Five Things To Watch: Washington Wizards

Nene

It’s been a long, long time since the Washington Wizards were expected to be a top team in the Eastern Conference. But after defeating the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs for their first postseason series win in nine years, the Wizards are entering a season with high expectations. How high? Well, there is some talk that after last season’s 44-38 mark, the Wizards could win 50 games – which they haven’t done since the 1978-79 season. Here

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Washington Wizards enter East’s upper echelon with depth and continuity

541px-Bradley_Beal_Wizards_cropped

A year can make an enormous difference in the perception of an NBA team. Last summer, the Washington Wizards had the same backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal but they were faced with immense pressure of having to make the playoffs to save the jobs of head coach Randy Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld. Before the season began, Grunfeld made what many perceived as a panicky move and sent its first round pick to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, who was

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Bernucca: Among the Elite, Thunder the Team to Beat

Ibaka

A look at the overall NBA standings shows four teams at the top – Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami – separated by one game in the loss column. In fact, they were dead even until three of them lost Sunday.  Just a notch below them are three more teams – Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland – separated by two games in the loss column. They also would have been dead even had the Blazers held

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Rookie Rankings, Week 18: An Otto Porter Sighting

Washington Wizards

The best thing about top overall pick Anthony Bennett’s tremendously disappointing rookie season is that it has provided cover for some tremendously disappointing seasons by other rookies. Namely, Otto Porter. Porter was taken third in the 2013 draft by the Washington Wizards and has been worse than Bennett. Much worse. Bennett is averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting just 35 percent from the floor. Pedestrian numbers, for sure, and unacceptable for a top pick who is expected to contribute right away. But

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Bernucca: Clippers Captain is Back, But the Ship Ran Just Fine Without CP3

paulwall

Chris Paul returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. We don’t want to be party-poopers, but it probably should be pointed out that the Clippers were better without him. This does not mean that GM Gary Sacks should start exploring trade possibilities for a top-five player. And it doesn’t mean that coach Doc Rivers should go with the hot hand at point guard at the end of games. But it does mean that if the Clippers want to win a championship this

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Bernucca: Fixing the Fans’ All-Star Mistakes

kobe

NBA fans do an awful job of protecting the image of their favorite sport. This is not the NFL, which has been America’s pastime for a generation and can do no wrong in the eyes of its fans. The only time the NFL has an image problem is when a storm affects satellite reception. This is also not baseball, which has a considerable image problem with its collection of prima donnas on PEDS. But it also has more than a century of

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SH Blog: Bynum market is slow; Aldridge wants to extend in Portland

LaMarcusAldridgeSH1

At what point does public acknowledgement of mistakes stop being enough? It drew a lot of attention when Paul George was fouled on the final shot in a huge Indiana-Miami game and it wasn’t called. The latest one, featuring Monta Ellis grabbing both of Austin Rivers’ arms, was far more egregious, and the NBA has admitted it was the wrong call.

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SH Blog: Knicks and Clippers have internally discussed Melo for Griffin; Cavs might keep Bynum

Carmelo Anthony

If you haven’t been watching Golden State basketball recently, why? Seriously, why? They’re just as fun to watch as they were last year, only now they play defense as well (fourth in defensive efficiency). They just knocked off two of the East’s three decent teams in the space of two nights. The Blazers have made the West a little more crowded at the top, but Steph Curry and Co. are showing that they belong right up there with those top teams.

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