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Al Harrington had a setback

"We ramped him up here the last few days individually. He wanted to really push it," Wittman said. "Then, he had some soreness. Irritation came back real fast. So, that’s a little bit of a setback there."

Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

Are the Wizards better without Beal? -Quote from ESPN Rumors

Don't look now, but the Washington Wizards are on a roll, winners of seven of their last nine games. And at 9-9, only Indiana and Miami have better records in the dreadful Eastern Conference. The curious part about the Wizards' recent run is that most of it has happened without Bradley Beal, who has missed the last week with a stress injury to his right fibula. Washington is 5-8 in the games with the second-year standout, and 4-1 since he went down. Is it simply the case of taking advantage of a soft schedule or is there more to it? Certainly the schedule does skew the win-loss record some -- since Beal went out, the Wizards have played the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic at home, winning them all, and snuck by Milwaukee on the road. Their only big test, a road game against Indiana, ended in a 20-point loss. That being said, the injury to Beal has forced Randy Wittman to go with a starting lineup that utilizes the five most efficient players on the team: John Wall, Nene Hilario, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat and Martell Webster. Entering Wednesday, all five of them have a PER above the league average of 15. Beal, who only turned 20 over the summer, is certainly an advanced scorer for his age, but his lack of efficiency could become a concern if it doesn't start to show improvement. As a rookie, he finished with a respectable 13.69 PER with a 51.5 true shooting percentage, and the early going this year both of those numbers are down (13.62 PER and 50.7 TS%). One of the biggest reasons? Beal's penchant for settling for the long two. According to NBA.com, he has already attempted 80 shots in the 15-19 foot range this season, making only 25 (31.3 percent). To put that in perspective, only eight other starters in the league (LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Henderson, Jason Smith, Dirk Nowitzki, Wall, Al Horford, DeMar DeRozan and Carmelo Anthony) have attempted more long twos, and all of them are connecting at a higher rate. Taking it a step further, among the 50 starters in the league with the most "long two" attempts, Beal's shooting percentage is the lowest.

While Beal is clearly a key cornerstone for this team and needs to be playing major minutes this piece does bring up interesting points. Thoughts?

Zach Lowe loves Nene's dunks as much as we do!

Nene's contract was a bit of an overpay, in part because he has endless health issues that limit his court time. But he's a damn good overall player, and I'm not sure anyone dunks with as much anger and arm-to-rim acceleration. It's like he's channeling all the frustration he feels over nagging injuries and burbling criticism of his game and fitness into out-and-out attacks on the rim. I'm worried he's going to hurt his wrist on one of those babies.

Grantland

Price: Wizards never called me

"I left here thinking I was coming back," Price, now a backup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, said on Tuesday before making his lone visit to Washington to face his former team. Price said he never heard from the Wizards last summer after he posted career highs of 7.7 points and 3.6 assists, with 22 starts, "Which is kind of surprising."

Washington Post. The Wizards didn't like how Price held the ball too much instead of getting the Wizards into their offense, according to the article.

Wittman not quite on chopping block yet

According to a person with knowledge of the Wizards thinking, Wittman still has some time to turn things around. The fact that Washington played six of its first eight games on the road did not help his cause, and their Tuesday night home game against the dangerous Minnesota Timberwolves will be the latest test on this front.

Sam Amick of USA Today.

Wall gives Wittman dreaded vote of confidence

"Everybody believes in coach Witt. We understand what he did last year and what he was capable of when everybody was healthy," said point guard John Wall of 29 wins in 2012-2013 for a team that didn't have him, Nene and many others for long stretches. "As players we got to go out there and execute what he's given us as our game plan and what he wants us to be as a team. We haven't been doing that so far. We've only proved it in the two games we've won."

CSN Washington.

Leonsis on 'playoffs or bust'

"Playoffs or bust, what does that mean?" Leonsis said. "Shut the team down if we don't make the playoffs for the Wizards? We would certainly, if we don't make the playoffs, for both teams we would do our due diligence in a more hypersensitive manner, right? Because we didn't meet our expectations. But the team's not going bust. The fan base isn't going bust. It would just heighten the scrutiny that we have to do."

From a WTOP interview

Zach Lowe predicts Wiz will make a trade soon

General manager Ernie Grunfeld is in the last year of his contract, and owner Ted Leonsis, not the shy sort, has made it clear he expects the Wiz to make the playoffs. Washington was over .500 last season when Bradley Beal and John Wall were both available, and lineups featuring combinations of its core six or seven guys generally did quite well. But Okafor was one of those core guys, and the gap between Okafor and his backups — Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely — is a freaking chasm. Al Harrington can soak up some minutes as a small-ball power forward, a role he played brilliantly for Denver two seasons ago, but he's aging and coming off major knee issues. The Wiz need a big man, unless they get good news soon on Okafor. Alternatively, if Okafor is healthy, Washington could continue its history of flipping mega-expiring contracts (and the cap they promise) into players on longer-term deals; that's how it got Okafor. Stay tuned either way on the Wiz.

Grantland.

Leonsis: No excuses

"We have 13 healthy players and the one thing I'm not allowing anybody to do is use injuries as an excuse," Leonsis said at a news conference. "We have 15 players under contract. Two can't start the season. That means we have 13. That's all you can dress anyway.

CSN Washington.
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