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Brooks: Wizards' tentative defense late costs them at least 3 wins

Brooks: Wizards' tentative defense late costs them at least 3 wins

NEW YORK -- The discussion that Scott Brooks had with his team before Sunday's practice session, following another late-game collapse, wasn't just about what took place in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

He showed them the evidence of how they were lax against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second game of the season and vs. the Oklahoma City a few days ago. 

They lost all three and easily could be 9-9 instead of 6-12 based off those alone. 


"We've shown all three of those clips," Brooks said.

"Memphis, up three. Oklahoma City, up three. San Antonio, up one. The thing I liked about us, we competed and put ourselves in that position. But the thing that we talked about today was we have to be able to lock in before the referee gives the ball to their player. All three times, we weren't ready as we need to be. It's happened three times. ... We have to correct it and get better going forward."

In Memphis, Marc Gasol drained a three-pointer to force overtime. Mike Conley is allowed to get the ball and take his time and Vince Carter, after delivering the inbounds, is the physical one as he screens to create the switch pins down John Wall and Marcin Gortat.

By the time Gortat realizes it's a play call for Gasol to knock down a three he sheds Carter but it's too late. Porter could've bodied up Carter the moment he makes the inbound. Wall could've gotten away from Carter the moment he started to push his way inside the arc since only a three in this situation is a threat.

Gortat could've immediately gone to Gasol since the 7-1 center's first made shot in the first quarter was a three:

In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook launched a wide-open three to get the game into the extra session.

The initial move is Markieff Morris providing support to Beal when Westbrook makes the catch. Then both get confused on who is responsible for whom. The Thunder need three to tie so there's no need to bite a jab step or any offensive move into the paint. Steven Adams, defended by Morris, is a non-threat.

His only role in this play is to screen so shading towards him isn't prudent. Wall blows up his screen to free Anthony Morrow off the ball. But Beal and Morris appear to hesitate as to who would jump out on Westbrook as he retreats to the arc with the ball. Worst-case scenario, both run at him and he has to give up the ball and the Thunder get an easy deuce. So what? 

In San Antonio, Danny Green got a clean look from three to retake the lead to win in regulation. As usual with the Spurs, the weakside of the floor is where the action that beats you happens. Their best player Kawhi Leonard drives baseline to create an open shot for Patty Mills, but Wall properly closes that down to force another pass.

The moment the ball goes in the paint on Leonard's drive, Morris abandons Green who ends up with what's tantamount to a practice shot. When only four of five players are connected, that's not good enough. 

In all of these examples, the opponent was able to do exactly what they wanted to do and get the quality shot. All three were three-pointers. All three went virutally contested.

"We talked about being physical," Brooks said. "We're reacting after their initial action. There's opportunities. The game allows you to get physical. Touch somebody. We have to be able to do that. We will. We're going to continue to talk about that."

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Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal has been snubbed yet again.

First All-NBA, now Beal was not even included in the NBA 2K20 top 20 rankings, which were released on a livestream on Monday.

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard topped the rankings, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden. 

In what we're sure was a completely scientific poll, SLAM Gaming asked its followers if NBA2K got the rankings right. And, at least as of post time, nearly two-thirds of participants said no. 

Ahead of Beal in the rankings included Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler. Zion Williamson was the top rookie in the ratings. 

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season. That's clear above Mitchell (23.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game) and Butler (18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game).

The ratings are reportedly determined by a statistically based formula, though that hasn't ever stopped fans from expressing their ire at the game's rating gurus. 

Including John Wall in 2017. 


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Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

The 2019 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books and this one was much more interesting for the Wizards than they have been in recent years. This year, they had a host of first and second-round picks play for them, as well as some players they recently acquired in their trade with the Lakers.

Here are some superlatives to put a bow on the Wizards' time in Vegas...

Best player: Troy Brown Jr.

Though he only played one game and one quarter before he was shut down with a left knee contusion, Brown was quite clearly the best player on the Wizards' Summer League roster. In his only full game, he put up 18 points and 15 rebounds. Though he only shot 40.6 percent in his brief time in Vegas, he looked like a guy who was advanced beyond the league's level of competition.

For Brown, the question is how much it matters because he essentially did what he should do as a second-year player. It is encouraging and he should draw confidence from the experience. But now he has to show he can produce like that in real NBA games.

Best newcomer: Rui Hachimura

Hachimura only played three of the Wizards' five games and in his first two outings produced uneven results. But his third game was pure dominance, as he posted 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He proved a quick learner by adjusting and improving game-by-game.

All in all, it was a solid start to Hachimura's career. He displayed versatility and smarts both on offense and defense. It should give Wizards fan hope he can contribute as a rookie.

Most improved: Isaac Bonga

Many of the players on the Wizards' roster were not returning from last summer, but Bonga showed a nice leap year-over-year from what he did for the Lakers in 2018. Though he wasn't one of the Wizards' best players, he ended up with solid numbers of 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field in 20.2 minutes of action.

The best thing Bonga showed for the Wizards is his athleticism. He is a full 6-foot-9, yet has the mobility of a guard. He is a long ways away from being NBA-ready, but at 19 years old gives the Wizards an intriguing prospect to stash in the G-League.

Needs improvement: Issuf Sanon, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield

It wasn't the best Summer League showing for Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second-round pick. He only played a total of 48 minutes in four games and shot 18.2 percent with 1.5 points per game. The Wizards were experimenting with his position, playing him both at point and off the ball, and he didn't look comfortable doing either.

Granted, Sanon's biggest strength at this point is his defense, but he doesn't seem to have any NBA-ready offensive skills. Unless he gets up to speed quickly, he will have to become really, really good on defense to make the leap overseas.

Like Bonga, Wagner debuted after coming over in the Lakers trade. But Wagner didn't have the best time in Las Vegas, as he shot just 31 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three. It was a small sample size of just four games, but Wagner is known as a shooter and didn't look like one in the Summer League. He also had trouble on defense against quicker match-ups.

Schofield, the Wizards' 2019 second-round pick, shot poorly (38.5 FG%, 22.2 3PT%) and struggled to find his role on defense. He has some intriguing qualities, but it might take him some time to figure out how to compete against NBA athletes while lacking height and quickness to play the way he did in college.

Biggest surprise: Jemerrio Jones

Perhaps this should not be surprising because it is what Jones is known for, but his rebounding really stood out. He played only about 27 minutes in three games, yet pulled in 13 boards. That breaks out to 4.3 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game, or about one rebound every other minute. He averaged 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Keep in mind he is only 6-foot-5. Based on efficiency, Jones was the Wizards' best rebounder and he is the size of a shooting guard. He has a lot to improve on before he can stick around in the NBA, but it will be fun watching him grab 15-plus boards on the regular this season with the Go-Go. 

Biggest disappointment: Wizards' opponents

If there was one prevailing theme in the 2019 Summer League it was teams holding out their top draft picks either due to actual injuries or the fear they will suffer one. The Wizards saw this firsthand. They even did it themselves by keeping Hachimura out of two of their games.

The Wizards played the Pelicans without first overall pick Zion Williamson or Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick, or even Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick. They played the Hawks without De'Andre Hunter (fourth pick) or Cam Reddish (10th pick). And the Nets and Clippers didn't have any top draft picks of note.

The Wizards did get to see third overall pick R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in their final game. New York also had Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, as well as Iggy Brazdeikis, who was a Summer League standout. But neither Hachimura or Brown played in that game for Washington.