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Old 13-09-18, 05:50
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After winging it with their perimeter depth late in a trying season Tramon Williams Jersey , the Washington Wizards decided they needed more. A mature 18-year-old from Las Vegas with a winning game and a modern style convinced them he was the right call.

The Wizards selected Oregon swingman Troy Brown Jr. with the No. 15 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.

The 6-foot-7 Brown provides the Wizards with needed wing depth, a versatile defender and a potential playmaker for their second unit. He averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists during his lone season with the Ducks.

There were multiple meetings between Brown and members of the Wizards organization during the pre-draft process. They talked during last month’s NBA Combine in Chicago. Brown visited Washington for a June 11 workout. It took little convincing that the former 5-star recruit was the right choice.

”Easy,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said about the decision. ”This is a guy that we’ve been targeting.”

Team president Ernie Grunfeld said the workout on the Wizards’ practice court was just a piece of the evaluation process. Brown clearly helped his cause. The session included standard basketball drills along with a chance for the mature player to reveal his cerebral side.

”We asked him to draw up a last-second play and he drew up several,” Grunfeld said after Washington’s first draft choice in any round since 2015. ”So, he has a good understanding of all those things and he’s a skilled basketball player.”

Brown had a good feeling about the Wizards entering the draft.

”I was really excited. My workout went very well with the team. I was just very happy,” he said during a teleconference with local reporters. ”It’s a lifelong dream to make it to the NBA. You work so hard to make that dream come true. To finally hear my name especially with a team that I felt like kind of hit it off with at the workout, with the interview, I was very excited.”

Enthusiasm was in short supply for Washington last season. After falling a game shy of reaching the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, the Wizards finished 43-39, entered the playoffs as the eighth seed and lost in the first round to Toronto in six games.

In 2015, the Wizards drafted Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant 19th overall before shipping him to Atlanta for forward Kelly Oubre Jr., the No. 15 selection. Washington also tabbed forward Aaron White in the second round.

Minutes for Brown will come behind All-Star guard Bradley Beal and small forward Otto Porter. Oubre served as Porter’s primary backup last season. Jodie Meeks handled that role behind Beal Al Davis Jersey , but he has 19 games remaining on his 25-game suspension for a violation of the league’s drug program.

Depth became an issue for Washington last season. Porter dealt with a lingering hip injury throughout and missed Game 6 against Toronto after undergoing minor surgery on his lower left leg. Five-time All-Star point guard John Wall missed 41 games with various injuries. Meeks’ suspension hit as the playoffs began.

Beyond last season’s issues, the NBA game’s move to more small-ball lineups puts a premium on versatile pieces.

”It’s very important. You have to have a lot of versatility (and) you have to have players that can play multiple positions,” Grunfeld said.

Now the Wizards have one more.

Washington selected another 18-year-old, Ukrainian Issuf Sanon, with the 44th selection. Grunfeld said Sanon will remain overseas for at least the 2018-19 season.




Matchups for the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots:



When the Eagles (15-3) have the ball

The Patriots must be wary of a balanced offense that tore apart Minnesota, which has a better overall defense than does New England. Forget about Nick Foles (9) being a backup quarterback; his postseason performances, particularly in the NFC title game, have been strong.

Foles will try to get TE Zach Ertz (86) involved early; he was unstoppable against the Vikings. Indeed, the Eagles have three tight ends they are comfortable going to, including Brent Celek (87) and Trey Burton (88). That places an onus on safeties Devin McCourty (32), as reliable as any player at that position in the league, and Patrick Chung (23).

Philadelphia’s wideouts supposedly were a weakness heading into the season. Not quite. Alshon Jeffery (17) is a clear No. 1 target with excellent hands and the ability to get open all over the field. That frees up vastly improved Nelson Agholor (13) and veteran Torrey Smith (82). They will challenge the Patriots’ solid cornerbacks, Malcolm Butler (21) and Stephon Gilmore (24).

