be short for them and coach Scott Brooks may be forced to lean more heavily on his starters.
This has been a physical, chippy series between Boston and Washington teams that simply do not like each other — and that is good. Some real bad blood makes the playoffs far more entertaining to watch, and the last game had eight technicals and three ejections. That said, players cannot lose their cool — Oubre lost his head for a second and he will hurt his team in Game 4 by his absence. Players try to get under each other’s skin, Oubre lost when he let Olynyk in.
If you’re going to list the most disappointing teams to start the season, the Washington Wizards would be at the top of the list. A team with playoff aspirations, the Wizards are 5-10, they have a pedestrian offense and bottom 10 defense to this point, John Wall and Bradley Beal have been good but not great when paired (+3.1 per 100 possessions, via NBA.com), the bench has been a mess, they’ve had a few injuries (what team hasn’t?), and we could go on but you get the idea.
Is it time to think major changes in our nation’s capital — and not just at the White House?
Don’t bet on it. From J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, via the insider’s report at CSNNE.com.
The chances that the Wizards make a roster move now? Despite a sub-.500 record, that still remains very unlikely.
League sources told CSNmidatlantic.com that the Wizards had discussions about Archie Goodwin, released by the New Orleans Pelicans, but that didn’t go anywhere…
The defensive effort has gotten better and with Ian Mahinmi back to help bolster the second unit, team president Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t seem likely to make a decision this early. Giving up on rookies such as Danuel House, Sheldon McClellan and Daniel Ochefu, all three on non-guarantees that are a minimal hit on the salary cap, to clear a roster spot wouldn’t make sense at this stage either.
The Wizards are about a year away from being in the Sacramento Kings’ shoes, where their star may be looking to bolt and they have a decision to make. John Wall has two seasons left on his contract after this one, and Bradley Beal just re-signed this summer. They have time to put other pieces around those two and see of Scott Brooks can work his magic.
If the Wizards don’t make the playoffs this season, then start next season slowly again, the conversation starts to take on some urgency. But don’t expect a bold move at the trade deadline.
If the Wizards don’t make the playoffs, the pressure — and maybe ax — will fall not on Brooks but on Grunfeld.
The Cavaliers present a wide opening for a fringe NBA player trying to make a regular-season roster.
The Wizards provide an even better opportunity.
Washington has just 12 players – three below the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries, and there’s no J.R. Smith waiting to fill a spot. The competition for those three roster slots isn’t fierce, either.
Jarell Eddie, Daniel Ochefu, Danuel House and Sheldon McClellan are signed to barely guaranteed deals. Ochefu, House and McClellan are undrafted free agents.
By comparison, Johnny O’Bryant looks like a seasoned veteran.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
The Bucks drafted O’Bryant No. 36 in 2014, and he spent the last two seasons in Milwaukee. He played as much as possible – starting 15 games as a rookie and playing 66 total last year – without making a noticeable dent one way or the other.
A 6-foot-9 power forward, O’Bryant relies on a mid-range jumper. Though improved, he’s not good enough from that range to overcome the inherent inefficiency of it. He at least bolsters his offensive contributions by hitting the glass hard.
O’Bryant’s lack of mobility and leaping ability hinder him defensively. He competes on that end, limiting his downside. But he’s still a defensive minus.
O’Bryant fits the mold of jump-shooting power forwards the Wizards favor, and he could help the team keep its style when Markieff Morris and Andrew Nicholson are out. If Washington values that over versatility, O’Bryant has a good shot of making the regular-season roster.
Even if not, he has a leg up on his current competition.