Wizards

Quick Links

Takeaways from Wizards' lopsided loss to Golden State Warriors

Takeaways from Wizards' lopsided loss to Golden State Warriors

Although Stephen Curry won’t win the MVP for the third year in a row, he’s playing like one again. Sunday, he was the best player on the floor from start to finish as Golden State handed the Wizards their third consecutive loss to end a five-game road trip, 139-115 at Oracle Arena.

Curry (42 points, eight assists) seemingly made every shot regardless of difficulty as the Warriors (63-14) won their 11th game in a row.

The Wizards (46-31) finish the trip 2-3 and had trimmed the deficit to 55-53 with 2:11 left in the second quarter until a 12-4 run by Golden State put them up by double digits going into halftime.

John Wall (15 points, 11 assists) and Bradley Beal (20 points) led Washington but it couldn’t keep pace. Otto Porter (13 points, six rebounds), Markieff Morris (13 points) and Bojan Bogdanovic (20 points) also contributed.

Thompson (23 points) and Shaun Livingtson (17 points) helped Curry’s efforts, and Draymond Green (11 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds) did everything else. Four other players scored at least eight points.

With five games left, the Wizards are now firmly planted as the No. 4 seed unless the Toronto Raptors (47-30), who own the tiebreaker as the No. 3 seed, trip up down the stretch.

--Wall had consecutive assists in the third quarter, one on a dunk for Porter and another on a spot-up three, to put him at 802. That moved him past Rod Strickland who had 801 in 1997-98.

--The second unit went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth, cutting what had been a 22-point deficit to 106-96 with 9:08 left. Tomas Satoransky, who hadn’t played in the previous three games, had a layup in transition to force the timeout by Warriors coach Steve Kerr.  The second unit finished the game as it had trimmed it to 116-107 and the starters stayed on the bench.

--Kelly Oubre blanketed Thompson, who wasn’t a factor after he made a three-pointer to spot the Warriors a 6-0 lead. Curry made 7 of 10 threes to start so Oubre took the assignment on him in the third quarter but the game had gotten away. Thompson eventually got free and hurt them, too. Oubre only shot 2-for-11 and couldn’t make the Warriors pay for hiding Curry on him defensively during stretches.

--Porter went scoreless in the first half in missing all three of his shots. He opened the third quarter by scoring the Wizards’ first six point with a three-pointer and converting a three-point play.

--Beal played in his 73rd game to equal his career-high from his sophomore season.  He has missed just four games because of a sprained ankle (one) and a thigh strain (three). Last season, the Wizards were one of the NBA’s most injured teams with Beal playing a career-low 55 games.

--Taking shots away from Curry and Thompson is a key to being able to beat Golden State. In other words, make other players do the job. Early on the Wizards got the right players to take the shots they wanted but Andre Igoudala made 3 of 4, JaVale McGee started 2-for-2, Livingston 5 of 7 in the first half when they scored 67 points.

--Marcin Gortat (seven points, three rebounds) continued to see his production dip as he only played 15 minutes and got up just five shots. Because Golden State plays so many small lineups, Ian Mahinmi (eight points, three assists) earned more time with 21 minutes. Daniel Ochefu played the final two minutes.

--Did Golden State try to run up the score? The Wizards didn't play any starters in the fourth quarter, and after they made a run and the Warriors were cruising ot a double-digit victory Curry remained. Green re-entered to get a basket for a triple-double. Angry at McGee for launching a three-pointer rather than running out the clock at the end, Brandon Jennings (nine points, seven rebounds) picked up a flagrant foul with a two-hand shove. 

[RELATED: Kevin Durant praises Kelly Oubre Jr.]

Quick Links

Sashi Brown on his role, team culture and how he can sell the Wizards to free agents

Sashi Brown on his role, team culture and how he can sell the Wizards to free agents

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The Wizards have bucked convention by hiring Sashi Brown as their chief operations and planning officer, as he comes from outside the basketball world. He has served as top executive but in the NFL, not in the NBA. 

Brown and Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis, though, believe there are plenty of skills that will translate. After all, there are many commonalities in running the front office of professional sports teams.

They are constructed similarly with executives, scouts, and medical staffs. And the same principles apply to contract negotiations and pitching free agents. 

Brown admits it will take some time for him to acclimate to working in a new league, but is confident his experience as a sports executive, in business and as a lawyer will help the Wizards right away.

