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January 21, 2020 | 5:32 pm UTC Update
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Wes Unseld. That’s how the Wizards’ all-time scoring list reads from No.’s three through five after Monday’s Wizards win over the Pistons, as Beal moved into sole possession of fourth place with a good chance of passing Wall before the season is over. Unseld remains the most accomplished player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history as an NBA champion, 1977-78 Finals MVP, 1968-69 league MVP and rookie of the year plus a Hall of Fame induction. But Beal passing him is another reminder he already has a place among Wizards and Bullets luminaries.
“That’s an honor because that list is full of greats, true Wizards and Bullets legends. To be a part of that is an honor,” Beal said. Within the context of Wizards franchise history, Beal has already separated himself as one of the best to ever suit up. In addition to being fourth in points, he is the all-time leader in three-pointers, sixth in assists, seventh in steals and 10th in win shares. He also has the single-season record for threes. That’s not bad for a guy who is 26 years old.
Continuing to make his mark on the Wizards/Bullets franchise seems to be genuinely important to Beal. During his halftime interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, he mentioned the team’s Baltimore days when discussing the Unseld feat. Back when he signed his contract extension in October, he explained the decision partly in terms of creating a legacy in Washington and taking the franchise to places it hasn’t been in a long time. On Monday, he alluded to those goals again. “I never would have dreamt of that or thought of that coming here. To still be here is an honor, too. I’m just taking it in full stride. I’ve still got a lot more basketball to play, so who knows where I’ll end up,” he said.
January 21, 2020 | 4:21 pm UTC Update
In the wake of Michael Porter Jr.’s 20-point, and a career-high 14-rebound night, the rookie said his biggest area of growth has been letting the game come to him and not chasing individual stats. It’s telling that Porter’s veterans are thrilled with how he’s going about his ascendance. Of course, having Porter alleviates some of the burden on Jokic, especially with so many contributors out, but he gushed about what he brought them last night.
January 21, 2020 | 4:14 pm UTC Update
Monday was the final day of fan All-Star voting. For Alex Caruso, it was greeted with an exhale. The 25-year-old guard has enjoyed riding the wave of a surge of fan voting, clocking in a No. 4 among Western Conference guards last Thursday ahead of such esteemed players as Russell Westbrook, Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker. But fun is fun. Even Caruso isn’t stumping for himself at this point.
Storyline: All-Star Selections
For the casual NBA fans who might not know, there is this thing in the NBA called a “shootaround.” It takes place the morning of a game, unless the team played the night before, and is used for the purposes of: going over the scouting report and new plays or schemes for the night’s opponent; working out injured players; getting some extra shooting; pulling players out of bed, making sure they aren’t too hung over. At least, that was the practice for most teams for years. A growing trend in the league over the last two years is to reduce shootarounds in an effort to maximize sleep and rest. At least that’s what the teams say. The Lakers are one of those teams.
I’ll cut to the chase. You’re hearing less from your favorite NBA players than normal this season, and the disappearance of the “shootaround” is a reason. Except, the shootaround really hasn’t gone away. Teams, like the Lakers, are still holding meetings and walk-throughs and working out injured players the mornings of games, they just aren’t inviting the media. They get away with it by not calling whatever it is that they’re doing a “shootaround.”
To wrap this up… I’ve been a reporter for about 20 years. I’ve learned readers often don’t really care about “access,” something that is near and dear to any journalist’s heart, whether he’s covering an NBA MVP or a president of the United States. I, actually, do not typically worship at this altar. There are ways to get information outside of the scrums of tape and video recorders that crowd locker rooms on game days. I told you Saturday night about LeBron being less accessible than he’s ever been. This is the other shoe. If you’re wondering why, more so this season than any in recent memory, on the days of games you aren’t reading stories or watching video clips of LeBron talking about his return to TD Garden, where he has so much history, or plans to hop in the car and catch Bronny’s game, or something eloquent about playing on MLK Day, this is why.
