Quick Links

Scott Brooks won't baby young Wizards: 'I don't care how old you are'

Scott Brooks won't baby young Wizards: 'I don't care how old you are'

Scott Brooks had a lot of success developing young players in Oklahoma City. That's an area of need for the Wizards, whose two best players are in their early 20s. 

His strategy? Don't baby anyone, basically. That's what he told Chris Mannix in an interview for The Veritcal Podcast, taped during Las Vegas Summer League. 

"When you’re dealing with young players, you can’t always talk about them being young," the new Wizards coach explained. "You have to treat them as NBA players."

"We have a bunch of young players on our team now. Kelly Oubre is only 20. Otto Porter is 23. Bradley Beal is only 23. John Wall is 25.

"But I tell them … we’re Washington Wizards and I don’t care how old you are. The competitive spirit that you have to display night in and night out is going to have to get you playing time."

Competitiveness over experience — that's a departure from former head coach Randy Wittman, who had a reputation for being stingy with playing time for rookies.

In 2013-14, Porter averaged 8.6 minutes per game despite being the No. 3 overall draft pick that spring. Last year, rookie Oubre did slightly better with 10.7 minutes per game. Only Beal received substantial run in his rookie season. 

Whether playing time was a function of Wittman's short leash or the players' abilities is up for debate. 

What's not in dispute is that Brooks inherited a tremendous talent in Wall. Mannix asked about the similarities and differences between Wall and Russell Westbrook, whom Brooks coached for six seasons in Oklahoma City. 

“I’m really just now, the last couple of months, getting a chance to know John. And obviously I love Russell and what he’s about," he said. "I notice in John a lot of the same similarities [sic]. He loves the game."

"For instance, we had a draft workout about three weeks ago in D.C. and we brought in six players. I knew not one player out of the six players.

"I was with John. He not only knew where they were from, he knew their stats, he knew their tendencies, he knew their background. He knew their high school, their AAU. He knew them all.

"And I'm looking at him like, 'You need to get a life. Don’t you do anything other than watch basketball throughout the day?'"

In summation, Brooks said he believes Wall has all the ingredients for NBA success. 

"Three things I’ve noticed: He loves the game, he has a big-time skill set and he’s very competitive. And if you have that, along with good character, there’s a reason why he’s a three-time All-Star at such a young age." 

How the new coach plans to handle Beal, Wall's partner in the backcourt, will draw more attention because of Beal's history of stress reactions in his legs. It's a tough situation for a player who's still developing, and Brooks said one of his first priorities was devising a new strategy to mitigate that risk. 

“I was just with [Beal] this morning and watched his workout in Las Vegas. And he said this is the best he’s felt in any of the offseasons," he told Mannix.

"You know, he's 23 years old and he’s going into his fifth year. It’s really pretty incredible. Your body as a young player, you have to go through a lot and it’s a shock to the system. Every young player has to go through that. You have to be able to manage their workload. I think going forward, the staff that we have together, we understand that.

"The analytics on the medical side is important. The workloads, the things that we have to try to prevent injuries from happening, is going to be very important for myself. That’s one of the things I wanted to improve on this summer and I think we have a good game plan going forward."

He also discussed limiting the length of practices as a way to reduce wear and tear. But even with a healthy backcourt, Brooks made a point of saying the Wizards' identity will be rooted in defense. 

“John Wall and Bradley Beal are big time scorers and they can help their team score, but we still want to be known as a defensive team that can score. Not an offensive team that only wants to defend when it scores."

Quick Links

Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

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


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

USA Today Sports Images

Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!