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Ian Mahinmi's return to form will lighten Marcin Gortat's workload

Ian Mahinmi's return to form will lighten Marcin Gortat's workload

The Indiana Pacers did something unique vs. the Wizards. They rolled out two true centers, Al Jefferson and Kevin Seraphin, and had good success with it on the offensive end. With Ian Mahinmi seemingly getting back to form, would he share the floor with Marcin Gortat?

It's difficult to imagine such a lineup since both are true centers and lack the face-up game to play as the power forward (Jefferson did it in Friday's loss to the Wizards). There wouldn't be enough spacing on the floor for the guards and defensively a small lineup would be able to counter it.

But having two starting quality bigs available is still a step up for the Wizards (32-21) going into tonight's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  It'll be the third game for Mahinmi since returning from platelet-rich plasma therapy he received in December. His presence allows Jason Smith to play more as the power forward where he's best. 

“Every team has one or two big guys that can score. March has done a great job and Jason (Smith) has filled in for Ian in a huge way," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "What Ian brings, he brings us another defender. March is playing a lot of minutes. This gives us a chance to maybe lower his minutes down to 31-ish, 32. I like what he’s done. It’s only been two games, not a lot of practices and shootarounds, but we’re excited to have him back.”

Gortat, 32, is averaging 11.9 points and 11.6 rebounds in a career-high 34.7 minutes. Mahinmi is being restricted to 12-14 minutes per game that'll likely last until the All-Star break that begins after Feb. 16.

"I want to establish myself on the defensvie end first," said Mahinmi, who had surgery to repair cartilage in the left knee before develping tendinitis in the right one. "I'd say the right is the one that concerns me just a little bit more but so far everything heading in the right direction."

[RELATED: Hip discomfort can't slow down Otto Porter]

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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