January 21, 2020 | 1:11 pm UTC Update
Even though he’s posting career-best numbers and is in the midst of establishing individual records, Terry Rozier isn’t about to proclaim he’s arrived. Far from it in fact. “I feel like I ain’t proved shit yet and it’s not to the doubters,” Rozier said. “I give a damn what they say. It’s more to my loved ones, to my family. People that look at me and I really know how much they care about me. Those are the ones that I really want to show what I can do. And like I said, I haven’t showed them nothing yet and I want to keep improving.”
Can you explain how Devonte’ Graham moving to the starting five has allowed you to flourish? Kemba Walker: We complement each other. Two guys that can bring up the ball, look for our shot or look for others, create for ourselves or create for others. So he’s just a guy that takes a lot of pressure off me when I’m out there. He’s got the ball in his hands a lot, too. So just make it work, man. If you can play this game, you find ways to make it work. No matter who you are out there on the court with. No excuses.
Parsons suffered a traumatic brain injury, disk herniation and a torn labrum in a crash on Wednesday, according to his attorneys. Parsons was hit by a driver, who the attorneys say was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. “I called and talk to his friends and family last night,” Rivers said. “It’s scary what happened to him. It’s very unfortunate what happened. They seemed in good spirits last night about the fact he’s doing better. I didn’t talk to him, obviously.”
January 21, 2020 | 8:11 am UTC Update
Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown thought Boston wouldn’t budge from its original $80 million extension offer before the front office substantially sweetened the pot, he told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod (hat tip to Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston). Brown eventually signed a four-year, $115 million rookie-scale extension, which included $12 million in incentives. “To be honest, I came with the mindset I didn’t think that anything was going to get done,” Brown told Wojnarowski. “I wasn’t sure that anything was going to get done. The first offer was four years, $80 million. I didn’t think they were going to budge from that. So, I came with the mindset, I told (agent Jason) Glushon that, ‘Let’s see what can happen, you know?’ For me, I didn’t think Jason was going to be able to get anything done. I thought they were going to stay at ($80 million) and that was going to be it.”
Without an extension, Brown would have entered restricted free agency this summer. He was fully prepared to do that until the offer grew. “I was hell-bent, I was already locked in, focused, ready to carry the weight that I was going to go into this year playing my fourth year out. And then they jumped up, and that just showed they wanted me here in the organization,” he said on the podcast. “They appreciated my value. They thought that I added to winning. It was an offer that was too hard to kind of turn down.”
“I think you just don’t know what it’s going to be like to coach stars of that ilk,” Vogel said. “They’ve been wonderful, from the time I took the job, they’ve been very collaborative. Come together with a plan, they’ve helped with the buy in with the rest of the group. It hasn’t been the type of challenge that you may expect coaching stars of that caliber.”
In his second interview since getting axed in December, David Fizdale was on “The Jump” and repeated he had no “regret’ but added: “For me personally, the toughest part was that I didn’t fulfill what I went there to do. I wanted to give the fans a relative team, a winner. The fan base was so awesome and so passionate about the team. The fact that I couldn’t get over the hump to where I wanted to get it to; that part is a tough pill to swallow.”
Storyline: David Fizdale Firing
Any team that holds a formal “shootaround” or, for that matter, a practice, has to invite the media. Players are also supposed to be available in the locker room for 30 minutes prior to each game, but there is a basic working agreement between the league and press that players should either be available at shootaround or before the game, but not both. What has happened, though, is that most of the league’s stars, LeBron included, do not talk in that 30-minute span, ever, even if there is no shootaround.
Teams, like the Lakers, are still holding meetings and walk-throughs and working out injured players the mornings of games, they just aren’t inviting the media. They get away with it by not calling whatever it is that they’re doing a “shootaround.” Not every team is doing this — the Celtics, for instance, had a lengthy shootaround and media session afterward Monday morning — but the Lakers appear to be one. Over and over, the team announces it is not holding a shootaround (or even a practice on an off day), and then their players contradict them by referencing the workouts after the fact. On Monday, Quinn Cook posted a picture to social media of Danny Green at TD Garden for a morning workout.
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