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State of the Wizards: Scott Brooks' offense reaching new heights

State of the Wizards: Scott Brooks' offense reaching new heights

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Brooks' offense is reaching new heights - The teams Scott Brooks coached in Oklahoma City were so talented that someday there will probably be an ESPN '30 for 30' on how they never won an NBA title together. Just look at the current list of the top scorers in the NBA. Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant are all in the top 10 and Westbrook leads the entire league with 31.2 points per game. All three are probably on track to be in the Hall of Fame.

Those OKC teams were absolutely stacked on offense, yet Brooks' current Wizards team has done several things offensively this season that the Thunder never accomplished with Brooks in charge. On Sunday, they had a 23-game streak of scoring 100 points or more snapped. That was the longest such streak in Brooks' coaching career. And this season the Wizards are averaging 107.9 points per game as a team. The Thunder never did that for a full season.

Somehow, Brooks' system is being taken to new heights by John Wall, Bradley Beal and company. Neither Wall or Beal had heard the points per game stat, but it makes sense to them.

"We’re shooting the ball very well. We have five guys in the double figures in the starting five. We all move the ball very well," Wall said. "You know who is going to get the most shots, but you don’t really know who is going to take the big shots at the right time. We all trust in moving the ball and going from the good-to-great pass. That’s what makes our team great."

"I didn't know that. That's kind of hard to believe with the three-headed monster that he had before. That's unique," Beal said. 

When asked if it was all about ball movement, Beal offered this:

"I think we are a little bit better at that than they were."

Brooks didn't directly compare his current team to his former players, but he too thinks it's been a collective effort. 

"We have good players, guys that know how to play and that pass the ball. We are passing the ball as well as we have all season long the last couple of months," Brooks explained. "We've got good scorers. We've got good guys that understand that it takes everybody to make an offense work. We have good screen-setters. Marcin is one of the best in the league, if not the best at getting guys open for points. I think guys are just enjoying playing with each other on the floor."

All of the Wizards' success is making Brooks look very smart. There were critics who wondered if he could coach given all the talent he had in Oklahoma City. There were some who downplayed his impact. 

It's not like Wall and Beal are scrubs, but clearly what Brooks preaches actually works.

"You can talk to any coach in the history of this game and not one of them has won at a high level without talented players. If they don't think that, they don't have good enough friends to tell them the truth," Brooks said. "You win in this league with good players. We had a successful run. You can argue probably that the three players are one, two and three in the MVP voting. The same thing we have here, we have a really good team with a lot of good players. They are high-level players and All-Star players. Brad eventually is going to be one. You win with good players. I don't look back on what happened to me and the what ifs. The injuries the trades; those are all part of the game. Unfortunately, it happened. But I've moved on. I've got nothing but good respect for the guys that I've coached and I'm looking forward to creating that same atmosphere here with our group of players."

The Wizards are happy to have Brooks and they seem to have completely bought in to his message. Just look at this play in Wednesday's win over the Raptors and how well the offense moved:

As Beal said earlier this season about Brooks and the Wizards: "our flow is awesome." Indeed.

[RELATED: Why Wizards chose to waive House and keep Burke after Jennings signing]

Eastern Conference standings

Stat line of the week: Bradley Beal 2/24 at Sixers - 40 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 15-for-25 FG, 8-for-10 FT

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards guard Brandon Jennings]

Quote of the Week

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Schedule at a glance

Mon. - OFF
Tue. - 112-108 win vs. Warriors
Wed. - 105-96 win at Raptors
Thu. - OFF
Fri. - 7 p.m. vs. Raptors
Sat. - OFF
Sun. - 5 p.m. vs. Magic

[RELATED: Barkley and Shaq say John Wall is East's best point guard]

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5 observations about the Wizards at the midway point of the 2019-20 season

5 observations about the Wizards at the midway point of the 2019-20 season

The Wizards' 29-point loss to the Raptors on Friday night was the 41st game of the year, meaning Washington's 2019-20 regular season is officially halfway through.

With that in mind, here are five observations from the season so far; some expected and some unexpected...

They are who we thought they were

In some ways, this season has gone exactly how most thought it would. Bradley Beal has been an All-Star level player, but poor defense and an inexperienced roster around him has led to a team headed safely towards the lottery. They are 13-28 after 41 games, meaning they are on pace to win 26 on the season.

That's about what Vegas predicted, as evidenced by over/under win totals that stayed around 28.5. And that's what most reasonable forecasts had them being; a team with intriguing talent that was probably a year away from contending for the playoffs again.

Sheppard has found some guys

The early returns on the Tommy Sheppard era are good and that should be seen as one of the most important positives of this season so far. Just look at the gems he has acquired in a relatively short period of time as general manager. He drafted Rui Hachimura, a plug-and-play guy, with the ninth overall pick. He got Davis Bertans, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga in trades basically for nothing. 

He got Garrison Mathews out of nowhere. He signed Ish Smith instead of giving more money to Tomas Satoransky. And even his minor deals with guys like Anzejs Pasecniks and Gary Payton II have impressed to a degree.

It is very early in his tenure, but Sheppard is showing he has the ability to find diamonds in the rough, a skill that is one of the biggest separators between GMs.

It has also become evident on social media that Sheppard is gaining some clout among fans. Given the previous distrust in the front office, that is definitely worth noting.

The injuries have been ridiculous

Though injuries happen to every team and they are ultimately no excuse, the health of the Wizards has undoubtedly been a major part of their season to this point. They have had as many as eight players missing at times due to injury, or in other words more than half of their roster.

That has included two hardship exceptions and the players acquired as a result were even starting at times. Their best players have been hurt, even Beal who had previously played 194 straight games. Lately, they have been getting healthy, but the rash of injuries was enough to leave its mark on their 2019-20 campaign as a whole.

Beal may or may not be sold on the future

Though this season has mostly gone as expected, it has been fair to wonder how Beal has handled it all, given he is far and away their best player. He signed a contract extension to be part of this, but he's used to winning more games and it's only natural for him to be frustrated with how things have gone.

Beal backed up those theories with his comments this week about the team's culture, and the whole situation is going to be worth watching closely moving forward. The Wizards' best player appears to be a bit anxious about the franchise's future. Whether they can match their timeline to contend with his remains to be seen.

The Wall thing is going to get interesting

This was also pretty easy to call going into this season. Now over 11 months into his recovery from a ruptured Achilles, John Wall is making steady progress towards a return and the debates of whether he should come back this season or not are coming into focus. 

The discourse was taken up a notch recently with NBC Sports Washington's report about him playing in three-on-three scrimmages, and then again days after with video of those games. Though he isn't quite ready to come back, he is looking good and there are still three months remaining in the Wizards' season. 

Will he be ready one month from now, or two? Even if he is, will the Wizards bring him back or wait until next season? Those are major questions with no easy answers.

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Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Whether it's good or bad, nothing the Wizards do is subtle. 

They'll score a million points and give up two million points. They'll beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without Bradley Beal but also blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Bulls. 

The Wizards had some turnover issues Friday night, but again, they're never subtle. 

Washington committed 28 turnovers on the way to a 29-point loss. Following the first seven minutes of play, the Wizards had seven turnovers and seven points. 

The last time the Wizards turned the ball over that much was April 2, 1994, in a 104-96 win over the Bucks. The last time an NBA team turned it over 28 times? The 2010 Suns. 

Nine Wizards players had multiple turnovers, while five players had at least three. 

Following Bradley Beal's comments criticizing the team's culture and need to develop winning habits, the Wizards' response left more than enough to be desired. Credit the Raptors defense utilizing their length and ball pressure to take advantage of when the Wizards were loose with the ball, but it takes more than good defense to turn it over 28 times. 

The bright side is this was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wizards. They currently average the 10th-fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, so there's a good chance they clean things up on Monday against the Pistons. 

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