Wizards

Quick Links

Morning tip: Of all Wizards' accomplishments, one box remains unchecked under Scott Brooks

Morning tip: Of all Wizards' accomplishments, one box remains unchecked under Scott Brooks

Long before training camp began in Richmond, Va., almost eight months ago, first-year coach Scott Brooks preached defense. His track record for developing young players and his style were attractive to president Ernie Grunfeld, but the Wizards had lost that hard-nosed edge in a 41-41 season.

The defensive identity that was missing during a 2-8 start appeared to be put to bed when the Wizards entered the All-Star break on an 18-3 streak. Alas, it has returned and there aren't a lot of regular-season games left to correct what's wrong as the playoffs draw near. The latest example came in the first half Tuesday when the Charlotte Hornets -- the 14th most efficient offensive team per 100 possessions -- scored 63 points and shot 60.5%. 

Brooks chewed out his team in the locker room and they played with a desire on the defensive end that can elevate them to the conference finals. They managed a 118-111 victory, though that's still too many points to allow in any game but especially against a mid-level offensive team. 

"I coach with my heart. The time I talk to the players during halftime or timeouts is my honest view of the game, what's happening. I just basically said direct and to the point, we're not giving a good enough effort," Brooks said after Wednesday's practice before departing for tonight's game with the N.Y. Knicks. "We think we can turn it on and off. It's unacceptable. Can't do that. Good teams don't do that. We've been a good team all year by committing to defending and playing for each other. That was the message. I didn't raise my voice. It was just very direct. and I give our guys a lot of credit. We came out in the third qurter and responded."

Regarded as a "players' coach" after his seven-year stint with the Oklahoma City  Thunder, Brooks has shown a more authoritarian edge when necessary. Kelly Oubre paid the price when he lost playing time for being unprepared. Ian Mahinmi has squeezed out playing time from Marcin Gorat as his rim protection and frontline help has been inconsistent. 

Gortat was a key factor in the second-half turnaround in Charlotte, indicating he may have gotten Brooks message. It was one that Markieff Morris called "militaristic' during mini-camp when he visited the Las Vegas summer league team in July. 

In points allowed per 100 possessions, the Wizards' defense is 20th at 106.9. They get 32.6 defensive rebounds per game which is just 23rd-best. 

"It's not always going to be easy conversations. It's not going to be always positive," Brooks, who played in the NBA for 10 years, on how he relates to his own players. "You want guys that respect the job and respect coaching and that's what we have. 

"I have a lot of respect for the players. Been there before. That doesn't give me an edge over the guys who have never played. ... I also understand they need to be pushed and demand exellence from them. I always believe the best players are the self-motivated players. But even the self-motivated players need a push every now and then."

The second unit has been efficient on the defensive end since the All-Star break. In 12 games used, the lineup of Brandon Jennings, Bojan Bogdanovic, Oubre, Jason Smith and Mahinmi hold opponents to 38.8% overall shooting, 30.8% from three-point range, 

The starting five, however, has more work to do though it's a much larger sample size with them playing together all season (69 games). John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Morris and Gortat allow 47% overall shooting and 35.8% three-point shooting. 

[RELATED: Brooks: 'We have to be a better defensive team']

Quick Links

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes has confirmed. 

Sheppard had been serving as Washington's interim GM since the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2. He oversaw the Wizards' 2019 NBA Draft selections of Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as their offseason transactions this summer. 

According to Hughes, the Wizards will announce the decision next week, with more changes to follow. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: