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Kevin Durant sounds nice, but he's not why Wizards hired Scott Brooks

Kevin Durant sounds nice, but he's not why Wizards hired Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks was not hired to lure Kevin Durant to D.C., though that was the immediate response by many when he was brought in two months ago by the Wizards.

John Wall offered his opinion in a conversation with Michael Lee of The Vertical this week, and CSNmidatlantic.com can add more context behind the hiring as to why the Wizards chose him in particular as their leader for the next five years.

As noted here, Randy Wittman had lost the respect of his locker room that became indifferent in a 41-41 season.

Durant or no Durant, an unrestricted free agent who was coached by Brooks for eight years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Wizards needed a voice to restore order, communication and gain respect among the troops.

Brooks had experience and succeeded with the sometimes volatile Russell Westbrook and Durant, leading them to a 2012 NBA Finals appearance. Brooks was an assistant coach with the then-Seattle SuperSonics before they relocated. After two years in that role in which Durant was a rookie in 2007 he was elevated to the top job that he held until being fired after 2014-15 ended.

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Managing talent, and Oklahoma City had plenty along with Serge Ibaka and James Harden, isn't easy. Brooks, whatever his shortcomings that led to his firing which remains unclear, succeded.

He's not expected to err in ways that Wittman did. When the Wizards went to pace-and-space, for instance, by starting Kris Humphries over Nene to begin the 2015-16 season, at no point did Wittman make it clear to his players that was the direction he definitely was heading despite speculation of such a move. 

According to multiple players talked to by CSN before and since Wittman’s firing, he didn’t have personal relationships with many of them, including his best players in Wall and Bradley Beal, and not even veterans such as Nene or Ramon Sessions who were perceived to be his favorites

While it made sense for Nene, 33, to have his minutes dialed back and come off the bench as a reserve center rather than a starting power forward, a sit down conversation to pre-empt it might’ve helped. Initiating a sitdown with Marcin Gortat, who ignored Wittman all season after he was called out as a “supposed big man” in November, might’ve helped. Not ignoring Jared Dudley's message about adjustments after an April loss to the Indiana Pacers might've helped. Trusting more in rookie Kelly Oubre, who everyone said in exit interviews should've played more because he is that good, might've helped.

Unless the Wizards ended up in the NBA Finals, there was no way Wittman would've stayed employed anyway with his contract only partially guaranteed at $500,000 for 2016-17. 

But it could've been smoother and his resume looked a lot better when he hit the job market. A screamer, Wittman was known for badgering Kevin Seraphin, who left as a free agent for less playing time and money with the N.Y. Knicks before last season rather than being his chew toy. Seraphin didn't like the treatment but had thick skin and accepted it. He didn't sulk. He was always the first one in the huddle to put his hand on top of Wittman's. There was no Seraphin to take that brunt this past season when the train went off the track.

This won't be Brooks' style. His people skills as well as his defensive acumen are why he’s in D.C. If he ends up helping Durant come -- and that seems like a major reach -- it just would be the icing on the cake.

Brooks is here to win, which he did 62% of the time with the Thunder, whether or not one of the 15 players on his roster has "Durant" on his jersey.

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do. 

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

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

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is here with the annual showcase 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 GAME

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

ROSTERS

TEAM LEBRON:

Coach: Dwane Casey, Raptors
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Kevin Durant, Warriors
Kyrie Irving, Celtics
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs
Bradley Beal, Wizards
Goran Dragic, Heat
Andre Drummond, Pistons
Paul George, Thunder
Victor Oladipo, Pacers
Russell Westbrook, Thunder
Kemba Walker, Hornets

TEAM STEPHEN:

Coach: Mike D'Antoni, Rockets
Stephen Curry, Warriors
James Harden, Rockets
Joel Embiid, 76ers
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves
Draymond Green, Warriors
Klay Thompson, Warriors
Al Horford, Celtics
Damian Lillard, Blazers
Kyle Lowry, Raptors
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

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

Three things to watch...

New format

The NBA switched it up this season by doing away with the traditional matchup between the East and West. The teams were instead chosen by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the two top vote-getters in All-Star fan voting. The idea was to breath new life into the All-Star Game and hopefully make it more competitive. The league also installed a system where the winners each get $100,000, $75,000 more than the losing team. 

All pro sports leagues struggle drawing interest with their All-Star showcases. They are always trying to get ratings up and this is the latest ploy by the NBA. The new format is definitely intriguing, but whether it will have a major impact on the competition itself is hard to tell. We'll see how the fans respond.

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Reunion time

The teams picked by James and Curry will give fans some throwback combinations with former teammates back together again. Team LeBron is full of them. James will reunite with Kyrie Irving, who essentially forced his way out of Cleveland over the summer after the two combined to reach three straight NBA Finals and win one title.

We will also see Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play together again. They of course teamed up to win a lot of games with the Oklahoma City Thunder before Durant signed with the Warriors. Westbrook will also be reunited with Victor Oladipo, who was traded from OKC to the Pacers over the summer.

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Beal's All-Star debut

Wizards fans will of course be focused on Bradley Beal, who is making his first All-Star appearance. He is Washington's lone representative, as John Wall is still recovering from left knee surgery.

Beal may not get many minutes on a stacked roster of guys who have been in the game before. If that happens, it's probably for the best. Beal is currently fifth in the NBA in total minutes played. He needs the rest if he can get it.

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