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Morning tip: Scott Brooks' to-do list will be a long one

Morning tip: Scott Brooks' to-do list will be a long one

In about eight hours, the Wizards will formally introduced Scott Brooks as their new coach after he signed a five-year contract that's fully guaranteed. He'll be asked about everything from John Wall to Kevin Durant to his vision of what style he'll implement, his input on the roster and the type of players he wants to secure in free agency.

He'll be asked about Bradley Beal, a restricted free agent, being part of the long-term plan, which players he has actually talked to personally, to compare Wall to his former player Russell Westbrook and some more about Durant. He'll be asked about what convinced him D.C. was the destination for him over places such as the Sacramento Kings and eventual openings with the L.A. Lakers and Houston Rockets. 

The last question is rather easy to answer but Brooks wouldn't dare be this blunt but president Ernie Grunfeld offered him $35 million reasons to take the job. And Durant is under contract with another team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, so he can easily shut down all of those questions by saying NBA rules prevent tampering -- a very loosely defined term that can cost a coach and an organization a lot of money in fines.

Brooks will say all of the right things and he should. When there's a new sheriff in town, optimism runs rampant. But he has a lot of work to do. As teams continue to drop out of the NBA playoffs, Brooks will be assembling his coaching staff which CSNmidatlantic.com was told will look very similar to his previous ones that had the likes of Mark Bryant, Maurice Cheeks and Robert Pack. 


Even though the Wizards don't have any 2016 draft picks, essentially swapping their first-rounder to get Markieff Morris from the Phoenix Suns, they still have scouting to do.

Most players who enter the draft won't be chosen. Early entrants alone total 162, according to the NBA on Tuesday, and there are only 60 picks to be made in two rounds. 

The Wizards still can bring in players for workouts though these will be late-second round prospects and future undrafted free agents. That they'll have as many as nine roster spots come open makes Verizon Center a worthwhile stop.

Plus, the Wizards still have to populate their roster for Las Vegas summer league with Kelly Oubre and Aaron White, both 2015 draft picks, heading up that team. That begins in the second week of July. Center Jaleel Roberts, who played for the Wizards at summer league and was in training camp last season, is likely to rejoin the Wizards for it.

The roster will be under reconstruction starting July 1 as free agency opens. 

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Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

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Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

The Wizards entered the All-Star break having won seven of their previous nine games since John Wall went down with an injury, so a natural question to head coach Scott Brooks looking ahead to their first game back on Thursday was how he and his team can keep that momentum going in the second half.

Brooks immediately pointed to the Wizards' schedule, which gets notably more difficult in the coming weeks. They have a stretch of games over the next month-plus that features the best teams in basketball and Brooks knows that will be a big factor in whether they can sustain what they have going.

"Definitely the schedule gets tougher," Brooks said. "We've got a lot of good teams coming up starting with the first one in Cleveland. It's five games in seven nights against really good teams."


In the next five weeks, the Wizards will play 15 of 17 games against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Cavaliers, Warriors, Celtics, Spurs (twice), Raptors and Timberwolves. 

That will represent a marked shift for the Wizards, who to this point have the weakest strength of schedule. Though they boast impressive wins over the Celtics, Rockets, Raptors and Timberwolves, they are about to play teams of that caliber more frequently with few nights off to rest. They have four back-to-back sets all in the next three weeks.

The upcoming stretch has been on the Wizards' minds for a while. Several players referenced their tough schedule before the All-Star break, knowing those wins leading up to the time off could prove extra important in hindsight.

The Wizards return to action on Thursday night against the Cavaliers, a team that has already beaten them twice. Both of those games were against the old version of the Cavs before they traded much of their roster at the deadline.


Gone are Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye. But they still have that guy LeBron James.

"Shoot, they looked good the other time, right? They beat us twice with the other group," Brooks noted. "LeBron is going to go down as one of the best ever. They are younger and more athletic. They're a good team and they still have an All-Star in [Kevin] Love who hasn't played because he's hurt."

The Cavs haven't lost in three games since the All-Star break and that includes road wins over the Celtics and Thunder. They look rejuvenated and, at least so far, improved from the aging, incongruent roster they had just weeks ago.

The Wizards have also been playing better lately, of course, and this upcoming stretch will be a major test for them. Wall has been out three weeks since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is likely to miss another three-to-five weeks. The Wizards will have to get through this without him.

If they can remain competitive and even beat some of these elite teams, they will only gain more confidence in their potential. That's the way Brooks plans to approach the schedule.

"We still want to be a better team when John comes back," Brooks said. "But the schedule definitely gets a lot tougher."


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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.


Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."


Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.