New England’s defensive backs will need a bolstered pass rush Eric Rowe Jersey , something the Patriots manufacture with a variety of players, from Trey Flowers (98) to Geneo Grissom (96) to Lawrence Guy (93) to rookie Adam Butler (70) to the rejuvenated LB James Harrison (92). Philly is most staunch at center with Jason Kelce (62) and right tackle with Lane Johnson (65), both All-Pros.

One thing the Eagles are sure to try to keep New England’s offense on the sideline is getting Jay Ajayi (36), former Patriot LeGarrette Blount (29) and rookie Corey Clement (30) some open space for runs. New England LB Kyle Van Noy (53) figures to have a busy day unless Philly falls behind.



When the Patriots (15-3) have the ball

Tom Brady (12) has won five Super Bowls, four times as game MVP. Never mind that he is 40, he’s playing as if he’s in his prime – hey, he might be – and will test Philadelphia’s versatile defense from the outset.

Oddly, while Brady led the NFL with 4,577 passing yards, no QB who paced the NFL in that category has won the Super Bowl in that season, going 0-5. Brady couldn’t do it, and the others were Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon Jeff Locke Jersey , Kurt Warner and Dan Marino.

It’s essential that the Eagles get in Brady’s face throughout. That means DLs Fletcher Cox (91), the best defensive player in this postseason, Brandon Graham (55), rookie Derek Barnett (96) and former Patriot Chris Long (56) must apply pressure. That’s doable but not easy against an offensive line without any stars, but with plenty of skill. LT Nate Solder (77) and C David Andrews (60) are the key guys up front.

Philly must be alert not only for all of Brady’s targets – WRs Brandon Cooks (14), Danny Amendola (80), Chris Hogan (15), RBs James White (28) and Dion Lewis (33) – but for Lewis and White in the running game. Both are shifty and flexible and have Brady’s trust.

The Eagles’ secondary, often criticized for its inconsistency, has gotten very stingy in the playoffs. Of course, CBs Ronald Darby (41), Jalen Mills (31) and Patrick Robinson (21) haven’t faced this kind of offense.

Perhaps most critical among all matchups is whether All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski (87) has recovered from a concussion. His confrontations with veteran S Malcolm Jenkins (27) could be telling.



Special Teams

Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski (3) rebounded from a rough 2016 to have a strong season. He made 37 out of 40 field goals in the regular season, going 4 for 4 on kicks of 50 or more yards. He is one of the league’s most clutch kickers and is third in career postseason points in NFL history.

Lewis is the only player in this game to have returned a kickoff for a touchdown this season. He ranked fourth in the NFL with 24.8 yards per return.

Amendola is also a threat on punt returns. He averaged 8.6 yards per return during the regular season P. J. Williams Jersey , including a long of 40 yards, and had a big one against Jacksonville in the AFC title game.

Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott (4) set a postseason club record with a 53-yard field goal and has longer range than Gostkowski. But he is less reliable on extra points, having missed four.

P Donnie Jones (8) ranked 17th in net average and Kenjon Barner (38) filled in nicely after Darren Sproles was injured. Barner’s best punt return went for 76 yards.

Coverage units are solid despite losing special-teams captain Chris Maragos.



Coaching

Philly was in attack mode from the outset against Minnesota, and that’s a good reflection on Doug Pederson and his staff. Pederson knows he can’t back off against New England, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is known for being aggressive.

Not much has to be said about a New England staff that is 5-2 in Super Bowls. A twist, not unprecedented but interesting, has both coordinators, Matt Patricia on defense and Josh McDaniels on offense, bound for head coaching spots elsewhere. Don’t look for it to have any effect on this game.



Intangibles

The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl; their previous NFL title was in 1960. They have that extra edge that perennial underdogs – even in home playoff games as the No. 1 seed – would carry. Their confidence is soaring after they tore apart the stingiest scoring defense in the league for the conference championship.

New England probably doesn’t need anything in this category. But the Patriots always seem to find some extr Carolina Panthers Customized Jerseys
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