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Scott Brooks embraces 'cool experience' in his return to Oklahoma City

Scott Brooks embraces 'cool experience' in his return to Oklahoma City

Scott Brooks tried his best to put "coachspeak" aside Tuesday, before the Wizards leave to play a game at the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's where he coached for seven seasons until he was fired in 2015. 

"I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m not going to stand here and say it’s just one of 82 games, but it is one of 82 games," Brooks said with his team taking a three-game road trip that includes stops at the San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets. "I had great memories with that organization. I started off coaching a lot of young players that I really respect the work that they put in. We accomplished a lot as a group. We were one of the youngest teams in NBA history get to the NBA Finals. … We had a great run. Unfortunately that ended for me but that’s the business we’re in."

Except for the first season when Brooks took over, the Thunder always had a winning record. They won 50 games or more four times and two seasons there were exceptions. In 2012 when they made the NBA Finals, it was a 66-game season because of the lockout. The Thunder won 47. In his final season, Brooks had injuries to his All-Stars Russell Westbrook (15 games missed) and Kevin Durant (55). They still won 45 games but missed the postseason.

When Brooks got the bad news from GM Sam Presti, he was at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He never properly said goodbye. He spent the 2015-16 season out of the NBA.

"I’ve been cut a lot of times as a player. I’ve fought back and made teams. In coaching it’s a different animal," said Brooks, who has the Wizards out to a 6-10 start. "When you get fired, I was in California. I didn’t get a chance to see the people that meant so much to me and so much to our success as a team. I get to see a lot of them when I go back. Even the ushers, to see Betty, Dean, Coach, Anna, those are the people that behind the scenes make your organization work.

"It’s going to be a cool experience. Don’t know how they’re going to respond. I know the people. The people in Oklahoma City are phenomenal. I’ve learned so much about myself during that time. Now I even follow college football. Never did that. OU, OSU football is important there."

While Brooks insisted that he communicates with everyone he came in contact with at Oklahoma City, even those who have gone on to other organizations, he has spoken "very little" with Presti. 

He was replaced by Billy Donovan who left the University of Florida and led the Thunder to the conference finals last season. James Harden left long ago. Then it was Brooks and this summer Durant exited. 

There's a good chance Brooks' return is received best. They won 62% of their games with him (338-207). 

"That’s a little ambitious," he said, "if I’m thinking they’re going to give me an ovation."


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Lakers reportedly showing interesting in ex-Wizards centers Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat

Lakers reportedly showing interesting in ex-Wizards centers Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat

With the search on to find some replacement depth following DeMarcus Cousins' ACL injury, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently evaluating all options and available players. In the group of potential matches, there's no shortage of players with D.C. ties.

First, it was center Dwight Howard who appeared on the radar. It was reported on Sunday that the Lakers were preparing to open up discussions with the 33-year old center. Howard, who played for L.A. during the 2012-13 season, only appeared in nine games for the Wizards last season while dealing with injury issues.

But, he's not the only former-Wizard in the discussions. A new report states that while the Lakers are preparing to host a workout for Howard, they will also potentially be giving Marcin Gortat a look, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gortat spent the 2018-19 campaign with the Los Angeles Clippers averaging 5.0 points per game and 5.6 rebounds in 47 games. Prior to that, he spent five seasons in Washington, proving to be a valuable asset at times. The 35-year old averaged at least 10 points and eight rebounds in four of his five years with the Wizards.

It's still relatively unknown who the Lakers will go with when it comes time to add depth, but there seems to be a good chance that a former-Wizard could be joining Lebron and company for the upcoming season. 


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7 stats that define John Wall's history-making career (so far)

7 stats that define John Wall's history-making career (so far)

This week is Wall Week at NBC Sports Washington. We are rolling out content each day centering around the Wizards' five-time All-Star point guard. Today, we take a deep dive into the numbers to illustrate Wall's career in Washington so far...

**Wall's career averages of 19.0 points and 9.2 assists put him in elite company. Only three other players in league history have averaged at least 19 and nine with at least 500 games played; Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas. Only Johnson and Robertson have also averaged at least four rebounds in addition, like Wall has.

**Wall is already well-represented on the Wizards/Bullets franchise's all-time leaderboards. He is first in career assists (5,282) and steals (976), second in free throws (2,456), third in points (10,879) and minutes played (20,545) and fourth in threes made (539). He is already third all-time in VORP (value over replacement player), a cumulative stat similar to WAR (wins above replacement) in baseball. Only Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes accrued more while in Washington.

**Wall has also put up some of the best individual seasons in franchise history. He has the No. 1, 3, 4 and 7 highest assist totals with his best year the 2016-17 season when he dished out 831. 

**Wall's 2016-17 campaign was also the only season in franchise history where a player averaged 20-plus points and 10-plus assists. He has 111 20-point, 10-assist games in his career which is by far the most in franchise history. Second on the list is Rod Strickland with 43. Gilbert Arenas is third with 24.

**Wall has 396 career blocks. Only six guards in NBA history have recorded more. Those six are Dwayne Wade (885), Clyde Drexler (719), Dennis Johnson (675), Jason Kidd (450), Kendall Gill (432) and Latrell Sprewell (399). Only Johnson and Kidd played most of their time at point guard, so Wall is third all-time at his position.

**Wall's 5,282 career assists are fifth among active players. Only Chris Paul (9,181), LeBron James (8,662), Rajon Rondo (6,975) and Russell Westbrook (5,701) have more.

**Unfortunately, injuries have significantly affected Wall's last two seasons. He has played a combined 73 regular season games the past two years. For context, he has played the same amount of games as Gordon Hayward, who appeared in just one game in 2017-18. And DeMarcus Cousins, despite going through a full rehab from a torn Achilles during that time, played in more games (78) than Wall.

NBA.com and Basketball Reference were used in this research