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Brooks learning ins and outs of Wizards roster an ongoing process

Brooks learning ins and outs of Wizards roster an ongoing process

When the Wizards' 2016-17 regular season opens on Thursday [6:30 p.m. on CSN], exactly six months will have passed since Scott Brooks was introduced as their new head coach. In that time span he has hired a staff of assistants, gone to summer league in Las Vegas, held a training camp and coached the Wizards in seven exhibition games. 

He has been in the building for half of a calendar year, yet still feels there is plenty to learn about his team. 

"That's the most difficult part of the job, trying to really understand the team and all of their strengths and trying to find their weaknesses so you can shore them up," Brooks said.

"But you don't have a lot of time and I've always been a no excuse coach. We coach our team for no excuses. We have to figure it out quickly. I thought our guys have done a really good job of understanding what we do and how we do it. I thought during these last three or four weeks we have improved as a team. But we have to keep improving."

Like Brooks, Dwane Casey of the Raptors is in his second stint as an NBA head coach. After spending two seasons with the Timberwolves in 2005-07, he took over in Toronto before the 2011-12 campaign.

Casey has seen the Raptors develop into a perennial power with three straight division titles. But it didn't click for him overnight and he knows what it's like to be in Brooks' shoes at the moment.

"The big thing is understanding personnel. Basketball is basketball. You're going to have your own philosophy as a head coach," Casey said. "Just getting to know your players is the most important thing. What they can do and what they can't do in certain situations. That's what's great about exhibition and summer time.

"You're able to see what they can do [in terms of] what side of the floor are they best on, who can execute under pressure at the end of the game. Those things you kind of learn in exhibition, but you have to watch a lot of last year's film and rely on the people who were here last year to find out what they can do and can't do. That's the biggest issue, I think."

From a player's perspective, it is more about learning the new coach's system and what is asked of them on both ends of the floor. That can vary by the player and their role.

For star point guard John Wall, he feels him and Brooks are already on the same page. Brooks has put an emphasis on communicating with each player about their roles and Wall, for one, believes he's up to speed, even after working his way back from offseason surgery.

"To be honest, it's been kind of easy. Right after my surgery he came down and spent two days with me in Cleveland. We started talking basketball there and were picking each other's brains about the game of basketball. He just wants me to be a leader and be the second coach out there," Wall said.

"It's basically what I've been doing, do the same exact thing. I've played with most of these guys and most of these guys know how I play. Our starting five, we have a great chemistry. We already built that in the past. It's just about getting the other guys who have come in to play with us."

It may take time for Brooks to reach a comfort level leading a roster full of players he's never coached before. But Thursday will provide a big step in that learning process.

"Now the games are for real," he said. "I need to put it all together collectively as a group… That's the tough part, but that's the part I really enjoy. I really enjoy the challenge of finding ways to make it work every night."

[RELATED: Wiz settling on a regular-season rotation]

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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk contest

It was a short night for Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the 2018 All-Star three-point contest on Saturday, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Wearing the Wizards' new 'The District' white alternate jersey, Beal shot a 15 and fell short of the top three spots to qualify for the second round. Suns guard Devin Booker won the contest with a 28 score in the final, beating out Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Clippers.

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Beal's was undone by a slow start. He missed all five shots on the first rack and made just one on the second. He began to heat up at the third rack, but by then couldn't recover.

Here is Beal's full round:

This was Beal's second showing in the three-point contest. He finished second back in 2014 and this year said he was motivated to avenge that loss. He should have plenty more opportunities to participate in the future if he chooses.

The NBA's All-Star Saturday night began with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie winning the skills competition. He beat Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen in the final round.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest. He edged Larry Nance, Jr. of the Cavaliers in the finals.

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS