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Brooks okay with 'all-black' Wizards bit, but his daughter has a request

Brooks okay with 'all-black' Wizards bit, but his daughter has a request

Wizards' head coach Scott Brooks is perfectly fine with his team's collective agreement to all wear black to their Tuesday night game against the Boston Celtics (6:30 p.m. on CSN), a team they have a budding rivalry with.

Brooks, in fact, remembers a similar time in his own career, in 1997 when he was with the New York Knicks.

"When I heard about it, the first thing I thought about was when I was a player with the Knicks. I thought I was pretty cool. I had a nice little hairstyle. We got together as a team that we were going to shave our heads. I was like 'you've gotta be kidding me. Do you know what I'm going to look like?' I was a reckless little kid with many scars and dents in my head. It was not going to look good. But I took one for the team and shaved it down as much as I could without it completely embarrassing my family's name. So, I'm glad the players didn't go that route. Marcin [Gortat], he wouldn't have minded. Some guys [might have]."

[RELATED: VIDEOS: Wizards arrive in all black for Celtics game]

Brooks, now a 51-year-old coach, says he understands what the players are going for. As long as it doesn't get in the way of their performance, he's cool with the initiative.

"It makes for a good narrative. I get that. It's fun. It's January and we're excited about playing a game. But I like the fact that our guys are coming together. Whatever they wear, it doesn't matter," he said. "I like the fact that the guys came together and are doing something as a team. We talked about doing everything together and we've seen it all year. Guys going out to dinner together, hanging together on the road. Whether they wear black or whatever, as long as they play hard like they have been doing since the start of the season."

Will Brooks be participating in the all-black movement? It sounds like his daughter won't let it happen.

"My daughter texted me and she said 'do not wear your black jeans because you kind of look a little chunky in them. If you have kids, you know that they don't hold back. So, I wore my blue ones tonight," he said.

Brooks, in fact, isn't quite sure what the big deal is. He sees players wearing black all the time.

"The style nowadays is black. You watch both teams, 90 percent of the players are going to be wearing tight, black jeans. Skinny jeans are in, right? Right?"

Right.

[RELATED: Celtics on Wizards wearing all black: 'That's cute']

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 3: Where do the Wizards fit in the new-look East?

Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 3: Where do the Wizards fit in the new-look East?

With Wizards training camp set to begin next week, we at NBC Sports Washington are counting down the five biggest storylines for the team as they start a new season. Today, at No. 3, a look at the remodeled Eastern Conference and where the Wizards fit… 

The transformation of the NBA's Eastern Conference this summer was not unlike the end and beginning of a new era in presidential politics. LeBron James, who reigned over the conference for nearly a decade, is gone. His eight-year term of Finals appearances out of the East is complete. Now a wide range of candidates are lining up to be the next power-players and it's a crowded field.

Seizing the empty throne

James' departure has had a massive effect on teams in the East, whether they ran into his Cavs or Heat in the playoffs repeatedly over the years or were affected by his presence indirectly. James going West paves the way for a new East representative in the NBA Finals and that allows everyone to dream a little bigger.

Though the Wizards never faced James in the playoffs during his streak of eight straight NBA Finals appearances, Washington players themselves have remarked about the opportunity created in wake of James leaving. They, along with the Celtics, Sixers, Raptors and other perennial playoff teams in the East, are gunning to pick up where James and Cleveland left off.

That arms race included significant changes for the Wizards this summer. They shook up their starting lineup by trading Marcin Gortat and signing Dwight Howard to a two-year contract. They brought in veterans like Austin Rivers and Jeff Green to shore up depth on their bench. They also kept their draft picks for the first time since 2015, using the first round selection to take Troy Brown, Jr. of Oregon.

Though questions remain about how it will all be put together, the Wizards appear to have improved themselves year-over-year. As long as John Wall is healthier than he was last season when he missed 41 games, it's logical to expect them to be back in the mix as contenders in the East. Exactly how high they are capable of going, however, is a big question entering this season.

Continuous growth

That's because despite James leaving, the East has grown deeper at the top in recent years. The Celtics have made the Eastern Conference Finals in two straight seasons and last year finished one win away from the NBA Finals. They did that without Gordon Hayward, who was lost for the season on opening night, and Kyrie Irving, who missed the playoffs due to injury.

The Celtics were good enough to win 55 games last season and without their two of their best and most accomplished players. If they are healthy and guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to develop, the Celtics deserve their status as favorites in the East.

The Raptors disappointed in the playoffs this past spring by getting swept by James and the Cavs in the second round. But they still won 59 games during the regular season and should be able to maintain their success with Kawhi Leonard now in DeMar DeRozan's place.

Toronto will ultimately be judged by what they do in the playoffs and they have plenty to prove, but no one should underestimate their ability to take care of business during the regular season. The Raptors have won at least 48 games in each of the past five years and 50 or more in the last three.

The Sixers had by any measure a dreadful offseason, first with the firing of their general manager and then with a fruitless free agent period, followed by an injury to first round pick Zhaire Smith. But Philadelphia didn't really have to add much to their roster to remain in the East's elite.

The Sixers already won 52 games last season and boast two of the best young players in the NBA in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. If they, along with Markelle Fultz, can stay healthy and continue developing, the Sixers will only rise from here.

Most would probably put the Wizards in that next tier, after the trio of Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia at the top, in terms of expected playoff seeding. But they should enter the season hopeful they can supplant one of those teams because they have the talent to do so.

By any means

One problem is that history shows the Wizards have struggled to make that leap. To get there, they would probably have to win 50 games or more and they haven't done that since the 1978-79 season. They also haven't been higher than a four-seed in the playoffs since that year.

The Wizards have been the No. 4 seed as recently as 2016-17, and that comes with the nice bonus of home court advantage in the first round. But to go higher than four, they will need to demonstrate a level of consistency not seen for their franchise in almost 40 years.

Before the Wizards set their sights on the top teams in the East, they will need to separate themselves from the others who are in a similar position. Just like the Wizards, teams like the Pacers, the Bucks and Heat have dreams of a breakout year.

The Wizards definitely have the roster talent to finish ahead of that pack. Washington has two All-Stars, something those teams can't boast. But all three of those teams had better records than the Wizards did last season and Indiana and Milwaukee have All-NBA players. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in particular, is good enough to change the landscape in the East on his own, if he makes the MVP leap many have been waiting for.

In order for the Wizards to emerge from the middle of the conference and become Finals contenders, health will of course be key. They will also need to get re-establish a homecourt advantage and find a way to capitalize against lesser teams. Last season, the Wizards had the fewest home wins and victories against below-.500 opponents of any playoff team.

With James out of the picture, the Eastern Conference appears more open than it has been in years. The Wizards eye an opportunity for themselves, but they aren't alone.

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John Wall joins Stephen Curry and Chris Paul in raising money for Hurricane Florence relief efforts

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John Wall joins Stephen Curry and Chris Paul in raising money for Hurricane Florence relief efforts

Three of the NBA's best North Carolina-raised stars are teaming up to help relief efforts back home following the devastation of Hurricane Florence.

Wizards guard John Wall has collaborated with Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Rockets guard Chris Paul to field donations through social media in an initiative aptly called 'Assist for Hurricane Florence.' 

The trio has joined forces on Twitter and Instagram to get the donation link out there:

Wall, who is originally from Raleigh, also did his part to warn residents before the storm hit land to prepare for its impact.

As with other big storms, the rebuild of communities affected by Hurricane Florence will likely take years. As of Friday morning, the three All-Star guards had raised over $50,000.

Unfortunately, the hometowns and states of Wizards players have been rattled by hurricanes in recent offseasons. Last summer, they had three players from Houston, Texas who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

Then-Wizards guard Sheldon Mac was in Houston when the hurricane hit and was staying in a neighborhood that flooded. Wall and teammate Bradley Beal organized fundraising for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts as well.

To donate to the organization Wall, Curry and Paul are promoting, click here.

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