"There is far more that will transfer than I think people would imagine," he told NBC Sports Washington. 

"When you have sat in that seat as a GM, the job is so big. These are now billion-dollar enterprises. We've got a lot of things that we want to accomplish and you really just can't have enough talent. That's what it feels like a lot of days. From technology to strategy to contract and negotiation and league initiatives, but also just operational support; things that we would like to get done day-to-day to be world-class."

What could take time is Brown's impact on basketball insight. He was known as a forward-thinking NFL executive when it came to analytics. But advanced stats and their utilization are very different in basketball.

Brown said during his introductory press conference on Monday that basketball decisions will ultimately be made by Tommy Sheppard, the team's new general manager. Brown's role will be making those decisions more comprehensive and informed by organizing and developing the team's resources. 

Between Brown and Sheppard, no one is working for the other. Their boss is Leonsis and they are expected to work in tandem.

"They can focus on the team and the players and winning titles," Brown said of Sheppard and those running the Go-Go, Mystics and District Gaming.

"We're going to be a team. Tommy talked about being a team of teams. Ted would like that as a vision from the top down."

Over time, there will surely be some pain points. Everyone has their own philosophies. There will be disagreements.

But disagreements can be productive. The Wizards feel they need new, outside voices and Brown's fresh perspective will be very valuable to resetting their direction and culture.

Brown knows what that process is like, having started from the bottom with the NFL's Cleveland Browns three years ago. He laid a foundation there as GM that has helped lead to a bright future for one of the NFL's most moribund teams.

Culture is a nebulous concept in sports. It is hard to define. The Wizards just know theirs needs an adjustment.

Brown, for one, believes good culture leads to winning and not the other way around.

"I think that if you're relying on winning to develop your culture you probably don't have a very good culture," he said. "It really has to be the driver for winning. That's what we're going to do. We've got guys that are experienced and passionate that will hold the entire organization accountable."

Brown, 43, has little basketball experience to draw from as he joins the Wizards. He played the sport as a kid growing up. His best claim-to-fame in basketball is that his grandfather coached at Kentucky State University.

"It's been in my family for years. It's in my blood," he said.

What Brown does have a firm grasp of is what professional teams need in order to win. One is a cohesive message when pitching a free agent on signing with them.

Brown will part of that process for the Wizards. He is Harvard-educated and charismatic, the type of person you would want on your side in the negotiating room. And he has a plan to make the Wizards a more attractive destination.

"I think [players] want a commitment. I think they want a chance to win championships. We've seen that in abundance over the last two or three offseasons. The league is transforming itself and continues to evolve. We want to be at the forefront of that," he said.

"Our facilities are top-notch and we'll do everything to keep them there. Our people, our doctors and our medical care for players is great. Our coaching is going to be top-notch and championship-caliber. We want to be comprehensive in terms of what we offer all of our athletes."

Brown is smart, engaging and smooth. It is easy to see why Leonsis is enamored with his potential. Now Brown just has to prove him right.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS

Quick Links

Zion Williamson joins Rui Hachimura by signing with the Jordan brand

Zion Williamson joins Rui Hachimura by signing with the Jordan brand

 Rui Hachimura and Zion Williamson, two of the most high-profile NBA rookies from the 2019 NBA Draft class, have joined forces on a new team, Jordan Brand. 

The New Orleans Pelicans' new star and No. 1 overall draft pick announced Tuesday afternoon that he'll be signing with Jumpman on a multi-year deal; the details of the deal have yet to be revealed. 

This decision comes about a month after Hachimura became the first Japanese-born player to sign with the brand

Both players have entered the NBA with an incredible amount of fanfare and hype surrounding their transitions to the Association. Hachimura was the star attraction for 61 media members from 21 different outlets in Japan during the NBA Summer League, while Zion's American media presence, understandably, was also substantial.

When Hachimura signed in June it was a dream come true for him and his family. Williamson shared similar sentiments when outlining why he decided to join the Jordan Brand team:

“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family," Williamson told Nike News. "Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to, and I really can’t express how happy and excited I am for this journey.”

Since their thrilling faceoff in college, when Gonzaga edged an 89-87 victory over the Blue Devils thanks to Hachimura's 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks, the two talents have experienced a similar, yet unique, tip-off to their careers.

It's said that if you look good you play good, and it seems both Hachimura and Williamson have that first part figured out.  

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: ​​​​​