From Comcast SportsNetCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Steve Smith was on crutches after being treated for what the Carolina Panthers described as a left foot infection. Coach Ron Rivera says Smith is being treated with antibiotics, but the wide receiver's status for the remainder of the preseason is unknown. Smith was seen walking around the stadium on crutches, but was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason was also held out of practice with a strained hamstring. The Panthers (No. 20 in the AP Pro32) face the New York Jets on Sunday and then wrap up the preseason the following Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers could decide to hold both star players out until the regular season. Rivera says Carolina's starters will play into the third quarter Sunday.
John Wall and Bradley Beal were uniform in their message about where the Wizards were lacking in 2016-17, and it was the backups in a 49-win season.
In a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Wizards relied on Beal for 45 minutes and Wall, who shot 0-for-11 in tthe second half, for 44.
Yesterday, it was point guards. Let's focus on the shooting guards behind Beal today. Coach Scott Brooks was in a bind with Marcus Thornton earlier in the season, who was an unreliable shooter and a loose cannon on defense. After a disastrous road trip to begin 2017, Thornton didn't play the next 21 games before being traded. Rookie Sheldon Mac (name legally changed from McClellan) had his moments but Brooks played him out of necessity. He didn't believe he was ready and often Mac was out of position such as going over the top of screens on non-shooters like Rajon Rondo.
None of the ball-handling point guards, Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings, were big enough to play the two spot. And the one player who was, 6-7 rookie Tomas Satoransky, was too raw and not a good enough shooter yet.
Brooks resorted to using forwards Bojan Bogdanovic and Otto Porter in small lineups in Beal's spot but ideally a true two-guard would occupy it.
The Wizards don't have a lot of cap room so whoever they bring in has to be relatively affordable and willing to accept a backup role. If they require starters' minutes or money, they're not viable option with Beal firmly in place.
Here are some options...
5. Ian Clark (Warriors): How much of what you see out of the fourth-year guard is because he plays on the best team in the West? He appeared in 77 games, averaged 15 minutes and 6.8 points while shooting 37.4% from three-point range. At 26, he's by far the youngest on this list and likely has the highest ceiling while the others have reached theirs. Clark earned just $1 million and his departure isn't going to make or break Golden State. What kind of player would he be if he played 22-24 minutes per game? It's all an educated guess and if he's available he's worth asking about because he could be the least expensive, too.
4. Tony Allen (Grizzlies): Offensively, he's always a liability. The worst defenders on the opponent end up marking Allen who isn't strong off the dribble especially when having to change directions or pulling up. But he sure can defend, even at 35, and take on the toughest assignment every night. Allen doesn't need the ball to change the tone of a game and is content with getting his buckets off hustle plays and in transition. He played for $5 million though he had injury issues in averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. The 6-4 guard only shot 27.8% from three but 46.1% overall as he got most of his offensive going to the rim..
3. Tyreke Evans (Pelicans/Kings): Good size at 6-5 but not the most efficient shooter. Evans has been a point guard and can score, though the 2010 Rookie of the Year had a hefty $10.2 million pricetag. He hasn't won anywhere and posted averages of 10.1 points and just 40.5% overall shooting. He was a starter in his first seven NBA seasons before adapting to a sixth-man role. How much he'd cost and if he values starting or winning would be the key areas to figure out. He shoots jsut 30% from three for his career but has improved.
2. Kyle Korver (Hawks/Cavs): The 6-6 shooter averaged 10.1 points and shot 45.1% from three-point range even though he's slowing down as he usually has been an above-average defender. Still, at $5.2 million he could be a worthwhile commitment despite being 36. Korver can be a spot starter in the event of injury to a player such as Beal or give him a break on nights when he doesn't have it going.
1. J.J. Redick (Clippers): Good size at 6-4, a fantastic shooter and worked tirelessly to make himself into a credible defender since turning pro 11 years ago. Redick made $7.3 million, averaging 15 points on 43% shooting from three-point range in 78 starts. Redick is lethal on catch-and-shoots. He made a career-high 47.5% from three a year ago. But he's 34 next month and will probably command a nice raise because shooters of his caliber are needed on every team worth its salt. Of course, a chance at a championship could convince him to take less or playing next to Wall might be incentive enough. Redick has been a starter since joining the Clippers in 2013 after being a reserve every season before that.
Trent Murphy enjoyed the best season of his NFL career in 2016, delivering nine sacks for the Redskins. The excitement took a blow in the offseason, however, as the NFL suspended the former Stanford star for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
Murphy will miss the first four games of the Redskins season, and the news devastated Murphy.
"It was extremely disappointing to find out. It’s kind of like a gut-wrenching feeling," he said. "Took me by total surprise."
He spoke Wednesday for the first time since the suspension became official in April. With an early bye week for Washington, the four-game punishment will actually mean Murphy does not take the field for the Redskins until Week 6 against the 49ers.
A second-round pick in 2014, Murphy registered only six sacks his first two seasons in the NFL before last season's breakout performance. Six of his nine sacks came in the first seven weeks of 2016, and Murphy's production slid late in the year as he battled a serious foot injury.
Without Murphy for the first month, the Redskins will lean heavily on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan. All three players logged more than 400 snaps last season in pass rushing situations, with Kerrigan going nearly 500 snaps. The team also added outside linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round of the 2017 draft, he could push for playing time right away, especially with Murphy unable to suit up. If he remains healthy, Junior Galette could also be an option at edge pass rusher, though after missing the past two seasons the Redskins would be smart to limit his offseason work.
For Murphy, the time off will hurt but he will remain focused on football.
"I kind of moved on the only way I could, which was just to get back to work," he said. "The people that are closest with you know your character, know where you come from, they’ll always be by your side. My team has rallied around me, they’ve been very supportive so I’m just going to do the best I can to recover from this."
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