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John Wall accepts Kevin Hart and JJ Watt's challenges, donates to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

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USA TODAY Sports

John Wall accepts Kevin Hart and JJ Watt's challenges, donates to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

The city of Houston continues to deal with the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

The southeast Texas gulf region was dealt 19 trillion gallons of rain during the four-day storm, with that number expecting to rise.

The mass flooding and devastation led to nearly 17,000 people seeking rescue shelters by Monday night after being displaced from their homes, according to the American Red Cross.

Several celebrities and athletes have used their status as prominent public figures to raise and donate money toward relief efforts. 

On Wednesday, John Wall became the latest athlete to donate to the cause.

RELATED: JOHN WALL OFFERS ADVICE TO HIGH SCHOOL STAR ZION WILLIAMSON

The super-max deal star posted on his Instagram story Tuesday night that he would be accepting both comedian Kevin Hart and Texans' defensive end J.J. Watt's challenge to donate 25,000 dollars to each of their relief effort campaigns. 

So far, Kevin Hart has raised close to 1 million dollars and J.J. Watt raising over 5 million dollars.

Wizards players have also come together to raise funds for the victims. 

It started with a group text message and by Monday several Wizards players including John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Markieff Morris had raised $250,000.

Wizards majority team owner Ted Leonsis also contributed to the Red Cross in addition to President Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks.

If you would like to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey as well, you can visit the American Red Cross's website to make a donation.

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Contrary to popular belief, Celtics vastly improved with addition ... and subtraction

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Contrary to popular belief, Celtics vastly improved with addition ... and subtraction

Whenever a blockbuster trade goes down in the NBA, the first reaction always seems to center around who "won" the deal.

After the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets 2018 first-round pick, that's all NBA Twitter wanted to talk about.

Plenty seemed to feel the Celtics got worse this offseason, especially defensively, and looked at it as a regression from last season's Eastern Conference Finals team.

Others were confused.

Some just wanted an excuse to make another Earth joke.

LeBron James took the high road at least.

RELATED: RANKING THE NBA'S BEST POINT GUARDS

There's way too much overthinking with this trade. It's simple, the Celtics are a better team than they were last year. 

Just on talent alone, any reasonable person would see that a lineup of Irving, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, and either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown has a higher ceiling than Thomas, Horford, Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynyk.

Where did the "you need multiple stars to win in the NBA" narrative get lost in all this? When was it forgotten that the Celtics lacked more than one punch when it came to closing out games?

It was forgotten when the identity of the Celtics looked like it was changing. Yes, losing Bradley means a great perimeter defender is missing, and yes Olynyk was a hard-nosed guy that helped shape that defensive image as well. But this team can still keep that identity while adding more talent on the offensive side.

Believe it or not, the Celtics have players to do both.

RELATED: HOW WILL THE KYRIE TRADE AFFECT THE WIZARDS-CELTICS RIVALRY?

Defensive Win Shares is something used to estimate the number of wins contributed by a player due to his defense. The league leaders in Defensive Win Shares from 2016-17 were Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard. Some of the best defenders in the game today.

It has credibility. 

Bradley ranked 107th on this list. Olynyk came in at No. 120. 

Horford was 45th last year, Marcus Smart was 49th. They're still in Boston.

Even better news for the Celtics, newcomers Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward were higher than Bradley and Olynyk too. Morris was 76th, and Hayward was all the way up at 20th. Hayward also came from a Utah team that was the best in the NBA in points allowed (96.8). The Celtics ranked 15th.

Smart will likely be counted on to defend bigger players this year, but compared to Bradley (6-2, 180), Smart is bigger (6-4, 220), with great on-ball defensive skills of his own.

So what's this all mean?

The Celtics lost some great defenders — yes — but added more players that can contribute on both sides of the ball, something they lacked on a consistent basis last season.

No, Irving didn't show great effort on defense, but Thomas, quite simply, is too small to defend anyone and had to be hidden on defense anyway. You can argue Irving is still a slight upgrade there, as crazy as that might sound.

Sometimes defense is about effort, and if there's anyone that can get maximum effort and results from his players, it's Brad Stevens. Any coach that can get mid-major Butler University within a win of a NCAA National Championship in back-to-back seasons, and take a Celtics team full of underappreciated players to the Eastern Conference Finals, shows he can make anyone better that wants to be. 

Now, Boston has the talent to count on multiple players late in close games. Last year, it was only Thomas.

The Celtics also have a chance to keep this core together for the long-term. Danny Ainge doesn't make this trade if he's not convinced Irving has a desire to stay past the next two years on his deal.

At the other end of the trade spectrum, the Cavaliers could be in total rebuild mode after next year.

LeBron James can leave, Thomas will want a max deal, and the team is already in luxury tax hell from all of the deals they've done to keep LeBron happy. Oh, and they just traded their second-best player to their rival. Not to mention, there's a good chance Thomas never puts up the numbers he did this past year again.

The Celtics sold high.

Sure, this new Celtics team still has to gel, which is something that's certainly beneficial for the Wizards, a team that has chemistry and continuity from years of playing together. But in today's NBA, you have to have stars, plain and simple.

Right now, the Kyrie Irving trade can only be judged by what we see in front of us, and what we see is a better team in Boston. 

It also means, all four nationally televised games between the Wizards and Celtics just got even more competitive too. 

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NBA rookies vote Dennis Smith Jr. most likely to win Rookie of the Year

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NBA rookies vote Dennis Smith Jr. most likely to win Rookie of the Year

There's been a lot of hype around this year's rookie class in the NBA. Now, we've had a chance to hear from the rookies themselves, and they're apparently very high on Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr.

39 rookies took part in a survey for NBA.com, and Smith was voted most likely to win Rookie of the Year, receiving 25.7 percent of the vote. Lonzo Ball came in second at 20 percent, and Markelle Fultz followed at 17.1 percent.

Smith spent one year at North Carolina State before being taken 9th overall by the Mavs. 

Keep in mind though, the history of this poll doesn't have much success when it comes to predicting the award. The rookies surveyed have predicted the Rookie of the Year just once since 2007 when Kevin Durant won the award. 

Last year, they picked Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn, who already was traded to the Bulls this offseason, and the award went to Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon.

Granted, there were very few who would've predicted a second round pick like Brogdon to win Rookie of the Year.

Vegas also has a slightly different idea as to who will win the award too.

RELATED: WIZARDS SEE THE KNICKS TWICE IN THE PRESEASON

Utah's Donovan Mitchell was voted as the "biggest steal" in the draft based on where he was taken. Mitchell was picked 13th by the Jazz.

Phoenix's Josh Jackson was voted as the top defender in the rookie class. The former Kansas star received 26.3 percent of the vote, followed by Golden State's Jordan Bell (23.7 percent) and Mitchell (21.1 percent).

Ball and Jayson Tatum were also voted the rookies that will have the best career.