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State of the Wizards: Players thriving under Brooks

State of the Wizards: Players thriving under Brooks

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Brooks overseeing improvement on offense - In watching the Wizards this season, it's hard not to notice that many are having the best seasons of their career. John Wall is posting career-highs in points (23.1 ppg), steals (2.3 spg) and field goal percentage (46.4). Bradley Beal is also scoring more than ever (21.8 ppg) at a career-high field goal percentage (45.6). The same can also be said about Otto Porter, who is scoring 14.5 points on 54 percent shooting, both career-highs.

Marcin Gortat is shooting a career-high 57.5 percent from the field to go along with a career-best 11.6 rebounds per game. Even Kelly Oubre, Jr. can be included in that mix, as he is having a breakout year of sorts.

The Wizards as a team currently have their best offensive rating (109) since the 2007-08 season. Their 47.2 field goal percentage is their highest since 1996-97. 

So, is it a coincidence that all of these guys are taking their games to new levels? Surely there are multiple factors that play into each and every player's improvement. But I asked some of Brooks' players this week what he deserves credit for as a new coach and the consensus was that they like the changes he has made to their offensive system:

Wall: "He challenged me personally and challenged everybody else... He gets credit for it. He gives me the opportunity to excel by giving me the ball and letting me to be the point guard out there and run a lot of sets. I can be aggressive. I give a lot of credit for myself for doing what I had to do to get back from the surgeries over the summer, [too]."

Beal: "I think he grants everybody freedom. I think that’s great for us. I’m able to dribble and handle the ball. John is able to handle the ball. Otto is even able to handle the ball in pick-and-rolls. Even with bringing it up the floor. I think our freedom and our ability to just have a little bit of control. I think his plays are great. We do a better job of screening. Our flow is awesome. I think ultimately it’s just everybody improving their game. Us being able to spread the floor out just makes it difficult for the other team."

Porter: "The ball just moves. With John creating and doing the things that he does, it helps everybody else. The confidence that we have going forward is key for us. Everybody is getting touches. We’re playing good defense and getting steals. We’re running the break and just feeding off each other."

Gortat: "[For me] it’s just more minutes. It’s more minutes and at the same time, coach has really given me a chance to play and given me a lot of confidnece. He’s kind of just leaving me out there and leaving me alone consistently. Obviously, I’m just trying to do my job, but he is just letting me play and do my stuff. I’m going to come up with some crazy stuff. Sometimes I’m going to come up with some crazy stuff and some unnecessary stuff, but he knows that ratio of good stuff to crazy stuff is like three-to-one, so. He doesn’t have to worry about anything."

The Wizards are currently one game out of fourth place in the Eastern Conference after beginning the season 2-8 and battling numerous injuries, most notably to their biggest free agent acquisition, Ian Mahinmi. Brooks has done an impressive job helping his team stay afloat and along the way has overseen several players take their game to new heights.

[RELATED: Wall wears long wig in TV acting debut]

Eastern Conference standings

Stat line of the week: John Wall 1/10 vs. Bulls - 26 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds, steal, block, 11-of-21 FG

[RELATED: Wizards players take stock at midpoint of season]

Quote of the Week

"You just woke a monster."

- Wall to Denzel Valentine in the Wizards' win over the Bulls after his three-point dance

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Road ahead

Mon. - 120-101 win vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tue. - OFF
Wed. - 104-101 win vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Thu. - 113-110 win vs. New York Knicks
Fri. - OFF
Sat. - 6 p.m. at Detroit Pistons (CSN)
Sun. - OFF

[RELATED: Wall and Beal not named All-Star starters]

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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