The Wizards practiced what they have been preaching for weeks on Thursday night in their 92-85 win over the Denver Nuggets. For one night, there were no complaints about their focus and effort on the defensive end. It's a subject that John Wall and Scott Brooks, in particular, have harped on recently.
Wall himself saw improvement, afterwards saying: "I think we just played harder in the second half, that's the reason we came out with a win."
The Wizards saw against the Nuggets what can happen if they lock down on defense despite not having a great shooting night. The Wizards scored just 92 points and at times were cold on the offensive end. They shot just 36.5 percent in the first quarter.
"We've talked about us not playing hard, but it's really about being in the right spots," forward Markieff Morris said. "Some nights guys are just not gonna have it and other guys have to step up. That's what a team is."
While on the subject, Morris further discussed how the Wizards veteran core helps hold the team accountable. Brooks said earlier on Thursday that he likes seeing players communicate their differences and Morris considers himself a part of the leadership structure in a very specific way.
"It's a collective group. We're kind of a relatively young team. So, it's like Wall is the voice and I'm like the muscle. What he says, I will press it to them. Him and [Bradley] Beal, they're the leaders of the team and we just go as they go," Morris said.
"We talk about accountability all the time. At the end of the day, this is your job. You've gotta come to work just like everybody else. That's what you've gotta do on great teams is hold everybody accountable. Everybody's gotta do their job."
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The Washington Wizards have reportedly offered their vacant general manager position to Tim Connelly. The news was first reported by the Athletic.
Here are five things to know about him...
1. Connelly is a Baltimore native who transferred to Catholic University in D.C. during his junior year in college, graduating from there in 1999.
2. Connelly began his NBA front office career with the Wizards, starting as an intern in 1996. He spent a decade with the organization, holding such roles as assistant video coordinator, head scout, and director of player personnel.
3. After leaving the Wizards, Connelly spent three seasons serving as the assistant general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans.
4. Connelly joined the Nuggets organization in 2013 as the executive vice president of basketball operations. He was promoted to President of Basketball Operations in 2017. Connelly has been part of a Denver front office that has drafted the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris over the last five years.
5. Connelly has six siblings, including four brothers: Joe, Pat, Dan and Kevin. All four of them have also worked in basketball in some capacity, Joe, Pat, and Dan all following Tim into the NBA ranks.
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The Wizards may have found the successor to longtime team president Ernie Grunfeld. Per multiple reports, Washington offered the vacant head front-office job to Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reports that, while Connelly hoped for a five-year deal, he is serious about the Wizards' four-year offer.
The Nuggets president came to Washington to meet with owner Ted Leonsis on Friday.
A Baltimore native, Connelly worked as a member of the Wizards front office, beginning as an intern in 1996 and rising to director of player personnel in his time with the franchise.
After a stop in New Orleans, Connelly was hired as executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the Nuggets in 2013. He ascended to president of basketball operations in his six-year tenure.
His notable accomplishments in Denver include drafting star big man Nikola Jokic and building a team that won 54 games in the 2018-19 season.
This is a developing story. Please check back with NBCSportsWashington.com for updates as available.
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