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Grizzlies offer next summer league test for Beal, Wizards


Grizzlies offer next summer league test for Beal, Wizards

The Wizards return to Las Vegas Summer League action Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies (6 p.m. ET; TV coverage on Comcast SportsNet). After playing three games in three days, Washington (1-2) was idle on Monday and now looks to rebound after losing85-78 to the NBA D-League Select team. Memphis won its only previous summer league this year. First round pick Bradley Beal has been Washington'stop scorer in every game so far, averaging 18.7 points despite shooting only 41 and 25 percent from the field and 3-pointterritory respectively.He's made up for those misses with a barrage of free throw attempts,averaging over nine per game. For the third time in four games, Beal squares off against a guard also selected in the 2012 first-round. While John Jenkins (Atlanta) and Jeremy Lamb (Houston) are cut from the traditional off-guard cloth, Memphis' Tony Wroten, is not easily defined by position.Like Beal,the 6-foot-6 product out of Washington also left school after his freshman season. Unlike the third overall pick, Wroten skills are not refined, but he brings size and a physical presenceto the court. He also turned in a strong all-around effort in the Grizzlies opener, tallying 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two 3-pointers against the Knicks.Beal's shown a craftiness when it comes to generating offense and facing a taller and larger defender provides another showcase opportunity. Shelvin Mack's summer league education continues with only two games remaining. Scoring has not been the issue (11.3 ppg), but the rising second-year guard is averaging more turnovers (3.7) than assists (2.7) thru three games. It will be interesting to see how many minutes Earl Calloway picks up after a credible performance against the D-League and with the Wizards pondering the addition of a veteran point guard this offseason. Memphis last played on Saturday, defeating New York 93-77. In addition to Wroten, the Wizards backcourt should see plenty of guard Josh Selby. The D.C. area native led the Grizzlies with 20 points against the Knicks, sinking 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Washington closes out its 2012summer league play Wednesday against Milwaukee at 4 pm ET on Comcast SportsNet.

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Mystics star Kristi Toliver excited to officially join Wizards coaching staff

USA Today Sports

Mystics star Kristi Toliver excited to officially join Wizards coaching staff

After months of serving a variety of roles for the organization, Kristi Toliver now has an official title with the Washington Wizards. The Mystics star has joined Scott Brooks' staff as an assistant coach and assistant for player development.

Toliver, 31, will remain a member of the Mystics, who play their season during the summer. The lack of overlap will allow her to focus much of her time on the Wizards and what she hopes becomes a long and successful coaching career.

She chose joining the Wizards over continuing to play professionally this year overseas, an option many WNBA players use in the offseason. But she has a coaching dream and happens to have caught on with the hometown team.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime. When it came about, I wanted to be involved in any capacity that I could," Toliver said.

Toliver is the first active WNBA player to serve on an NBA bench and just the second woman after Becky Hammon, who is an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. Toliver plans to reach out to Hammon after getting her phone number from Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird.

Toliver is honored to be in the same category with Hammon, whom she looked up to first as a player and now as a coach who has become a trailblazer in the profession.

"I know she's going to be somebody that I can ask questions to," Toliver said. "I will pick her brain about how she played and I will pick her brain about how she is coaching."

Hammon joined the Spurs' coaching staff in 2014 after years of helping the team out in other ways. Now that there are two female NBA assistants, the logical question is when one will become a head coach.

Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal can already attest to Toliver's impact and said there could be a female head coach "very soon."

"I wouldn't be surprised if it happened sooner rather than later," Beal said. "If you know the game, you know the game. Plain and simple."

Toliver has served as a coach in the Wizards' 5-on-5 scrimmages at practice. She has also been particularly helpful with ball-handling, which makes sense given she's the starting point guard for the Mystics. Toliver has helped a variety of Wizards players in dribbling drills including the big men like Jeff Green and Dwight Howard.

Coaching has required an adjustment for Toliver, who is used to having the ball in her hands running the offense. But just as being a player can help her as a coach, she expects to become a better player now seeing the game from a new perspective.

"I'd much rather be playing, I know that. But it's good to think the game in a different way and from a different point of view," she said.

Brooks has been effusive in his praise of Toliver ever since she began helping out in the Las Vegas Summer League in July. He invited her to join the staff over the phone shortly before the Summer League began and will admit he did not know at the time the relationship would get this far.

But over the summer, Brooks lost two assistants to other teams in Chad Iske and Sidney Lowe, paving the way for some movement on his staff. He promoted several positions from within and an opening was created for Toliver to come on board.

"She's a special talent. She's going to be moving through the ranks pretty quick," Brooks said.


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Mystics' Kristi Toliver joins Wizards coaching staff for 2018-19 season


Mystics' Kristi Toliver joins Wizards coaching staff for 2018-19 season

It's certainly not uncommon for professional athletes to make the transition into coaching following their playing days. We have seen more and more of this in recent years throughout sports, especially with younger coaches getting the chance to lead teams. 

What is uncommon is when a professional athlete begins their quest for life after playing while they're still playing. 

Washington Mystics veteran guard Kristi Toliver is joining the Wizards' coaching staff, the team announced Tuesday. 

The news comes after the 10-year WNBA pro got her feet wet on the Wizards' bench during Vegas Summer League play in July. 

Along with Elena Delle Donne, Toliver helped lead the Mystics to the 2018 WNBA Finals, before ultimately falling to the Seattle Storm. 

The 31-year-old was drafted third overall by Chicago in 2009 after leading her Maryland Terrapins to a national championship in 2006. 

Toliver will serve as an assistant coach and focus on player development for head coach Scott Brooks. 

Coach Brooks also welcomes Robert Pack and Ryan Richman to the front of the bench. Pack served as assistant coach under Brooks for two seasons during their Oklahoma City Thunder days while Richman led the team during summer leage play and is entering his fifth year in Washington. 

The Wizards open their 2018-19 regular season Thursday against the Miami Heat inside Capital One Arena. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.